Zen and the Art of Connection
by Rana Eros

Written for Stages of Love, using the theme of the five Feng Shui elements. Betaed by Eliza, and I can't be sure it's kyudo that Terazuma practices, but my impression is that it is. Titles taken from the English translations for kyudo terminology.

Becomes the Target

Terazuma's used to having the range to himself, which is why the Kurosaki kid startled him that first evening. Practicing together took some getting used to, but the end result was worth it, he grudgingly admits. He's glad things will go back to normal now, though. He tells himself he's glad.

Except there's a light on at the range. When he rounds the screen, Kurosaki is there, drawing the string back and releasing it seamlessly. He glances at Terazuma, backlit by torches, then resumes his practice.

Silent, Terazuma moves beside him, raises his own bow. This can be normal too.

Correct Shooting Is Correct Hitting

Terazuma hears about the fire from Wakaba, who doubtless got it from Watari. Wakaba, of course, is focused on baking a pie for "poor Tsuzuki." Terazuma bites back his reaction to that, it would only upset Wakaba. Instead, he thinks of Tsuzuki's partner, who will probably miss bow practice for a while.

He's still thinking when Wakaba drags him down to Chijou for apples for the pie. There's a bookstore across from the grocery. He wanders in, stares at the shelves, realizes he has no idea what Kurosaki would like.

The disappointment's sharper than he expects.

He'll ask the Gushoushin.

Placing the Footing

Kurosaki's back in the office before he's on the range again, but Terazuma waits. He's not one for social niceties, but he doesn't want Kurosaki's partner gawping at him when he gives Kurosaki the book. He'd have to punch the guy, which would kind of ruin the gesture.

Even so, he's not exactly graceful about it, thrusting the book at Kurosaki when he's returned to bow practice.

"Welcome back."

"Oh." Kurosaki blinks. "Thank you."

Kurosaki looks as awkward as Terazuma feels, which is oddly reassuring. He decides to re-establish routine.

"You need practice."

Kurosaki almost smiles. "It's why I'm here."

The Full Draw

Terazuma holds the sword awkwardly, and Wakaba may be onto something with her comments on his competitive nature. Still, if the kid can do both, he should be able to do both. Theoretically.

Kurosaki shows him the right way by holding his own sword with perfect balance, silently; the kid knows him that well. Kurosaki moves, and he tries to follow along, but he keeps getting distracted by light reflecting on the blade, in Kurosaki's green eyes.

His eyes gave Kurosaki pause, he remembers. He doesn't have that effect anymore.

Kurosaki watches him watching. He has a different effect now.

The Continuation of the Shot

They eat lunch together when possible, on the side of the office with the koi pond, Terazuma smoking and Kurosaki reading beside him. The kid goes through books fast; Terazuma makes a note to get more recommendations from the Gushoushin.

"You'd like this one," Kurosaki says suddenly. "It's about a private investigator in America around the time you were alive."

"Yeah? Maybe I could borrow it." Terazuma inhales, says casually, "Or you could read it to me."

Kurosaki shrugs. "I wouldn't mind starting over."

Terazuma sprawls on the bench, legs brushing Kurosaki's. "All right."

Kurosaki's voice lulls him like nicotine.


Yami no Matsuei
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