Title: An Unimportant Moment
Author: Proverbial Pumpkin
Summary: Five minutes, one moment. Only slightly less unimportant than it seems. K/Tohma. PWP.
Author's Note: If you're looking for plot, look further. This is just something I did for fun, because an image popped into my head. Light K/Tohma.
"Very picturesque, Tohma."
He glanced up at my voice and frowned. He was probably irritated that I'd seen him undertaking a pastime so common folk as reading on his porch steps. I grinned at him, and he closed the book as I shut the car door.
I hadn't been sarcastic, though, and I shaded my eyes to take in the scene from the unnecessarily long driveway. Tohma was one of the few residents in the area with an actual yard- as in, a porch and nice grass and marble stepping stones and a pool in the back. Add that kind of scenery to the image of Tohma sitting on the wooden stairs reading God knows what, and "picturesque" really is the right word. He hadn't even heard me drive up. He stayed seated as I strode over to him but took off the thin, silver-rimmed glasses he uses to read, drive, and cook. I was sorry to see them go.
He had a small red hardback book in his hands. "What're you reading?"
"This," he said, handing it to me as I sat next to him. His voice sounded a little tired. No wonder- Nittle Grasper had performed twice outside of the country last week, and both times he had been back at the office by the next day.
I took the book, but kept my eyes on him. "So, are you guys taking it easier this week?"
He looked thrown by the out-of-the-blue question. "I don't know what you mean."
"Yes you do. I mean all these performances in Korea while you're not even on tour. Flying there and back over and over again in two weeks can't be exactly cost-efficient."
He scoffed. "It can't be helped. Ryuichi wants to sing, but Noriko didn't want to leave her son for several weeks straight, again. And don't talk to me about cost, K-san. Perhaps it wouldn't be an efficient move for Bad Luck, but we've sold out at each venue."
Brutal. I wouldn't have said anything at all if I'd known he was going to get defensive and fire back. I looked at the book in my hands. The Last of the Mohicans. Thumbing through the pages, I saw he was reading it in English. The pages fell open towards the middle, where a cloth bookmark lay.
"It is I!" I read aloud, with animation. "Thy own Elsie! Spare, oh! Save your daughters!"
Tohma blinked at me with dull, unamused eyes. I grinned; I was amusing myself plenty. I looked down at the next line. 'Hold!' shouted the former speaker, in the awful tones of parental agony. "Jesus, Tohma. I'd never read this kind of book, and it's my native language."
He snatched it back. "My English won't get better if I only read the kind of books you read."
"Alright, alright," I said, leaning my elbows on my knees. "Enough with the back-handed insults. It's just not every day I see you sitting around with a novel in your hands. I'm surprised you made time."
Like that meant anything. Tohma had blown me off the past three Sundays in a row so he could catch up on work, but I let it go. I'd be the last person to deter him from taking a day off. It was certainly time he did.
"Oh, while I'm thinking about it. Why do you have that pool back there? I've never seen you or anyone else in it."
He put his glasses back on, much to my delight, and let the hardback fall open again. "You can use it whenever you want." He settled back into his book, his eyes narrowing only slightly as they moved over the page. His mouth was just barely open, and his bangs fell partially over his eyes while he was reading.
I had to remind myself we were in a conversation. "That's not what I meant. I just wondered why you have it in the first place."
"Mika wanted it."
His eyes didn't leave the words in front of him. There was a time when I'd search them for signs of regret whenever Mika came up. Now I just settled in beside him. "Oh."
He turned a page. I loved seeing Tohma like this, at home, when he looked differently than he did at NG affairs. The man only owned one pair of khakis, and if I had my way he'd wear them every day because they were just barely too long for him, and when he went barefoot they got caught underneath his heels and for a while, he looked like I imagined he must have looked when he was younger. The pants wrinkled easily at the hip when he bent forward to tilt his book to the sunlight. White, long-sleeved collared shirt. The man looked like he'd walked straight out of a spring fashion advertisement, but perhaps I was just biased. He wasn't wearing that hat, the one he wore to work and during concerts. Instead the wind blew his light hair away from his face momentarily, then softly back over his eyes. He didn't notice. He was looking hard at one point in the page, his eyebrows slightly furrowed. I wondered what he was thinking.
"Quit staring at me while I'm reading." I snapped back to attention as he stood up, tossing the book beside me. "It's distracting."
I smiled sheepishly at him, and he walked into his house, leaving the door open. A wave of air-conditioned air hit me and I waited a moment for him to reappear. He did, after only a few seconds, and pulled the door shut behind him with another book in his hand.
It was thicker, and I turned my head to read the title as he sat down again, shoulder to shoulder with me. It was an English-Japanese dictionary.
"Hey!" I exclaimed. "You could have asked me!"
Tohma snorted. "I thought I'd save the time."
I thought about popping that personal bubble of his and yanking at his hair. It was tempting, but I'd probably be escorted from the premises if I tried. Instead, I pushed the cover closed when he opened the dictionary. "Ask me first," I insisted.
Tohma rolled his eyes, but looked back to his novel. He studied the word, and then pronounced it slowly. "Valet-tudi…narian."
I asked him to repeat it, not because I didn't understand him the first time.
"Valetudinarian," he said again. I loved hearing him speak English. Tohma's vocabulary was good but it had been years since he spent any real time in America, and his accent was heavy even when he tried to mask it. That accent was one of several things I'd found myself romanticizing about Seguchi Tohma over the past few months.
Having said that, I had no clue what the word meant. Something about the end of something, or saying good-bye maybe. My one year of Latin in high school was a long, long time ago. Tohma looked at me expectantly.
"Um, can I have it in context?"
"Oh, you don't know," he said, turning back to his dictionary.
Too right I didn't, and apparently I wasn't meant to. I rather assumed Tohma would quote out a definition, but he just kept reading as if I weren't even there anymore. "Well?" I asked.
"It's not in there," he said.
Oh good. "I'm pretty sure it's someone who sort of eulogizes animals after they die, you know?"
"Don't pretend to have any idea, K-san. I'm only going to check an English dictionary for what it actually means later, and then you'll really look stupid."
I let out a dramatic sigh. "Why did I even come over, Tohma? If all you're going to do is insult me."
For a moment a trace of a smirk graced his lips, and I sensed something else smart about to be thrown at me. After a moment, though, he lowered the book in his hand and looked out across his yard. The sun had lowered just a little bit, and cast a skewed shadow of his profile on the ground by his side. His eyes squinted slightly in the light. "I thought I'd make a nice dinner tonight."
He looked at me, as if almost surprised by the question. "For you, of course."
Author's note: I just realized than in all my stories, I have to mention Tohma being over-worked or something to that effect. I guess it's because I always sympathized with this dual-role in NG, but he never seems to be fully appreciated.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this itty bitty little fic. Take from it what you will, and review if you're so inclined. Happy summer!