Word count: 1,447
Summary: AU. Forced to marry against their wills, Sho and Ohno embark on a journey to salvage the rest of their lives and their life together.
Authors' notes: *salutes!*
Sometimes Ohno listens to Sho reading the documents out loud.
Sometimes he listens to Sho and stays in bed, sometimes he does not.
Ohno fixes a stern glare on Sho when he tries to make him lie back down.
Sho stares at Ohno seriously for a long moment. Just when Ohno thinks Sho might back down and let Ohno get out of bed, Sho laughs.
Time stands dumbfounded.
Sho’s laughter is beautiful with ease and trust. His eyes are crescent slits, joyful and comfortable in certainty.
Sho gathers all the documents on the desk and dumps them on the covers. Ohno shifts to the further end of the bed.
Sho lifts a corner of Ohno’s sheets and climbs into bed with him.
They grin (especially when knuckles brush fingertips accidentally).
The tension in the house thickens. It is as if everyone is waiting with bated breath for something to fall, and yet is working furiously to prevent it from happening.
Ohno is asleep when the news comes on. The television has been muted, but once Sho sees his father’s face appear on the screen, he almost drops the remote in his haste.
“- ulprit for attempting to usurp the Emperor has been scheduled to trial in the High Court in a week. Sakurai Hideyoshi, Minister of Finance from the Party of Representatives, was charged with what reports state ‘include but are not limited to’ corruption and treason. Officials of the Inner Circle have found evidence that point truth to these accusations. Investigations are still underway. Sakurai has currently been suspended from government duties.”
Sho’s heart sinks silently.
(If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If a heart thumps dejectedly in a chest from anxiety and fear of the unknown, and no-one else is around to hear it, is anyone else affected?)
Sho calls his father and Papa picks up.
He looks more tired than Sho has ever seen him look before. His clear eyes sigh with too much and world weariness. Sho’s heart aches from helplessness.
“Papa,” Sho takes a take forward, making to touch Papa, smell him, hug him and draw some kind of comfort from him when he realizes that Papa is merely a projected image. Sho holds himself back.
“Sho, how are you?” Papa turns his head for a moment, and looks back to Sho. Sho’s heart jolts; he wants to be back at home with the people who know him best, who would know how to use his abilities to their most advantageous.
“I’m – Papa, how are you? How is Father? Is everything all right at home?” Sho’s breath is caught up to the middle of his throat. Papa smiles faintly, the twinkle in his eyes is dim now. Sho remembers all too vividly the days when Papa used to have enough optimism for everyone else at home.
“Don’t worry about us, Sho. We know what we’re doing - ”
“I saw the news,” Sho cannot help it, cannot help interrupting because the fresh knowledge that he has gained in a long time taunts him. “What is going to happen in the trial? What are you going to do? It’s in a week -”
Papa’s sharp inhale silences Sho. Sho knows he has gone too far, but he also knows that if he does not get the information from Papa, he never might. Despite calling back home almost daily, his calls have never been picked up until now. And what with the trial in a week, Sho doesn’t want to think about what would come after.
“I’m working hard too, Papa. I’m going to prove that Father is innocent.” Sho dares let the words escape in an almost-whisper.
“Our matters do not concern you anymore, Sho. Your loyalty is in the Ohno household -”
“Satoshi is helping me.” Sho meets Papa’s eyes. Papa sighs, and it sounds like static over the sound system.
“You’ll be safe there. We chose a good partner for you. Don’t fight anymore, Sho.” Papa is smiling sadly, and Sho cannot remember seeing so much emotion in Papa’s eyes since the day his Grandpapa died.
Ohno is still sleeping when Sho returns to his room.
The fever still wrecks his body, but less angrily now.
Sho takes the tub of cold water by the bed and wrings the towel. He sits on the edge of the bed and daps the cloth over Ohno’s face gently. His eyes, the bridge of his nose and down to his neck and collarbones.
Ohno stirs, eyes twitching under his eyelids.
“Sho?” Ohno’s eyes flutter open weakly. Sho watches Ohno take in the worry in the creases of his face, and a warm hand emerges from the blankets to find Sho’s wrist. “What happened? Are you-”
Ohno makes to sit up but Sho coaxes him back down again. Sho places the tub back on the bedside table and crawls under the covers.
“Nothing,” Sho manages to say before emotion clogs up in his throat. “Go back to sleep.”
Sho softens when Ohno holds him.
It is inevitable that Ohno will find out, so Sho tells him before he can find out for himself.
And Sho doesn’t even have to ask, even if he had had the courage.
Ohno tells him under no uncertain terms that they will go to and attend the trial if they are allowed. In the meantime, they double their efforts, and try as he might, Sho can’t make Ohno stop working. If he is entirely honest, he is grateful that Ohno insists on helping him, but he is also guiltily aware of the strain Ohno willingly puts upon himself.
Sho has never known a selfless person like that. When he’d mentioned it, Ohno had laughed mirthlessly. It might have started as my duty, Ohno had said. Now I want to help with all I have in me.
It doesn’t make Sho feel less humbled about the complete situation. Instead, Sho and Nino do what they can to make Ohno as comfortable as possible as he battles the problem and his own body, because the fever might not have spiked, but it hasn’t broken either.
When there is only five days left to the trial and Sho still isn’t any closer to the core of the accusations, he feels more than a little desperate. He doesn’t mention it with a word, but Ohno seems to read him anyway, so he orders a break.
“You said it yourself,” Ohno says. “We can’t make a difference if we’re too tired to function properly. Time out.”
Ohno doesn’t suggest that they take a break apart, so Sho stays. Ohno sits up properly against the headboard and he whips out some papers from the bed stand. He stares at it before moving to write.
“I thought you said to take a break,” Sho says and frowns, but Ohno just grins a little.
“I am taking a break,” Ohno announces and scoots over, patting the space beside him. Sho accepts the obvious invitation even if he sends one final longing gaze at the documents he is abandoning on the desk.
Before he has even sat down properly, he is stunned into almost complete speechlessness. “You…draw?”
Ohno seems to fold into himself a bit. “I know it’s not proper,” he starts, “but if I don’t draw… if I had to stay inside with books and numbers and meetings all day, I’d go insane.”
There is a stark honesty in the words and Sho realizes that Ohno is teaching him about his life bit by bit as Sho slowly allows him to.
“If I can get away with it,” Ohno continues in a conspiratorial voice, “I go fishing and stay out for days.”
Sho believes him. Ohno doesn’t seem like the type to enjoy being cooped up. He has discovered that Ohno likes silences and his own company, and Sho is beginning to understand how it must have thrown Ohno off to be told that he has to share his solitude with someone else.
“I can’t draw,” Sho then admits. “When I want to relax, I read. About economy.”
Ohno doesn’t laugh at the last bit as Sho expected him to. “Whatever works for you,” he murmurs.
Sho feel softer towards this man that is his husband. “When this is over,” he says, “You can go fishing for days.”
Ohno smiles at him. “Only if you come with me.”
He is startled but not displeased, and Sho finds Ohno’s left hand above the covers. He threads their fingers loosely.
“Okay,” he says and tries to remember how to breathe when Ohno squeezes.