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Red Ribbon

Chapter 1: Red Ribbon

by isilelensar

As a penalty for losing a bet, Kuroo and Tsuki had to dress up as opposites for the costume party. They could be as creative as they wanted, but it had to be opposite the other. It wasn't as easy as one would think, and after much deliberation, they settled on opposing colors.

They carefully selected their clothing, picking out pieces that matched in cut and fit. They bought a few accessories, as well: two gold chains with a cat and moon pendant, and fake gold earrings. Tsuki thought of a plot twist, and Kuroo was all over it. This was going to be fun!

They had a plan, and couldn't wait for the party. However, a few days before, they were told it was postponed. The host had the flu, so now they had to wait. Of course, this meant they had more time to embellish their plans, too. Which also meant more shopping.

Luckily, Kuroo had a few lady friends who could help them out. Finding the footwear was easy, but not so easy was trying to walk in those shoes. It didn't take long to learn, though. Also, they decided to... enhance their looks. The ladies helped them with that as well.

"Do you want us to come over and help the night of the party?" the ladies offered, excited to see the full effect of their costumes.
"Thanks, but we got this," Kuroo replied.
"But we'll take as many pictures as we can and send them to you," Tsuki added.
"Please do!"

Finally, word got to them that the party was back on. The only problem now was that it would be on Kuroo's birthday. Tsuki hastily scrambled to rearrange his own plans for his boyfriend's birthday, and quietly went about getting both plans to mesh well together.

Several hours before the party started, Tsuki gave Kuroo part of his birthday present: a steak dinner and a bouquet of huge chocolate covered strawberries. Surprised, but not to be outdone, Kuroo pulled Tsuki into his lap. They took a little too much time feeding each other.

They had less time to prepare for the party, but they had lots of practice backing them up. They'd be on time, or just slightly late. The latter would work more in their favor, so they didn't rush. Of course, helping each other was also a disadvantage, but neither of them cared.

They took turns dressing each other, making sure everything looked good. Then, they helped each other with their hair styles. Tsuki was wrestling Kuroo's hair into submission, trying to get it to stay down. Kuroo, practically purring, noticed a length of red ribbon on the vanity.

He picked it up, letting it dangle through his fingers, and caught Tsuki's eyes in the mirror. He didn't say a word, just lifted an elegant eyebrow. Tsuki tried to act like it was nothing and shrugged, but he was horrible at acting. He already met his quota for surprises, anyway.

"Later," was all he said, and refused to elaborate. Kuroo squinted at him, but left it alone. For now. They switched places again, putting the finishing touches on their look. Once they were fully satisfied, they took pictures and sent them, as had been requested of them.

At the party, they entered as they had planned: together, matching stride for stride. Because they arrived a bit later, they had the satisfaction of drawing everyone's full attention. Kuroo soaked it up, but held Tsuki's hand. His love was really just doing this for him, after all.

Kuroo was dressed in a white silk dress shirt and pants. His shirt was left open, allowing everyone to see his tanned torso. The gold necklace and earrings sparkled even in the ambient light. He even went so far as to wear light makeup and white nail polish. No one could so much as look away.

Tsuki, in direct opposition, wore the exact same outfit, but in black. He wasn't wearing his glasses, choosing to wear contacts for the night. His shirt stayed buttoned, save for a few at the top, and in addition to his make up, he wore a beauty mark just under his right eye.

What completed the look, and garnered the most stares, was the fact that they both wore 5-inch stilettos, making them tower over everyone more so than they usually did. And they walked flawlessly, without a single stumble or wobble.

Penalty successfully completed.

~*~*~

The party was winding down. It wasn't typical of them to stay so late, but it wasn't unusual, either. That is to say, at some parties they were among those who left early. Some parties, they were among the few leaving last.

They were both buzzed after consuming a few cups of spiked punch. Tsuki had managed to talk Kuroo into drinking non-alcoholic beverages for the rest of the night. It would throw his plans in chaos if Kuroo was drunk off his ass. As it stood, being buzzed might also be problematic.

While Kuroo was chatting with friends, Tsuki went to the restroom. Reaching into his pocket, he slowly withdrew the red ribbon from earlier, tying it around his neck, with a little bow just off-center. The red choker was set off by his black shirt. It was perfect.

Taking a deep breath, he left the restroom, to put the rest of his plan in motion. He weaved around those who were still here, and made his way to the middle of the room. Slowly he turned, until his eyes met and held Kuroo's. He said nothing. He didn't have to. Kuroo came to him.

"You're wearing the ribbon," Kuroo said, his voice low and rusty, sending a shiver through Tsuki.
"I am," he replied simply.
"Is this part of my birthday present?" He toyed with the little bow.
"Yes."
"Are you only going to answer me with one word?"
Tsuki shrugged. "Maybe." He smirked.
"Tease."
"Perhaps."

The DJ had been playing techno dance music non-stop all night long. But suddenly, the music faded down to nothing, as if he was paying more attention to the pair in the center of the room than he was to his playlist. Maybe he was; so was everyone else.

They had an audience.

"Dance with me," he whispered before he totally lost his nerve. "Pretend the world doesn't exist."
"I don't have to pretend," Kuroo replied, wrapping his hands around Tsuki's waist, pulling him close until nothing was between them.
Tsuki could feel Kuroo's heart beating, racing in time with his own.

They started swaying in silence, heads resting on each other's shoulders, arms wrapped around each other, eyes closed. The DJ faded in some music, slow and almost dreamlike, which further set the mood. No one moved; no one joined them. By some unspoken command, the two were left to dance alone.

"I don't have to pretend," Kuroo repeated softly in Tsuki's ear. "But I have to object to that part about the world not existing."
"What do you mean?"
Kuroo leaned back in order to look deep into Tsuki's eyes, which fairly shimmered with the words he couldn't say.

Kuroo understood. He always did. He had been the only other one to see through the salty exterior to find Tsuki's true self. And he held it close, protected it, loved it unconditionally. Once Tsuki understood that Kuroo was serious, he fell in love so hard. There was no going back.

"Asking me to pretend the world doesn't exist is like asking me to pretend you don't exist." He stared deep into Tsuki's eyes, his hands had traveled up to frame his face. Tsuki was having a hard time seeing through the tears he hadn't let fall. Futile effort; they fell anyway.

"You are my world, Kei Tsukishima. You always have been, and always will be." He carefully wiped the tears away, though they still made a mess of his makeup. "Come on," he said as he took off his shirt and threw it over both their heads. "Let's go home."

*sometime later*

They lay tangled up with each other, their clothes left in a haphazard trail from the front door to their bedroom. Some of the bedding was on the floor; they'd barely made it to the bed. The two of them were covered with a single sheet, and silver moonlight.

Kuroo had thrown an arm over his eyes. His hand had curled into a fist, and it was shaking slightly. Aftershocks, he called it once. After tonight, Tsuki knew exactly what he meant. He'd collapsed to the bed, and Kuroo managed to land just beside him, so he wouldn't be crushed.

Once he was able to move, he turned so that he faced his lover. Kuroo was watching him now, concern in his eyes and on his face. With a fingertip, Tsuki reached up and drew a little heart on his cheek, then another on his collarbone over the mark he'd left, and finally one right above Kuroo's heart.

"I'm fine," he assured Kuroo. "Better now, actually," he quipped with a grin. When the concern faded somewhat, he continued to speak. "Aside from the red ribbon and dancing with you, none of what I planned happened."
"What do you mean?"
Tsuki shrugged. "I wanted to be like you."
"Broken record speaking: what do you mean?" he asked again, a slight grin on his face.
"I wanted to be the one with the magnetic personality," Tsuki tried to explain. "You're popular, can handle crowds, and can convince people to see your way of things without trying too hard."

As he spoke, Kuroo slowly rose up and braced himself on one arm, and the grin faded. He reached out with the other, caressing Tsuki's face until he stopped at his lips. Using his thumb, he gently pressed on them, effectively silencing his love. What Tsuki said hit him hard; he hadn't known this.

For once, Kuroo wasn't sure what he could say to fix it. He could easily stay silent, but what good would that do? No, he had to somehow find the words to comfort Tsuki, but also express how he felt, too. The wheels spun in his mind, but overall, he could only think of one thing.

"You're my lodestone." He saw the exact moment when Tsuki understood what he meant. "The moment I first saw you, I was yours, heart and soul. Popularity is superficial. Crowds be damned; you're the only one I want around me. That's how it would be, if I truly had my way."

Tsuki kissed his thumb, and damn if it didn't make him hot all over again. He was leaning in for a kiss when Tsuki spoke.
"I love you, Tetsuro."
Stunned, he said the first thing that came to mind.
"Again."
"I love..."
"I love you, too. Say my name again, please?"
"Tetsuro."

Nothing stopped him from kissing Kei this time. It was wild, deep, and a little rough. Kei gave as good as he got, if not more so. Throughout the night, the only words uttered were their names, in many tones and volumes.

Nothing else mattered.
They were the world to each other.