Series: Gate 7
Characters: Tachibana, Sakura, mentions of Hana and Chikahito
Warning: First time writing this series! Also, slight sexual situation.
Summary: Tachibana fights back his annoyance all day, and Sakura is completely unsympathetic.
Notes: Takes place after Sakura's fight in chapter 8. I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO WRITE THESE GUYS AAAAAAH I am unsure about how this turned out. But. I hope you enjoy it. ;~; Let me know what you think, please!
He doesn’t do it when Sakura takes both himself and Hana into a hug, because the last thing he wants is for the others to see him frazzled. But he does glare at Sakura as Hana wraps her arms around him and holds him close, her eyes squeezed tight. The freeloader flutters about (annoyingly, Tachibana thinks), but nothing can be done about that. Tachibana doesn’t do it then, but he wants to. His arm hurts like hell, though, so punching Sakura in the face probably wasn’t the wisest decision.
So he waits. Sakura passes out, and Tachibana regrets holding off. Maybe he should have punched him, if the guy was going to pass out anyway. The trip back home is slow and awkward, because damn it, Sakura is heavy.
When Sakura does come back to himself, Tachibana thinks, secretly, that it’s reassuring the crazed look is gone from his eyes. Hana looks relieved, too, and Tachibana fights back the spark of frustration as it’s the damn freeloader who acts first, offering to make Hana some noodles (in his stupid attempt to make Hana happy—and damn it if it doesn’t work).
“Don’t make that face,” Sakura chastises with a smile, and Tachibana realizes that he is openly scowling. He turns the look towards Sakura, who, as always, remains unconcerned by the look. He just smiles that slight mocking smile. Tachibana crosses his arms and glares more. But he doesn’t punch Sakura then, either.
But since Sakura is there, it’s enough for Tachibana to shift his anger at the freeloader back towards Sakura, the source of his daily ire.
“What if it’d become like before?” he snaps, louder than he meant to, and he glances over towards where Hana and the freeloader are. The idiot doesn’t seem to hear him, and so Tachibana flickers his attention back towards Sakura.
“But it didn’t,” Sakura says, almost gently. He shrugs one shoulder, then seems to think better of it when it disturbs his side.
“That doesn’t—” Tachibana begins, and then breaks himself off with an angry sigh. “Forget it.”
“I know,” Sakura says, and does sound like he knows what Tachibana was going to say. Tachibana glares—it is at once infuriating and reassuring to be read so easily. It is always Sakura who voices these things, who always speaks reasonably when Tachibana feels he’ll fall away wayward.
“You don’t,” Tachibana snaps and knows he is being petulant. He doesn’t care. He changes the subject, repeating from earlier: “That all took forever.”
“Don’t be childish. How’s your arm?” Sakura asks. He sounds pleasant enough.
Tachibana gives him a wary glance. Then he scowls, his lip curling upward in a sneer.
“Have you stopped bleeding yet?” he asks instead of answering.
Sakura shrugs and lifts up his shirt enough to see that the dressings around his wound haven’t bled through yet, at least. He drops his shirt, and Tachibana hates himself for the one moment of caught breath when he saw the slope of Sakura’s bare skin not covered by the bandages. Damn it.
He looks away. He can feel Sakura’s eyes on him, though.
“You should go to your room,” Tachibana snaps.
“I won’t be able to sleep,” Sakura reminds him.
“Like I don’t already know that!” He turns to look at Sakura again with a glare, and Sakura shrugs his shoulder before remembering that doing that kind of hurts.
But then Sakura is slowly rising to his feet and Tachibana snaps his arm out and grabs Sakura’s uninjured side before he can remember that he’s angry with him. Sakura smiles and Tachibana looks away and leads the way upstairs to his room.
“It’s a good thing I woke up, I don’t think anyone could have carried me up here,” Sakura says with a laugh, and both of them pretend that Sakura isn’t leaning heavily on Tachibana, making his knees brace with each step upwards.
“You shouldn’t make jokes about this,” Tachibana mutters, without any real heat because all of his attention is going into getting Sakura to his room so he can lay down and rest, even if he won’t (can’t) sleep.
“Right, right.” Dismissive. Tachibana feels his brow furrow.
Once in Sakura’s room, Sakura still leans heavily against Tachibana, and Tachibana angles his head to look up at him. Sakura’s eyes are closed in a slight grimace, and Tachibana finds his fingers digging into Sakura’s back, following the bumps of his spine. Almost reassurance. Tachibana checks the action almost immediately. He reminds himself that he’s angry.
Sakura opens his eyes and smiles at him. “Thanks.”
Tachibana looks away. “Go lie down.”
Sakura pats him on the back of his head and it’s at once a comforting and patronizing movement and Tachibana recoils slightly, leaving Sakura to stagger the last few feet to his futon and sitting down upon it with a sigh, hands on his knees. Tachibana crosses his arms and regards him, looking down his nose at him. Sakura meets his gaze evenly.
“You shouldn’t be so reckless,” he says, for lack of anything else to say.
“Sorry to have worried you,” Sakura returns, but doesn’t make any promises. Not that Tachibana expected him to.
Tachibana looks away, and doesn’t deny that he’s worried. He knows better than to pretend otherwise. And even if he did, Sakura would know the truth immediately.
“Go easy on me,” Sakura says, and almost sounds apologetic. There is a gentle touch to his voice as he seeks out Tachibana’s eyes.
Tachibana deigns to glance his way, and then to give himself something to do, starts wandering around Sakura’s room. He settles at the window. The sun is setting and it casts long shadows across the room. He can feel Sakura watching his back.
He turns around and leans heavily against the windowsill, watching Sakura watch him. They stay in silence for a moment.
“Your bandages,” Tachibana says at last.
Sakura answers his question by lifting his shirt. It’s hard to tell in the darkness, whether it is the distant glow of a dying sun or blood that gives the bandages a touch of pink.
“Seems I was reckless,” Sakura says.
“Don’t tease me,” Tachibana snaps and leaves the room to get new bandages.
He stomps around the house searching and even gets some kind of sick pleasure in the way the freeloader scrambles to get out of his way as he goes. Hana is at the table eating her noodles, looking perfectly content. She has utter faith in Sakura. In the freeloader, too.
Tachibana scowls. That seems to be all he’s doing lately, but he can’t care enough to try to calm down. Everybody (with the exception of Hana) is getting on his nerves and he feels like he needs a cup of coffee before he can function properly, even though it’s evening.
He finds the first aid kit and stomps his way back to Sakura’s room.
“Even if I could sleep,” Sakura says as greeting, still in the same spot Tachibana left him, “your stomping around would wake the dead.”
“Don’t tease me,” Tachibana repeats, eyes narrow as he sits down in front of Sakura. “Take off your shirt.”
Sakura raises one eyebrow but seems to listen to both of Tachibana’s demands, taking his shirt off in silence. Now that he’s closer, the pink looks more red. Tachibana begins unwrapping the bandages, and though he is peeved and angry and frustrated, he keeps his movements gentle. His fingers ghost along Sakura’s skin and Sakura does not cringe.
Tachibana deals with it all in silence. He glares at Sakura’s chest as he works, and it’s distracting and the ugly wound at his side doesn’t even diminish from the distraction. As he gets close to finishing, he feels a hand on his head again.
He looks up warily, expecting more teasing. Instead, Sakura seems solemn, despite the smile.
“It wasn’t like last time,” he says, quietly.
“What would you have done if it had been?” Tachibana snaps, angrier than he’d intended. He can’t help it if he’s worried, and he doesn’t even pretend to mask it.
Sakura shrugs, but they both know the answer. Tachibana glares down at the bandages and finishes it off, tying it off. His hands linger for a moment before he pulls back.
Sakura is watching him. “Your arm?”
Tachibana purses his lips. “It’s fine.”
He’s about to pull away when Sakura’s hand comes up and grasps Tachibana’s tie, which he still hasn’t removed, and tugs a little. “Show me.”
Tachibana lip curls in displeasure as he slowly rolls up his shirt sleeve. He’d cleaned the wound earlier, when they’d first arrived back, before Sakura woke up. It’d stopped bleeding a while ago, and the bandages didn’t need changing.
“Satisfied?” Tachibana sneers.
“Very,” Sakura says.
“I could hit you for all this,” he mutters.
“Why don’t you?” is the answer.
Tachibana looks away and packs up the first aid kit. He is silent, and Sakura doesn’t press him. They both know the answer.
Sakura tugs on his tie again, drawing Tachibana’s attention back to him. A hand comes up and touches his injured wrist. The touch is soft and doesn’t disturb the injury beneath the bandages. Tachibana narrows his eyes as Sakura leans in closer. He can feel Sakura’s breath against his mouth, but he doesn’t slant his mouth to meet his just yet.
The shadows move across Sakura’s face as his eyes flicker towards his. Tachibana stays still.
“You’re already injured enough,” Tachibana finally relents.
“Sorry,” Sakura says, and there’s a touch of a smile to his voice.
Tachibana closes his eyes and sighs. “Whatever. Just be more careful.”
The hand on his wrist moves up, ghosting over his bandages and settling at his elbow. Tachibana feels himself drawn closer and allows for the hand on his head to shift away and slide over his neck, settling around the back of his shoulders. Fingers touch at his spine and Tachibana hates himself for shivering.
Sakura leans in, breath against his jaw line and settling against his ear as Sakura whispers to him: “What if I like to see you so angry?”
Tachibana hates himself when he feels his breath catch, the feel of ghosting breath against the shell of his ear doing the same damn things to him they always do. But then the words settle in and he discerns their meaning, and Tachibana feels his expression darken.
“Like that face,” Sakura chuckles, although with a nose in his hair, he can only guess what Tachibana’s expression is. This only makes him angry.
But then fingers touch at the back of his neck and it is Tachibana’s undoing. He lets out an angry sigh and fists his hands against Sakura’s hips (mindful of the wound) and doesn’t let go.
“Shut up,” he mumbles, and would shove Sakura down onto his back if he wasn’t so damned worried about injuring him more—damn it all.
Sakura chuckles again and Tachibana feels his hackles rise, his shoulders tensing. But then he feels a hand at his side, slipping briefly underneath his shirt to trace at a rib, before withdrawing and thumbing at a button. He works his way up, fingers finally curling into the tie and tugging at it.
“Off,” he says.
“Shut up,” Tachibana says. “We aren’t doing this. You’re injured.”
“Doing what?” Sakura asks.
Tachibana does shove him this time. More gently than he normally would, perhaps, but still shoving. He glares down at Sakura and pins his hands down, his lips pursing more.
“You know what,” Tachibana says, and he feels cold now that his shirt is open. But Sakura is warm beneath him and Tachibana knows that he won’t be cold for long if this continues. He feels a touch of annoyance at the fact he is being ignored and, most of all, that he doesn’t actually care all that much.
“I guess,” Sakura relents, but there’s a touch of something in his eyes.
Tachibana release one of Sakura’s wrists, drifting southward to undo the snap and zip of Sakura’s pants.
“Fine,” he hisses. “Have it your way.”
“Don’t sound so unhappy about it or I might be insulted,” Sakura says, and they both know it isn’t true.
“If only,” Tachibana snaps. “Now shut up and take off your pants.”