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[personal profile] sarisia
This was supposed to be finished ages ago and I can't believe that it's turned out so short after all. In any case, "More Solid than Steel" is a bit of a sequel to [personal profile] oopsikilledthedinosaurs's "Tezuka is not a Robot" fic, which was faintly TezuAto (while remaining pleasantly gen), so I decided to bring Kabaji into the picture. See what turns out...

More Solid Than Steel
Rating: G
In which Atobe discovers that humans are better than robots.

Atobe wasn't sure when Kabaji became a good replacement for Tezuka. He only knew that, one time, he squeezed Kabaji's shoulder before sending him out on the courts and was suddenly on the receiving end of the other player's curious gaze.

Playing with Kabaji became a great deal like testing Tezuka. Except Kabaji responded - cautiously at first, but with increasing speed as the experiment continued. It started with only looks - Kabaji turning to wonder at Atobe for a moment or staring at the point of contact for hours afterward. Atobe felt a little smug at eliciting such genuine responses, but that was not unusual for him; he was nearly always feeling smug about something when it came down to it.

But after a week's worth of brushing shoulders and catching Kabaji's fingers with his own and cautiously sliding his toes against Kabaji's ankles, Atobe got a squeeze on his shoulder - wide fingers pressing into the slope of his collarbone, gentle and warm and entirely welcome.

Kabaji was frowning when Atobe turned around.

"Yes, Kabaji?"

Kabaji's hand squeezed again, around the slope where shoulder bent into arm. "Nothing," he said, and dropped his hand.

After that, when Atobe ruffled Kabaji's hair to wake him from a long car ride, Kabaji would catch Atobe's wrist to ward off more messing of his hair. When Atobe greeted Kabaji by tracing one nail down the length of his spine, Kabaji later made his presence known with the weight of his palm, high on Atobe's back, finger's dipping into the crease of Atobe's spine-

Stroking, Atobe noted later, after he'd spent an afternoon analyzing the action and why it had drawn a low hum from his throat without his permission.

Too late, Atobe realized that his experiment was getting out of hand and stopped touching Kabaji altogether.

Next time they saw each other, Kabaji already had his hand raised to tap Atobe's shoulder. He paused before touching, however, and Atobe couldn't help the relief that washed over him.

Finally, he thought, but did not relish the moment.

"Is something wrong, Atobe?" Kabaji asked.

"Nothing."

Except that there was; Atobe missed it. The heat, that is, because Kabaji was always exceedingly warm. Now, there was only the sense of Kabaji's approach - something Atobe'd always had - without the expected touch to follow.

It was a shame that his longing couldn't overcome his fear, but Kabaji called him on it.

Kabaji didn't say his name. Just: "You didn't stop with Tezuka," as he closed in on Atobe's personal space, invading it with his body, his heat, and his hands (hovering uncertainly over Atobe's shoulders for a moment before settling).

Atobe watched the reflection of Kabaji's face in the window as he threaded his fingers through the other boy's. When Kabaji's lips quirked upward, Atobe realized that he might not have been the only one that had missed this.
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