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RL Update: Things are not at all better. I'm not sure if this feels unreal or unavoidable now.

I meant to post all of this here yesterday but forgot about it once I got the poll up on LJ. So. If you'd like, there is an lj poll regarding Inception big-bang ideas right here. I could use ideas and/or working brains to do thinking for me.

And now, because I like to package asking you for things with fic, a bit of Finding Nino. This is for Leader, who once said she wanted to see Nino give in.

Nino knows how the world works. He's practical, pragmatic. He's been bitten and burned. He damn well knows that he should stay right where he is, at home with his mother and sister and the paperwork and the shabby, comfy couch. He rinses another plate and stares blindly out at the dark trees that hide them from the rest of the island.

"What are you doing in the dark, dumbass?" Kazue asks as she flips on the kitchen lights. Nino has to throw an arm over his eyes or get blinded for real. "Who washes dishes in the dark?"

He manages a squint at his sister and hopes she feels the force of his irritation in it. "Shut up," he says witheringly.

Kazue boosts herself up to sit on the counter and takes the plate from his hands. "Somebody's off his game," she observes.

Nino folds his arms and opens his mouth to tell her to fuck off and mind her own business. What he actually says is "If I don't show up, if I break my word and I'm not thereā€¦he'll understand, right?" If he lied, he thinks, maybe Ohno will stop chasing after him and Nino can stop failing at not getting caught. "He'll understand that I mean it."

Without the benefit of naming names, Kazue still understands him. Which says a lot and none of it good, Nino thinks. "Ohno Satoshi will understand that he's going to come here and get you," she says. She shakes her head. "That guy wants you for some dumb reason and you're crap at pretending you don't want him back."

He hates it. He hates it so much. He wants to pick up a plate and throw it but then he'd have to buy another one. "The world doesn't work that way," he says. He knows it. He's resigned to it. He'll get over it someday.

Kazue slips off the counter top and turns off the light before coming back and wrapping her arms around him. "It doesn't, it doesn't work that way." She rocks him a bit, side to side. "I know there's so much more than just him and you to think about but, Kazunari, you listen to me: you're worth it. He thinks that."

"Don't," he begs softly. He can't have his sister in Ohno's corner. "Don't side with Oh-chan."

"Your sister is gonna side with anybody who loves you that much," his mother says from the doorway. She holds out the keys to his truck. "You're young. He's young. If you're going to make a mess of life, now's the best time."

Nino takes the keys.

He doesn't go in the house, though, when he gets there. He parks and walks down to the shoreline, dropping down to sit where the surf can wash over his feet. Ohno's house is the only one for miles and miles on this curve of the island and the beach is empty, washed out in the silver night. He watches the moon overhead as it chases in and out of the few clouds in the sky. When his neck starts to hurt, he watches the moon on the waves. It smells like seaweed and sand and salt. Nino hates the whole ocean.

"Nino loves the ocean," Ohno says from behind him. A moment later and Nino's bowl plops down in front of him. Ohno's hands settle it firmly in the sand, sea foam licking against the glass. Ohno settles himself beside Nino. Their arms brush. "You left Pigeon with Jun," he says after a moment.

Pigeon belongs with Jun and Mao, this is something Nino realized the moment the man and the cat first met. It had been so obvious. "That's where he belongs." Nino reaches out and runs his fingertip over the rim of the bowl. "We're alike, you said," he says quietly, watching his hand cast shadows over the fish. "It's because you caught us both without trying." He turns his head and finally looks at Ohno. He knows that face, knows those expressions, remembers that mouth against his. "This isn't how the world works," Nino says, "but I'm in love with you anyway."

Ohno smiles at him. "I know. Does this mean you're not breaking up with me anymore?"

Nino snorts. "I should dump you for asking me that."

"Kiss me instead," Ohno says, leaning in and waiting.

So Nino reaches up, lays his palm against Ohno's cheek, and catches him in a kiss that is soft and slow and as sweet as Nino can make it.
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November 2012

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