Word count: 1,691
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: We're both enormously behind on answering comments, and we're so sorry. Life is a bitch atm, but know that we read and treasure every comment ♥
The hours simultaneously feel too long, ticking by with the slowness of dreadful anticipation, and on the other end of the spectrum, they fly by faster than Sho wants them to.
Four days left until the trial.
Sho ponders over documents, news and older records for hours on end, he falls asleep over the desk, wakes up to Ohno tugging him to bed, and when he wakes, it is his turn to make Ohno rest.
Ohno sleeps, still battling the illness that by all means should have lessened now, but Sho knows that with how hard Ohno had been pushing himself, it will take time. Therefore, he and Nino are pleasantly surprised when in the early evening, Ohno’s fever finally breaks. Ohno’s increasingly fitful bouts of sleep as his exhaustion became more obvious change into a restful slumber, and Sho feels himself relax visibly.
“You do like him,” Nino remarks while he opens the windows slightly to clean the stale air in the room.
Sho doesn’t pause in trying to make Ohno more comfortable. He doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t have to. He feels Nino’s eyes on him as he glances down at Ohno.
“I don’t think you had a choice,” Nino continues when Sho turns and makes for the desk with every intention of returning to the documents. “If someone did so much for me, selflessly and with so much consideration, I think I’d have to love them back. There isn’t much of choice there.”
“I didn’t say anything about love,” Sho barks but it falls flat, and he knows that Nino hears it.
Nino closes the windows again. It wouldn’t do to make Ohno sick again by letting too much of the cool evening air in. “When everything is over,” he says, “promise me you’ll love him.”
Sho has no answer he is ready to vocalize.
Ohno resurfaces to talk to his parents some hours later and he suspects that they go easy on him because they have learned of his illness. And he is also certain that they wouldn’t let him off that easily if they knew what he and Sho and Ninomiya are working on behind the closed door to his quarters.
He returns to his chambers and stops outside, because he can hear that Sho and Ninomiya are talking. Ohno’s hand leaves the doorknob and he backs away. It is not his business.
Instead, he turns and makes a different route. There is someone he needs to see.
“Mama,” he says softly and the woman turns, her kind eyes alight when she looks at him. By all means, she is his mother. She carried him and gave birth to him, but she has no right over him. Such is the life of the concubines.
Ohno can’t visit her often. He supposes that he loves her even if she hasn’t been a part of his life since he was born.
“Satoshi,” she says and smiles.
Sometimes all you need to stand strong is a warm embrace, and until Sho is ready, Ohno will find strength in the familiarity of his mother.
Something catches his eye and Sho grabs the paper. He isn’t sure he wants to know how Ohno came in possession of this paper, but he is grateful, because finally it seems like he is getting somewhere.
“Nino, listen to this,” Sho calls and reads out loud; “Suggestions of changing of the law out-voted – still. Officials of the Inner and Outer Circle remain in an uproar over the suggestion of a new law that had been raised in Parliament two days ago. The new law was suggested by Sakurai Hideyoshi, Minister of Finance. It would reduce spending on the Military by seventy percent. The Military has, throughout history, always received sixty percent or more of Japan’s total Gross Domestic Income.
“The spokesperson for the government, Takahashi Shiro told the media yesterday that passing this law would see a new era for Japan. The Military has always been a great power in Japan’s system, influencing decisions to an extremely large extent. Sakurai said, ‘with the rapid expansion of our economy, it is inevitable that Japan needs to concentrate her funds on places have been deficient of recent growth’. Officials from the Military are not available for comment.”
For a moment the room is only filled with the sounds of urgent breath, and brains hurriedly piecing the puzzle together.
Sho’s hands are trembling as his eyes flit up to glance at the newspaper’s date.
“This was published three days before our marriage. That means -” He glances wild-eyed at Nino, eyes searching and questioning. The door opens silently, and Ohno steps into the room.
“This edition of the paper was not released to the public. At 3.58AM in the morning, just before the papers were distributed, orders came down to incinerate every single piece.” Ohno’s eyes rise slowly to meet Sho’s. Sho sees a flicker, a mix of fear and understanding.
“None of this information was allowed to be taken in by the public.”
It is frightening; there’s no other word to describe it. It is terrifying to know that someone might be out to get his father, because that has to be the only explanation. It is the only acceptable explanation, in any case, and Sho is running on a kind of excited adrenaline.
Ohno has pulled in favors, without his parents knowing, and they are waiting for more documents that will get here tomorrow by someone Ohno trusts. Sho isn’t entirely sure he knows who exactly can be the right person for this, but he is learning to trust Ohno’s judgment.
It is more than what he had expected. It is less than what he had hoped, but he will take what he can get. All he can do now is stare at the same newspaper he has for hours.
Dawn approaches, but he doesn’t feel the least bit tired. The jittery and anticipating energy is running through him, but he doesn’t dare pace around, because it is late and Ohno is asleep.
It is not as much of a choice as a deep tug within him that brings him to the bed and he lies down next to Ohno. Ohno is warm even with distance between them, but Sho doesn’t feel the sickly fever anymore. He scoots closer.
It should be natural – pressing closer and fitting into the curve of Ohno’s body, but he is apprehensive. They haven’t talked about this.
But Sho feels the chasm between them closing.
And he doesn’t mind. He welcomes the way Ohno will reach and settle a hand on his arm or his shoulder, grounding him. And that is what compels him to scoot even closer, to see this through to the end. He presses his legs to Ohno’s and Ohno sighs in his sleep.
Ohno makes him strong enough, he realizes when he is as close as he dares. If he inclines his head a bit, he can feel the soft exhalations from Ohno’s lips.
The softness of Ohno’s fingers as Sho holds on to them makes him sleepy.
Ohno is surprised to find Sho so close to him when he wakes up the next morning. But he is gently half-asleep, still, in the morning.
The world slides slowly into dim clarity as the heat of the sun presses warm beams on Ohno’s skin and dust bunnies climb and waltz in each other’s hands. Ohno’s hand is asleep on the pillow under Sho’s head, numb and tingling with something more than the lack of blood circulation.
Ohno sees Sho. He sees the darkening circles of tiredness under his eyes. He sees his skin pulled tight over his cheekbones, and how his lips are slightly parted in the early morning light. He sees Sho’s arm thrown haphazardly over his stomach. He sees how tame Sho is in slumber, how he is gentle when he is not fighting to stay awake, fighting for the right to love those people that mean the world to him.
Sunlight falls loosely around them, like Sho’s fringe that is mussed in sleep.
And Ohno dares to reach out with uncertain fingers.
Everything Sho is and can be should belong to Ohno from the first moment they were married, but Ohno has always felt as if Sho was another world entirely. As if Sho were forbidden ground that Ohno would be trespassing if he tried to lay claim to it.
Sho inhales as Ohno’s fingertips sleep-walk across the planes of his cheek. The fingers are gentle and tentative. Ohno is afraid that Sho will wake, he is afraid that Sho will wake and find him so close. Ohno is afraid Sho will push him away again.
But he cannot pull away – not now when the house is silent and the sun is barely awake and his world is filled with Sho’s slow comfortable breathing.
His fingers tiptoe to the stray flop of hair; they are romantic in their gentleness. They skip the last centimeters (confident in the absence of watching eyes) and tuck hair behind Sho’s ear.
Sho swallows and shifts in his sleep. Ohno pulls his hand back sharply, heart tripping beats.
Instead, Sho folds deeper into Ohno.
“Satoshi,” he mumbles and settles, breathing evening out once more. Ohno is more than startled. Sho has never willingly called him by his first name.
Ohno chuckles softly, overwhelming happiness filling his heart to overflowing.
“Sho, Sho-chan,” he murmurs, and pulls Sho into an embrace. Sho’s fingers curl trustingly in the fabric of Ohno’s robes.
Ohno feels complete.
Sho wakes, and it is to Ohno’s smile. Ohno’s smile that says good morning, this is a beautiful day and something else Sho cannot put his finger on.
It fills him up and floods him, through and through.
Later on the top of his documents, Sho finds a small note in Nino’s handwriting.
Eww, you guys are disgusting, and this is not a smiley face - (:
Sho makes a mental note to correct Nino of any misinterpretations he might have – (he decides that killing him would work too).