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Challenge – Chapter Five

Niou coaxes Yagyuu into more intimacy; or perhaps it’s the other way around. Drama with Porn, I-3

Pairing(s): Yagyuu/Niou

There were times when Masaharu seriously thought Marui Bunta was going to grow up to be a gossip columnist. He had an apparently insatiable curiosity about other people’s personal lives.

“So, what do you guys think?” Marui asked one day, while the doubles team was cooling down, nodding at The Magnificent Three over by the fence. “Are they hooked up, or what?”

“Marui,” Jackal said, disapprovingly. Masaharu laughed. The usual doubles pairs really had come down to one casual sort and one straightlaced sort each…

“Possibly,” Yagyuu answered, adjusting his glasses.

Jackal’s brows rose, and Masaharu frankly goggled at his partner.

“If so, however, I suspect all three must be involved,” Yagyuu continued, serenely. “Together the three of them have a stability that no two do alone.”

“Kinky,” Marui said, with a bubble for emphasis.

“And here I thought you were completely indifferent,” Masaharu marveled, a bit sardonically. “You never give any of your fanclub the time of day.”

“As opposed to your attempts to corrupt yours into delinquency?” Yagyuu inquired, with a tiny smile. “The shrillness is a bit off-putting. That does not make me blind, nor does it mean I have no appreciation for beauty of body or of heart.”

Masaharu blinked. Marui snickered, and nudged Masaharu in the ribs.

“I told you you shouldn’t have switched the labels on the water and acetone before Yonomi-sensei’s dry-ice demonstration. He’s just getting you back for messing up his favorite class.”

“Yonomi-sensei deserved it,” Masaharu defended himself. He shared a speaking look with his partner. Yes, Masaharu would be more careful not to interrupt experiments that interested Yagyuu. No, Yagyuu wasn’t actually angry. He’d known that already, really. If Yagyuu had gotten angry with him he certainly wouldn’t have shown it by adopting methods so close to Masaharu’s own. Masaharu grinned.

The corruption proceeded apace.

Masaharu and Yagyuu had kept up their winter habit of studying together. It was comfortable and familiar, and it gave Masaharu a chance to keep working on Yagyuu’s self-restraint. His goal was to get Yagyuu to cut off a teacher at the knees. He felt it would be a healthy step forward in his partner’s personal development.

And it would be fun as hell to watch.

He did his best to be a good example, and he was reasonably sure that Yagyuu liked watching him stir things up, but it was still good to have it confirmed. Even if the form of that confirmation was slightly disconcerting.

They were working through a section on the Edo period, and Masaharu was giving his interpretation of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s foundational policies, which was rather more colorful than the official one.

“Really a brilliant social engineer, and an utterly cold-hearted bastard. Think about the strictures on who can do what. I mean, it looks worst for the peasants, but consider what he did to the samurai with the same move. Effectively, you can have weapons or you can have food, but you can’t have both. Stabilized the economy and contained the warriors with one fell swoop.” Masaharu stretched out a little more comfortably on the floor beside the low table Yagyuu sat at so straight and upright. “Absolutely brilliant bastard; you’ve got to admire a mind like that.”

Yagyuu paused in his note-taking, and tapped the end of his pen against the table. Masaharu tilted a brow; that was what Yagyuu did when he was evaluating some thought or person.

“Niou-kun, you asked me once what had happened to me,” Yagyuu said, thoughtfully. “What was it that happened to you? Not that the results aren’t entertaining to watch, when you rake people over trying to find bits of gold in the gravel. But what gave you such a taste for people of extremes?”

Masaharu blinked, never having heard his proclivities framed quite that way, before. Then he shrugged.

“It’s always been like that. Some people are fascinated by fire; the brilliance, and destructiveness, and beauty. It’s the same for me, only it’s people. Fire is mindless; people have intention and direction. And I can come closer to the burning.”

Yagyuu slowly removed his glasses, and polished them, pale eyes resting on Masaharu.

“Are you saying,” Yagyuu asked, after a long, contemplative pause, “that you’re a metaphorical pyromaniac?” He looked amused.

“Good description,” Masaharu agreed, folding his arms behind his head. Yagyuu regarded him, eyes sharp and curious.

“You know, I’ve wondered, if it was passion you wanted to call out of me, why you never tried seduction.”

Masaharu blinked some more. He’d thought the answer to that was self-evident.

“Because sex didn’t work,” he said. “It was the first thing I tried, and it didn’t unsettle you at all. Could have knocked me over with a feather, at the time,” he admitted, just a bit disgruntled at the memory. Thinking it over, he had to add, “If I thought I could get you to let go all the way, I would in a second.”

“Would you really?” Yagyuu wondered, softly. His gaze was somehow both piercing and distant, and Masaharu heard questions behind the question. Would you really want to and Could you really handle it, among others.

“Oh, yes,” he answered all of them, mouth curling.

“Hm.” Yagyuu replaced his glasses. “So. Do you have an opinion of Tokugawa Ieyasu to add for this section?”

As Masaharu held forth on genealogical slight of hand, he also tucked away some intriguing new ideas for later examination.

The tournament matches started to heat up a little, as they entered Regionals. To keep everyone on their toes, Yukimura colluded with Yanagi to put together a training schedule to make a slave-driver blanch. The only open times were provided solely to include Kirihara.

By now the entire club had a pretty good idea of what next year’s team would look like.

For once Kirihara seemed to be struggling. He appeared to have taken Yukimura’s edict about control to heart, but it was clear that holding back his own rage was both alien to him and draining. Masaharu, personally, considered most of that control a waste of time, but then it wasn’t the dearest desire of his heart to defeat Yukimura at tennis. To each his own.

Sanada approved, though. Masaharu noticed him taking Kirihara aside, while Yanagi and Yukimura were busy playing he and Jackal, to help Kirihara with his footwork. That was the day Masaharu decided Sanada had a soft spot for ambition and drive. Kirihara definitely had those, in spades. It did explain, perhaps, why Sanada accepted Yukimura’s superiority so easily, when he was so taken up with achieving victory over absolutely everyone else.

Draped over a bench, after a grueling marathon of singles matches within the team, Masaharu watched Kirihara and Sanada going at it hammer and tongs, still. They were both nuts. Masaharu loved tennis, and he loved winning, and he deeply loved playing with Yagyuu, but some people just took the whole thing beyond any degree of sanity. Even Jackal was looking worn out after today.

Marui was still standing, but only because he was so pleased with his new shot that it acted on him like a sugar high. Masaharu expected him to crash any second. The day he’d perfected that startling ball that rolled along the net, he’d been bouncing off the walls for the rest of practice.

“Pure genius, that’s what it is!” he’d proclaimed, grinning too hard to even blow bubbles. Jackal had smiled, tolerantly, on his partner’s antics. Kirihara, on the other hand, had snorted.

“Pure showing off,” he’d corrected, only to be jumped on and pummeled by Marui. Masaharu had watched with a smirk; he’d only kept his mouth shut because he knew Kirihara could be counted on to say it first.

Now Marui came to the rest of them after a mere dozen runs through his new move.

“Looks like the little spitfire’s improving,” he said, flopping down and stealing Yagyuu’s towel. Jackal plucked it out of his hand, replacing it with Marui’s own, without a word. Yagyuu accepted his back with a nod.

“Seventeen percent improvement over the last month,” Yanagi specified from where he was fishing his water bottle out of the cooler. “Though I’m not sure he believes it.”

Masaharu had to admit, for someone who was so sure he would make it to the top, the kid did seem prone to crises of confidence. Indeed, when the game finally ended, Kirihara slumped on his bench looking quite glum, head hanging almost to his knees as he caught his breath. The doubles team were having a quick conference of looks to decide who should speak to him first, when Yukimura made the issue moot by going to Kirihara himself.

“You’re doing well,” he said, gently. Kirihara’s look up was a bit wry.

“It doesn’t feel like it,” he admitted. Yukimura smiled down at him and touched his shoulder.

“It’s hard to tell from inside the game, sometimes. So trust my judgment from outside of it. You are making good progress, Akaya.”

Kirihara’s eyes widened before he ducked his head. The doubles team exchanged amused looks. For all that Yukimura was Kirihara’s prime target, or possibly because of it, he seemed especially susceptible to the warmth that Yukimura lavished on his team to go along with his ruthless demands. It was really kind of cute.

Masaharu caught a similar look passing among The Glorious Three. He was particularly interested to note the hint of affection in Sanada’s eyes, and the faint softening of his mouth as he regarded Kirihara and Yukimura.

Well, well. Here he’d thought Sanada would be the jealous sort. He did so love how unpredictable his teammates could be.

Some things about Yagyuu were unpredictable, and then some things weren’t. After turning over the intriguing thoughts one of their study sessions had left him with, Masaharu had decided that he had better choose the setting carefully, to act on his conclusions. Otherwise, Yagyuu’s entirely predictable personal privacy would likely deep six the entire thing.

Long consideration led him to decide on Yagyuu’s room. It was handy, being where more than half their study sessions took place anyway, and he’d observed that Yagyuu tended to be a little less tense inside those walls, as if they took the place of his outermost layer. That should help, too.

Then it was just a matter of waiting for the right opportunity.

He chose two days after they played Seigaku. After Yanagi’s report on Seigaku’s impressive second-year singles player, their captain had taken the Singles Three slot and been soundly trounced by one Tezuka Kunimitsu. Tezuka had apparently caught Sanada’s interest, as he had spent all the next practices working against the team’s strongest singles players to polish his techniques, hoping that they would come up against Seigaku again at Nationals. This, of course, included Yagyuu. Masaharu had noted months ago that Yagyuu relaxed in a very particular way after playing Sanada, possibly because he used more raw strength against Sanada than any other player.

“I take it,” Yagyuu commented, as they dumped their bags by the table, “that it isn’t a review of spectography you have on your mind today, Niou-kun?”

Yagyuu’s intuition was a match for anyone else’s analysis, Masaharu reflected.

“Not in the least,” he admitted, approaching his partner. Yagyuu smiled, and watched him come.

Face to face, Yagyuu was a bit taller; though, Masaharu supposed, if he ever stood like he had a poker where his spine should be, they would likely be the same height. He reached out and, delicately, removed Yagyuu’s glasses. A signal, a symbol, a talisman, but more than anything else an intense desire to see Yagyuu Hiroshi’s eyes.

Those eyes were gleaming like ice in the sun, and Masaharu felt the frisson that came when they played.

“Would you let go all the way, Yagyuu?” he whispered. “If I asked you to?”

One of Yagyuu’s hands wove into Masaharu’s hair, tipped his head back a little.

“Yes, I think so,” his partner answered, softly. He bent his head, and his lips moved over Masaharu’s neck, warm, seeking. Masaharu shivered, leaning against Yagyuu. The touch of his lips moved up, found Masaharu’s mouth, changed.

Yagyuu’s arm locked around Masaharu, pulling his body hard against his partner’s, and Yagyuu’s mouth covered his, pressing, parting, demanding. Masaharu breathed in the weight of Yagyuu’s desire and gave it back as a low moan that Yagyuu wrapped his tongue around. He gave himself over to the crushing strength of Yagyuu’s hold and was held so tightly he barely noticed when Yagyuu lowered him to the bed.

The complete lack of hesitation in his partner’s hands, as they undid clothing washed a wave of clear, brilliant heat through Masaharu. This was what he wanted: to see Yagyuu throw away the restraints he fastened around himself. He stretched, under Yagyuu’s hands, reached up to touch, felt himself pressed down to the bed by the flash of Yagyuu’s eyes.

Yagyuu’s gaze held him in place, and he panted for breath under it, as Yagyuu’s hand closed around his cock, and Masaharu shuddered violently at the gentle stroke of powerful fingers. His partner’s skin slid against his like water against the shore, but he felt as if it was Yagyuu who was solid, and he who was fluid, melted, surging with the pull of his partner’s gravity. Masaharu let himself fall into the hot, flickering pleasure of Yagyuu’s hand on him, and Yagyuu’s kiss set the pace of it, tasting of slow, wet slides. Masaharu’s entire body flexed into it, quickly lost in the sharpness of Yagyuu’s movement, rushing, speeding heat crashing through his veins, wringing him over and over, until it slowed, collapsed into Yagyuu’s hand on him and Yagyuu’s body leaning over his, Yagyuu’s breath drowning his. Lassitude folded around him, warm with the strength of Yagyuu’s touch.

Masaharu smiled, surprised, in a somewhat lightheaded way, that Yagyuu’s passion could emerge without the danger that was its stamp at other times. A little surprised, as well, that it could thrill and please him so deeply without that edge.

Yagyuu stirred against him, and pale eyes, edge softened with satisfaction, examined him. “So?” his partner asked, pleasure and humor in his tone. Masaharu chuckled, a bit hoarsely.

“Any time you want,” he murmured.

“Danger addict,” Yagyuu accused. Masaharu blinked.

“But you’re not,” he objected. As Yagyuu’s brow tilted, he shook his head. “I know when you’re dangerous, Yagyuu. You weren’t dangerous to me just now.”

Yagyuu considered this assertion for a few breaths, and then leaned down to kiss Masaharu long and deep, pressing him down, hard, to the bed, as if to hold him still long enough to breathe him in. Masaharu took the point perfectly well.

“Are you sure?” Yagyuu asked, against Masaharu’s lips.

“What if I want you to consume me, though?” Masaharu shot back. “Like a fire.”

“Danger addict,” Yagyuu said, much more definitely this time.

“You worry too much,” Masaharu grinned. “I won’t ever lose myself in you, Yagyuu.”


A/N: Check here for one of the most comprehensive accounts of Hideyoshi I’ve found online; very evenhanded.

Last Modified: Feb 10, 12
Posted: Jun 18, 04
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  1. naanima


    I’m going to sound like I’m repeating myself. But I don’t care! I love, I love, I love this! You made the Power3 OFFICIAL! *screams* The happiness I feel is not measurable by any human means. Wahhhh. I lvoe how Yagyuu is relaxing more and more, even when it isn’t jsut him and Niou. See his sense of humour, fear his sense of humour *giggles*

    I love the two of them, but I have admit I’m equaly enjoying the team dynamic that is abound in this piece. Marui’s persinality is so fecking bright in this, Yukimura is amazing, Sanada’s presence come through, and Yanagi is in the background at all times. I SQUEEEE!

    And finally, Niou’s obsession with fire and danger, a metaphorical pyromaniac indeed. Oh, and Yagyuu letting go of his restraints *sighs happily* And the Niou’s reaction to that. The second sign of love. Niou you are so getting over your head.


    1. branchandroot Post author

      *laughs* Just for you, dear. I was considering just Yukimura/Sanada or Yukimura/Yanagi, but then I thought, you know, Naanima’s right, they just fit as a trio, and Yagyuu agreed. Not that there won’t be other avenues to explore *coughSanaKiricough*

      *snickers* I think they may start with the idea of switching, in the next part; over his head, indeed.

      1. naanima

        Oh yes, and that was the other thing I forgot. I so felt the Sanada/Kirihara vibes, which you know should ahve disturbed me, except you know, it really does make sense. Mind you, in my deluded mind, I picture the Power3 being more open about their relationship than most people. As long as they realise that the three of them are meant to be ^__^

        (thus, validating Inui/Yanagi, or Yanagi/Inui for me ^_^;;;)

        And YES! The switching begins ^__^V

        1. branchandroot Post author

          I think they would be reasonably… at ease about other liasons. I’m biased, of course. But none of them give me a particularly possessive vibe.

  2. soloproject

    Let the corruption proceed apace.

    yes, please let it.

    “Are you saying,” Yagyuu asked, after a long, contemplative pause, “that you’re a metaphorical pyromaniac?” He looked amused.

    And that is the most perfect description of Niou-mun EVER! *worships you*

    “You worry too much,” Masaharu grinned. “I won’t ever lose myself in you, Yagyuu.”

    *cocks eyebrow* Oh, really?

    The troika is being ADORABLE!!! And they are so babying Kirihara there…must not say it…must not say it…Ahhh! Power to the People!!! @____@ Yagyuu’s kiss is so *tremble*, what great decriptions, always feel very satisfied with those *nodsphilosphically* Niou’s interpretation amuses me soundly, I tend to rail like that in my PolSci class. ^_^

    Whoa…I commented right-a-way. You’d think I was stalking this fic…ok, maybe I am. XDDD

    1. branchandroot Post author

      I am cool with stalkers. ^_-

      *giggles* Of coures, Kirihara is the baby of the team. *ducks as an irate Akaya growls at her* Oh, come on, Akaya, you know you like it when they baby you. *Akaya slouches down, muttering*


  3. lady-readwolf

    {slack jawed and slightly breathless} well… hot damn! I wasn’t expecting an ending like *that*!

    [shakes head to clear it] welll… [clears throat] yes, then… errr… okay [blinks]

    first off–ha! I love the image of the four boys discussing whether or not the triad’s in ‘that’ kind of relationship, and how it would have to be all three, ’cause two alone simply don’t hold it together (and aint that the truth)

    And Kirihara’s so cute! Think he has a crush on Yukimura? now *why* would I even *suggest* a thing like that…? Hmm… Oh, but the description of Sanada…and Yuki… and Kiri… Hmmm… now *that’s* an interesting threesome idea… hmmm… what do you think, Bunny? dammit, I need to get a printer/scanner so you all could *see* the Rikkai puzzle… Kiri bent over with Yuki and Sanada behind him really *is* a nice image…

    I truly love how all the characters are interacting, though (especially Bunta, who I just simply adore right now ^.^ It’s a redhead thing, I swear), but, without a doubt… the ending scene definitely knocked me for a loop.

    While generally, you know me, I like my scenes smutty and descriptive, this was just… well, a mind fuck, really. {grins} very well done, too. And I just can hardly wait for the sixth installment, however, with my meds beginning to wear off, I think it’s about time for a nap for me… so…

    1. branchandroot Post author

      *huge grin* And now you know why all the descriptions of Yagyuu playing were so, erm, heated. To ‘Haru-chan, playing with him and going to bed with him are almost the same thing; he does it for similar reasons.

      Scanners are good. *nodnod* Poor Akaya. His massive crush on Yukimura and his growing respect for Sanada are going to tie him in huge knots very shortly.

      *pets* Have a good nap.

      1. lady-readwolf

        yeah… but! {sputters} I want more smex sooon! {whimpers}

        {turns into a snickering grin} Poor Kiri, indeed… torn and tied and possibly gagged, ne? ^.^

        Hmmm… I wonder what the chances of finding part 6 will be….

        1. branchandroot Post author

          *raises brow* The next sex will be in the middle of the angst. Are you sure?

          Part six will be up in just a few, after I spellcheck it. There will likely be a hiatus after that, though, since 7 will be terrible angst, and Mom is visiting Monday and Tuesday, and I don’t want to leave people hanging in depression-ville. It depends on how much I get written tomorrow. We’ll see.

          1. lady-readwolf

            if you can deal with me whining and complaining, I can deal with angst; and since this is Rikkai, we all mostly know you’re gonna have to hit on Yukimura’s illness and how that effects everyone, so it’s not like the majority of your readers aren’t waiting for *something* angsty… now, if/when you hit us with something angsty that *doesn’t* meet expectations, I’ll claim no responsibility, but really, when you think about it, angsty sex can be really good sex, too, and sex is sex and after finishing OZ yesterday I could *really* use someone *else’s* sex, ’cause frankly, I think my brain’s fried from writing that much smut in one piece at one time, so…

            [blinks] ‘hiatus’? huh? can’t Mom, I don’t know… respect the fact that you have people on the internet hanging off their chairs for your stories? (yeah, right… hn. [tries to picture her own mother’s reactions to that] >.<) okay, well, have a good MOnday and Tuesday, and may Sunday be extremely productive for you, ne?

  4. readx0r

    His goal was to get Yagyuu to cut off a teacher at the knees. He felt it would be a healthy step forward in his partner’s personal development.

    And it would be fun as hell to watch.


    Y’know, I have not seen one episode of the anime, and I have read only one book of the manga, and already I have fallen COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH NIOU. Not, you understand, that I think this will be some kind of huge problem. ^__________^ <333333333

    1. branchandroot Post author

      All of Rikkai are huge fun, really. We really see very little of the doubles players, which, on reflection, may be why I like them so much. I was drawn in while speculating about how they got to be like that.


  5. written-in-blue

    His goal was to get Yagyuu to cut off a teacher at the knees. He felt it would be a healthy step forward in his partner’s personal development.

    And it would be fun as hell to watch.

    The question that follows, of course, is whether he’s going to succeed, and if we get to see. [grin]

    “Would you really?” Yagyuu wondered, softly. His gaze was somehow both piercing and distant, and Masaharu heard questions behind the question. Would you really want to and Could you really handle it, among others.

    “Oh, yes,” he answered all of them, mouth curling.


    Yagyuu’s intuition was a match for anyone else’s analysis, Masaharu reflected.

    Don’t let Yanagi catch you saying that. [bouncebounce]

    Masaharu, darling, Yagyuu *is* right. You are a an adrenaline junky.