Shadow Boxer

Pairing: Tasuki x Kouji, Chichiri x Tasuki

Part: 3/3

Completed: March 2002

Author's note: I'm not a Japanese woman, so I don't own FY either. I named this fic after a Fiona Apple song off of her "Tidal" album.

Pampered well, Tasuki smiled tenderly as Nuriko fluffed his pillow behind him brought him pop, and everything else to make him feel comfortable. Nuriko had always been there like a sibling, like an older sister. Here he was again making Tasuki feel, even after he'd felt so much that day. "Nuriko, sit down. You're making me nervous."

"Okay, okay," he muttered like a small child who'd been chided for the eighth time to sit still. "Now, you have to tell me what this is all about."

Fiery eyes drifted back down to his bandaged hands. "I . . . Kouji . . . Um, I'm not ready to talk about it," he bit his lower lip.

"Come on, Tasuki," he giggled, "I told you when Hoto-chan gave me crabs. And remember the time we got so drunk we pissed all over the RA's door while he was boning some chick? Come on, Ta-chan, you can tell me."

"It's not that simple," he sighed. Then he got an idea. "How about this: I'll tell you what's wrong after I go check my mail?"

Tasuki sat up and put on a shirt as Nuriko protested. "Don't you need help? I can go with you!" he pleaded.

"No, Nu-chan," he smiled. "I can do this myself."

Perplexed, the purple-haired boy stammered, "Nu-chan? You only call me that when something's really wrong. Tasuki tell me what's wrong!"

The smile faded quickly into a scowl. "Nuriko, ease up. I'll tell you when I'm good and ready, damn it."

With that, Tasuki left his dorm and started the long journey to the metal trap that snagged his mind. Each step brought about new concerns. Impossible and definite conclusions bounced off of the ground in front of him. "I know I was safe with Yuuhi, but what if I infected him somehow? What if I have some mutated version of this thing and I gave it to everyone? If only Chichiri were here. He'd probably hate some disgusting guy like me. Suzaku, what if I'm gonna die any moment? If I die right here and now, they'd probably just leave me here and stomp on me like a bug. That's all you are when you are gonna die anyway, right? A nuisance, a bug, something to be dealt with. A will, I need a will. What am I thinking? What do I have to give anyone? A freak like me. Damn it, all I did was love someone! It's love, not jealousy or hatred. I love Kouji, he's my lifetime love. Even if he dies or we never have sex again, I'll always love him. Always," he hid his frustration unaware he was already at his mailbox. Unafraid, he unlocked the box and saw the thing he was looking for. He pulled it out and slammed his mailbox door shut, drawing people's attention. Shrugging at them, he sighed.

Right there, in front of the mailroom and all the people finding cards from their mothers, love letters from overseas, funeral invitations, and boxes of food, Tasuki ripped open the envelope.


Your test samples have been processed and the results are present at the clinic. We request you make an appointment and come in to review your results. Further steps will be provided for you here at the clinic. We look forward to seeing you.

Furious, Tasuki ran all the way back to his room where Nuriko and the newly arrived Kouji sat on the bed with guilt-stricken, worried faces. He slammed the door behind him and leaned against the door breathing heavily.

Nuriko stood up, "Tasuki, are going to tell me what's up now?"

Kouji sat him back down calmly. "Are those the results?" he gestured to the papers in Tasuki's hand.

He nodded and let his brow ruffle before answering. "They don't say anything. I've gotta go in. Call the clinic and make an appointment with them a.s.a.p. okay Kouji?"

"Where's your phone?" he looked around.

"Go do it in the lobby," he opened the door.

Kouji nodded knowingly and gave Nuriko one more glance before closing the door behind him.

Nuriko stood up again and hugged the shaken Tasuki. Firmly holding the boy to him he softly asked, "What's wrong?"

Trembling further he grasped Nuriko like a cat caught in rapids. "Ummmm. . . Kouji and I are lovers and um. . . He got HIV from somewhere and I might have it and the results don't tell me anything and I'm so scared. . . I've gotta go in and they're gonna tell me if I'm gonna die or if I'm gonna live. I . . . Nu-chan, I don't wanna die. . ."

Absorbing all the information, he hushed Tasuki's sobs. "No matter what happens, I'll still love and support you, Tasuki. We don't know the results yet, but what happens, happens for the best."

He took in Nuriko's scent a few times and cleared his face for Kouji's sake. He nodded strongly at his counterpart and waited for his brother to return.

Three hours later, all three of them waited in a small room with too many chairs for the red-head's name to be called. Without noticing it, Tasuki let his leg bounce up and down off of the floor. Trying his best not to look guilty, Kouji stared out the window at the bustling street corner. All the people were around this one small bagel and hot dog stand for lunch an hour later than expected. Nuriko held Kouji's hand and rubbed Tasuki's shoulder with the other. He knew nothing else could be done.

Mid-thought, a nurse's voice bellowed his name through a little window across the room. He stood up and didn't look back as she then added, "go to room 4, please."

Obeying succinctly, Tasuki went through one white door with no window and through another with a rather unlucky number on it. A plump Irish woman sat behind the desk looking over a certain red-head's file with raised eyebrow. Noticing her company, she put the file back on the desk and waved him into a seat. "Haow aar eyou feewing tuday, Kenryo?"

"It's Genrou, and I'm a little stressed." This woman did not renew his faith in the medical profession, even with the numerous framed achievements on the wall behind her. "Is this really what Chichiri wants to do for a living?" he thought.

"Ya, ya, ai con emajin," she giggle a little. "Ai em gwad tu teww eyou dat eyou aar not infeckted."

Genrou sighed with relief, but knew there was a catch.

"Bat! Ai haf a hewj fabor tu ask eyou."

"What's that?" At that moment he would have done anything she wanted him to.

"Za reeson you ver not infeckted vas bekuz eyou aar eemeun," she explained.

"Immune?" he questioned.

"Ya. Saam peepole haf jeenz zat proteckt zem fram dee faairus. Eyou aar van af deez peepole. Deez dass not meen zat eyou vill nefer get eet. Pleeze, mai deeya, doo not haf seks vit an enfekted purson again, ya?"

"Yes, ma'am, but what was this favor?"

"Ya, ya, tsoory ai reambell. Soo eyou kan hailp zee infekted peepole bai partisipaiten en zees program," she handed him a pamphlet.

He took it from her and read the title, "HIV/AIDS Research Program of New York. How can I help out?"

"Jyast koll zat namber zere and dey vill teww eyou vat to do. Doo eyou haf any azah kvestions?"

"No ma'am, than you for your time," he stood up.

"No probleem, mai deeya boiy."

With that Tasuki ran out of the office and smiled at his friends. "I'm okay! They said I'm okay!"

Kouji hugged him tightly and Nuriko joined in a few moments later.

After a small walk to the nearest Starbucks and a Mocha Frappacino later, Tasuki told them the rest of the story. "Yeah, immune. But she told me not to go doing it with anyone infected anyway."

Kouji frowned despite himself. "That's great, Tasuki. I mean, I'll miss you in the sack and everything. I still wonder how I got it. Maybe I was born with it."

Nuriko piped up. "Maybe it'll never develop into AIDS. It doesn't have to you know, as long as you stay healthy. You should probably move out of the city though. Too much shit here."

"He's got a point," Tasuki agreed.

After a sip of lukewarm coffee, Tasuki's cell phone rang. "Hello?"

"Uh, Tasuki, no da?" a sheepish voice crawled across the beams fueling the blush on Tasuki's face. Nuriko noticed, but bit his tongue.

"Yeah, Chichiri? How is it going?" he turned from the pair across the table.

"Uh, good. I just got out of class, no da. You wanna do something no da?" he fumbled with the shoulder strap on his bag.

"Yeah, definitely. Where are you?"

"On the train to Noho no da, you?"

"I'm at Starbucks, you know the one on broadway?"

"I'm a few stops from there, stay there okay no da?" he nearly pleaded.

"I'll be here. See ya soon," his tone melted into a sincere whisper.

"Bye," he purred and hung up.

Tasuki was putting the phone back in his pocket as Nuriko looked at him like a cat who was about to do something bad. "What?" Tasuki asked.

"Like you need to ask," he nudged Kouji who was staring back at Tasuki with a less threatening look. "Who is the Chaichairi?"

"It's Chichiri, and he's not a drink, and he's a med. student. I met yesterday. Hold on," he got went to the counter and ordered something. He came back with it and sat it next to him.

"Okay, it's a Grande Skim Mocha, Triple shot, with peppermint and whipped cream," Nuriko deduced from the other side of the table.

"I still don't know how he does that," Tasuki whispered to Kouji.

"Which means he watches what he eats enough to care that its skim, but cares enough about the taste enough to get peppermint. At the same time he indulges his inner child by having whipped cream. From the size and number of shots he's probably been up most of the night worrying about something," he stopped.

"And?" Tasuki asked.

"What gets me is the Mocha. Is his black?" he rubbed his chin.

Kouji started laughing as Tasuki shook his head. "No, he's not black. How do you . . . ? Oh never mind."

"Then tell us about him."

Kouji settled down and added, "I want to know who stole my brother from me."

"He's so cute. I met him at the park up north. He was going to fall into the swamp, so I pulled him out of it."

"Oh, I love this story already," Kouji purred.

"Shut up. We came to another Starbucks and had coffee. I had a . . ."

"Grande double shot Latte with cherry," Kouji answered, cutting him off.

"Right, and he had a . . ."

"Grande Skim Mocha, Triple shot, with peppermint and whipped cream," Nuriko answered.

"Anyway, it was all cool. We talked about his college, stuff like that. I think he may be into me. All I know is that I really like him, not in the nightclub sort of way, but in the I want you to meet my brother sort of way."

"After one day, too. Man you work fast, Tasuki," Nuriko said.

"I'm sure you'll tell me tell me all about what you think when you meet him," he said sarcastically.

"I always do," Nuriko answered. "So you missed your classes today, didn't you Ta-chan?"

"I told you not to call me that, and I did miss theology. Not really anything big. Why do you ask?"

"Sorry I took so long no da," Chichiri put his bag down by the seat next to Tasuki. "But the doors stalled at the stop before the last one and I had to wait to catch another train no da."

"It's okay, we were just sittin'. Oh, This is Nuriko, a guy who lives on my dorm. And that's my brother, Kouji."

Nuriko scanned the Grande Skim Mocha, Triple shot, with peppermint and whipped cream standing behind the other end of the table with little surprise at the caliber of Tasuki's catch. "Well aren't you a fine tall glass of water."

"Thanks no da," he shook Nuriko's hand as Kouji inspected his brother's catch.

Kouji thought out loud, "Is that your real. . ."

"Yes," Tasuki responded in time with his blue-haired counterpart. They looked at each other a moment and started to laugh. Kouji and Nuriko merely looked at each other,

Chichiri sat down and peered into the paper cup before him. He looked at Tasuki, "Is this mine no da?"

"Yup. Grande Skim Mocha, Triple shot, peppermint, with whipped cream, right?"

"Yeah, thanks. I wasn't expecting you to. . ."

"It's no problem. How were classes?"

"Da," he sighed. "Disagreeable, no da. I was late to two of my classes and I had to hand in a paper late no da. You no da?"

"Sorry about that man. I got good news today, but I missed a class. Either way, I feel like going dancing tonight. Wanna join me?"

"Clubbing here I come!" Nuriko rejoiced.

Sipping some of his coffee Chichiri tried not to believe it was a date, but was failing miserably well. "Sure no da."

"You coming, Kouji?" Nuriko asked.

"Nah, I feel like staying and tackling the next chapter of War and Peace in a bubble bath," he said sarcastically.

Tasuki leaned over to Chichiri and whispered, "Don't worry, we'll loose 'em after a while."

Chichiri nodded smiling. "I'm not exactly in clubbing clothes so how about I meet you guys in front of the club at eight no da. Which club you guys go to no da?"

"The Box," Nuriko answered.

"Nah, I'm sick of that place. Let's go to the Yellow Rat," Tasuki added.

"I'll be there at eight, see ya, no da," he picked up his bag and coffee. "Nice meeting you two, no da."

With that the blue-headed man walked out, not without three sets of eyes following his ass out.

"What's with the "no da's"?" Kouji asked.

"Shut up, Kouji."

Happy just to be alive and well, Tasuki smiled as he rode the train with his two comrades. Happy to be seeing Chichiri again, he dressed his best. Maybe a little too happy, he shifted from foot to foot in anticipation.

"Calm down," Nuriko smiled at him.

"Am I hot?" he asked.

"Yeah, hot enough to melt Chaichai's heart now stop bouncing."

"It's Chichiri! I know you think he's a bit weird, but don't be rude."

"If he gets you this excited I'll deal. What about you Kouji, you planning to smack this bitch if I don't?"

He merely nodded and looked out the window at the passing cement and piping.

Once above ground, the pair tried to catch up with the red-head whose pace was increasing the closer they came. He waved his ID at the bouncer and found the object of his affection waiting with a forlorn look on his face, leaning against a wall, staring at the ground before him. He almost looked lost. Doing the only thing he thought appropriate, he grabbed Chichiri quickly and pulling him into the mess of dancers.

Elated to see the other boy, he began dancing closely. "I was worried you'd forgotten no da!" he yelled over the music.

"I'm sorry I'm late! But I'm here now," he pulled Chichiri's back against his stomach.

Dancing like that for a while, the pair shifted into a less feverish swing than the rest of the crowd. After a time, Tasuki unglued himself from Chichiri long enough to drag him to the bar where they sat next to each other. In the middle of ordering, Chichiri pulled on Tasuki's sleeve and pointed at a corner near the entrance, "Isn't that your brother and the guy I met before no da?"

Tasuki inspected further to find Nuriko and Kouji catch up in a rather heated moment. He had suspected it had been going on for a while. He just prayed in his head that they were careful.

"They're cute together no da," Chichiri said. "So feelin' better than you were yesterday no da?"

After taking several gulps, he handed his water to Chichiri. "Yeah, a lot better." He pulled Chichiri into him after the bottle was gone. Blushing, from the heat and the contact, they started to dance again.

After a couple songs, Chichiri stopped and pushed Tasuki against a wall. Pressing himself against the red-head's receiving body, his blush spread as he slowly dove in for a kiss. Tasuki excepted graciously, letting soft touches follow. The delicate kiss became a deep kiss, then a deep kiss became a deep kiss with hands on hips and arms, then soft grinding. Chichiri then stepped away, leaving a frustrated Tasuki against the wall. Chichiri grabbed a familiar hand and guided Tasuki out of the club.

"Where are we going?" he asked impatiently.

"My place. It's only a few blocks from here no da," he answered contently.

He followed obediently in awe of the man before him. Not a few hours ago, they had been drinking coffee, still wondering about each other. Now, he was getting Chichiri all to himself. "Chichiri?"

"Da?" he unlocked the door to his second story flat.

"I have tell you something before we do anything."

Chichiri locked the door behind Tasuki and turned a light on. The large apartment housed only a few rooms, but the hardwood floor flat had a sense of calm about it. The news would be better for Tasuki to deliver in here. "I'm listening no da," he walked into the open kitchen for a drink.

"Remember how I told you my brother had HIV? And how freaked out I was about getting my mail yesterday?" he followed him to the other side of the counter.

"Yes no da."

"My brother and I were adopted. We're not really related, but were we lovers for a while. I was really happy earlier today because I found out I'm immune to HIV, so I'm not infected. I don't have anything else either. I wanted to tell you because I care about you. I don't want to hide anything from you."

He took a few tense moments to digest it all. "The brother thing is a little weird no da. But, I'm glad you told me and let me meet your friend and your brother no da. Now I know why you were so upset yesterday no da. Is that why you were sitting under that tree by yourself no da?"

"Yeah. Thanks for understanding," he leaned over the counter separating them and added, "You were really hot tonight."

Chichiri pet his hair and the side of his face carefully. "You, too. You wanna get in the tub no da? We kinda smell from all that dancing."

"Sure, but you'll have to bandage me up afterward. I kinda got mad at a wall yesterday."

Looking at Tasuki's hand, he nodded. "I wasn't going to ask no da. You ever get mad like that again, you call me no da. Don't attack defenseless walls, no da."

"Sure. Now where's that bath?"

The contented pair found not only bubble in the lingering bath, but comfort in each other's bodies; not in any sexual manner, but merely taking joy in being bare and close to someone they cared about. Almost like children, they'd dunk each other's heads under the water and splash, but always end up nestled in each other's arms. Safe and warm.