title: Playing, Straying, Staying
fandom: K Project
characters/pairings: Shiro/Kuroh, Neko
rating: Teen
warnings: snuggling
summary: Neko takes off, so Shiro and Kuroh have to find her.
notes: written, in part, for my trope bingo card, part of a double line, so this is curtainfic and a day at the beach.

Shiro was drifting happily between consciousness and unconsciousness. He felt warm, and protected. He turned a little bit, rubbing against the smooth skin he knew would be there. When he moved his hand, too, his fingers got tangled in inky strands of silky hair.

He opened his eyes as he tugged on that hair. As expected, Kuroh was already awake and watching him. Being watched was a bit more embarrassing that he'd thought it would be! He snuggled a bit closer to Kuroh, and pulled rather viciously on his hair. "Guten morgen, mein ritter."

"It's nearly afternoon. Lazy king," Kuroh replied, sounding a bit embarrassed.

Shiro leaned up and grinned at Kuroh. "You like that I'm lazy. It means you get to take care of me more."

"D-don't go inventing interpretations on your own!" Kuroh complained, turning slightly pink.

Cute! Shiro moved in and kissed Kuroh while he had the chance. Kuroh took to it well, though, despite their morning breath mouths. When the kiss broke off, Shiro furrowed his brow.

"Something feels... different this morning..." he mused.

"I-it's a normal biological reaction! It's not like I was thinking anything strange!" Kuroh flushed down to his neck.

"I wasn't talking about that," Shiro laughed. Though, wait... "What were you thinking about, then?" He moved his hands down below the sheets. Kuroh was...?

"S-stop! Don't touch it!" Kuroh fended him off.

"So silly. Still so prudish!" Shiro laughed. He pushed past Kuroh's hands to get a hold of... "Oh! Neko!"

Kuroh looked around quickly, utterly mortified.

"No, no, I mean, that's what's different. Doesn't Neko usually jump into bed with us by now?" Shiro frowned, craning his head, looking for a clock. Neko liked to be fed by a certain time. She didn't approve of sleeping in, though she did approve of mid-morning naps.

Kuroh lowered his eyes. "Ah. Yes, well. I. I locked the door last night..." he admitted, looking rather ashamed. "I-it's not that I... you know, particularly... I just thought... for once... it would be nice..." Kuroh couldn't look Shiro in the eye.

Shiro smiled, and kissed Kuroh's forehead. "I understand. Every now and again, it's all right, you know. To be selfish." Kuroh looked agitated at the thought of it, but that just made Shiro more amused. He wrapped his fingers around Kuroh's morning erection. "Gives us a little extra... playtime..." he huskily promised.

Kuroh turned his heated eyes to Shiro, silently pleading.

He couldn't ignore that!

It was at least an hour more before they ventured out of the bedroom. Shiro had the feeling as soon as they opened the bedroom door. This wasn't right. Kuroh headed straight for the kitchen, but Shiro frowned, looking around.

"Hey, Kuroh?"

"I'll get breakfast ready as soon as I can," Kuroh called back.

"Isn't it awfully quiet out here?" Shiro pondered.

Kuroh stepped back out into the living area. He looked around, pensive.

"Where is Neko?" Shiro asked.

"Maybe... she went out to... meet someone?" Kuroh suggested. "Like... Kukuri?"

"Kukuri would be in school," Shiro pointed out. No, this was definitely wrong. "I wonder where she went?"

All the color drained from Kuroh's face.

Spinning his parasol over his shoulder, Shiro looked out over the water. "So, Neko has been here before?"

Kuroh looked over his shoulder and gave Shiro that look. He'd been giving Shiro that look for the better part of the last hour. Since their search for Neko had been thus far fruitless, Kuroh started to take Shiro to places that Neko took him while they had been searching for Shiro while he was... gone. Apparently, Neko knew of quite a few good places to find food and shelter easily. That, and Shiro's vague feeling that this was the right direction, had led them out this way.

To the beach.

It was actually a beautiful day to be out in the sun, shopping with the tourists and taking in the sounds and sights of the sea. Kuroh didn't seem to appreciate it, but Shiro was glad they were doing this together. It was fun!

"She... said she liked this place. People were always leaving food around, and there were plenty of comfortable places to sleep," Kuroh confirmed grudgingly, and then he continued his search.

Shiro smiled benignly, spinning the parasol, spinning, spinning. "You do realize... how pointless it is to search for someone who can cast illusions to hide themselves, right?" Shiro asked idly, looking around.

"I already know that!" Kuroh blew up at him. Shiro had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. "But we can't not look!"

Shiro turned his face away, feeling guilty. Kuroh was worried that Neko was in trouble because she was hurt by something he did. He'd never admit it, but he and she were awfully close, weren't they? That was good, though! Since they were fellow clansmen.


Shiro became interested in a shop a few doors down on the boardwalk. He went over to the window, standing there for a minute smiling. Kuroh finally came next to him, huffing.

"We should keep moving. There's a takoyaki booth near the beach that..."

"Let's go in here. There's something I want." Shiro smiled at Kuroh to stem off his complaints. Kuroh got red in the face, barely able to hold back his frustrations at his whimsical king, but unwilling to be stern with him, either. That made Shiro smile even brighter, to Kuroh's detriment. "Just for a moment. Come on, come on!" Shiro closed his parasol and stepped inside the shop.

There were all sorts of handmade ceramics and pottery inside. Shiro ambled through the displays, partially just because it was enjoyable in a way he hadn't considered, and partially because it was infuriating Kuroh so much. Judging that Kuroh was getting close to his boiling point, though, he headed for his objective. There was a display of handpainted bowls and dinnerware. There was a pile with a cat face on the rim, a pile for dog bowls, and also mice, foxes, frogs, fish, and rabbits. Shiro picked up a cat bowl, and grinned.

"Don't you think Neko would like this?"

Kuroh frowned, looking conflicted. "We're... supposed to be looking for her... She's already been gone for so long... we don't have time to shop..."

"But, when we find her, shouldn't we have a nice gift for her? Plus, she still complains that she misses the bowl she used when I was in school. And..." Shiro picked up the dog bowl, and grinned at Kuroh. The dog was black, which was perfect. "With these, we can have a full set!"

"And I suppose you'd be the tricky fox?" Kuroh sighed, resigning himself.

Shiro handed Kuroh the bowls he'd already picked out. "No, no, the mouse! Look, the mouse is white! See, see?" He beamed at Kuroh, who was looking away to maintain his annoyance. So cute! Shiro picked out a plate and a cup from each set, too, making Kuroh carry it all. And then, just because Kuroh was being cute, he found placemats that matched, and a cute apron with puppies on it for Kuroh. Shiro was sure that Kuroh had completely given up on him, but then Kuroh made him wait while he picked out chopsticks for all of them. By the time they were done, their bag was very full and Kuroh had to carry it.

When they stepped out of the store, Shiro looked around a few times, and then smiled.

"Unbelievable! Now I have to carry all this, and we still have no idea where Neko is..." Kuroh fumed, though he'd long past lost his fire.

"Why don't you go home?" Shiro suggested.

"Eh?" Kuroh stepped back, aghast.

Shiro grinned. "You go on home! Ah, you should make that super spicy double-meat curry that she likes so much for dinner! Then when she comes home, she'll totally forget about how insensitively you locked her out." He made sure to smile extra brightly for the last bit.

Kuroh looked stricken and horrified at the same time. "What... what about you?"

"Mm, I'll keep looking for her. It'll be easier for me, after all," he suggested.

"No way! I'm not leaving you out here alone!" Kuroh objected.

"Oy, oy. I'm not a child," Shiro complained, pouting cutely. "I can take care of myself. I'm actually a King, you know. If I can survive the Red..."

"Don't make jokes!" Kuroh warned him, looking pale.

Shiro felt sorry for him. "I know. Sorry. But look... I don't mean to say this, but... I don't think she'll ever show herself... while you're around. Trust me to handle this, ok? You go on home and start cooking. Hey." He reached out and squeezed Kuroh's wrist comfortingly. "I promise. I'll be home before you're done cooking, and I'll have Neko with me. Ok?"

Kuroh's eyes were uncertain, but he finally sighed, and let his shoulders slump. "Are you... ordering me?" he asked, defeated, his eyes downcast.

"Do I have to?" Shiro laughed. Kuroh was so formal! It wasn't like that between them!

Kuroh gave up. "Fine. But you made a promise. Before I'm done cooking. You promised."

"I promised," Shiro agreed, wishing...

Well, it wasn't like they could kiss right there on the boardwalk, could they?

He watched Kuroh trudge off toward the station. Shiro opened his parasol, and sat down on a bench nearby. After a few moments of just enjoying the sun and the atmosphere, he turned his head a little bit, and asked quietly, "He's gone, so it's ok for you to show yourself, right?"

Neko yelped, and then revealed herself. To Shiro only, hopefully, since she was, not unexpectedly, naked. Shiro sighed, and kept his eyes averted. "Shiro knew I was here?"

"I have to keep reminding you both, but I am your King. You can't hide from me, now, can you?" he smiled brightly at her.

Neko's head drooped lower and lower. "Neko is... sorry for running away..." she said quietly, haltingly.

"It's all right. But please, forgive Kuroh for locking the door. He wasn't trying to hurt you, promise," Shiro said softly.

Neko huffed, and scooted a bit closer to Shiro. "Not mad at him. Not really. It's not like that. Just... mm... jea... lous... I guess..." Neko fussed and squirmed.

Shiro put his arm around her. "I know you want to be able to sleep in bed with us," Shiro began. He really didn't know how to finish, though.

"Shiro prefers Kurosuke," Neko sighed.

"That's not true," Shiro shook his head.

"Yes, it is," Neko looked away. "Shiro likes to do things with Kurosuke that he doesn't want to do with Neko."

"Well, that's..." Shiro flushed. "That's a separate thing from preferring, er, really. That is to say, I like you both, you know!"

"Yeah," Neko sighed. "But Shiro is gay."

Shiro flinched. "How is it that you don't understand the need for clothes but you know that word?" he sighed.

"It's true, isn't it?" Neko clung to Shiro's shirt and shook him.

Shiro sighed. "I... I... yes, well... that's... Take some pity on an old man! I've been this way my whole life but I've never had to say it out loud!"

"It's not that Neko wants to do that stuff with Shiro. But Shiro is the most important person ever to Neko. When the door wouldn't budge, it was just... sad," Neko sighed, her lower lip trembling a bit.

Shiro smiled, and scooted closer to Neko, cuddling her closely. He kissed her forehead. "I'm sorry that you felt so sad. I never wanted you to feel that way. I know it may seem like Kuroh is more important to me, or something like that. But it's just... different. You know, in all my long life, I never once considered taking on anyone as a clansman. Not only did I never think of it as necessary, but I never even wanted to.

"Not only are you the first Silver clansman, but you're also the person who made me Isana Yashiro. If it hadn't been for you... well, first of all, I'd probably never have recovered my memories in time not to be killed. I'd never have gotten to be a student at Ashinaka High School, and met Kukuri, and Mishina, and all the others. I would never have gotten to be a carefree high school kid who enjoyed the generosity of his fellow students, and got to have lunch on the roof with his kitty. You are, and always will be, more special to me than I can ever tell you. And I'll always be grateful to you, Neko."

She blushed all the way to her ears, and buried her face in Shiro's chest. Feeling encouraged, Shiro rubbed her shoulders.

"I had a sister once. Well, you know... before," he began.

"Does Neko remind you of her?" she asked, sounding hopeful.

Shiro smiled. "Not a bit!" he laughed off Neko's disappointment. "She was loud, and she bullied me, and would pinch me mercilessly to punish me!" he squeezed Neko's shoulder. "And she made blintzes when we were working late in the night on a project. They were really delicious! And she was really beautiful. And funny. And strong. Just like you." He kissed her forehead again, and she blushed cutely. "If she were..." he choked up a bit, so he started over. "If she were still alive, she'd love you. As much as I do." Neko straightened up and beamed. "Of course, she'd make you wear clothes," he laughed, and Neko pouted. "You wouldn't be able to refuse her! No one could ever refuse Claudia," he sighed wistfully, looking up at his parasol. "She'd have so much fun making you wear all kinds of pretty dresses, and brushing your hair, and buying your jewelry, and playing with you.

"Claudia used to tease me that she'd always wanted a little sister, and not a little brother. If she were still alive... she'd have a little sister." He smiled foolishly at Neko.

"Big sis... would like Neko?" she asked shyly.

"Of course!" Shiro replied.

"Neko feels the same way. That Shiro is... Neko's big brother," she replied shyly, putting her chin on his chest.

Big brother. Shiro actually blushed a bit, too. "That sounds... really good, doesn't it?" he laughed.

"It does!" she agreed exuberantly.

"I got the bowls you were looking at in the window," Shiro told Neko. She blushed, but she was smiling.

"The dog and the mouse and the kitty, right?" she asked, even though she already knew.

"That's our family," Shiro nodded.

Neko beamed at him.

"I suppose we should get back to Kuroh, then, huh?" Shiro winked at her.

"Shiro promised him!" Neko nodded.

"Though... curry takes a long time to cook. Kuroh told me that this was one of your favorite places. Want to show me around the beach some?" he offered.

Neko jumped up, and Shiro averted his eyes. "Yes, yes! Let Neko show you! There's this reallllly pretty place where the water swirls around the rocks! And little fishes swim there!" she declared, pulling on Shiro's arm.

"I'm coming, I'm coming!" Shiro laughed. He figured they had at least an hour to play on the beach before Kuroh would be too anxious.

Kuroh was waiting for them right inside the door, his arms crossed over his chest. He glared forcefully at Shiro. "I finished cooking five minutes ago!"

Shiro balefully looked back at Kuroh. "I have to admit, I have no idea how long it takes to make curry."

Annoyed, Kuroh stepped aside of Shiro and looked at Neko. "Welcome home. I'm... I'm sorry I locked the door. I was really worried about you."

Neko blushed, and smiled cutely at Kuroh. "You should have been! It's ok. Dinner smells yummy!"

"Neko, just so you know..." Kuroh began, looking sheepish. Neko was already heading for the food, but she spun around and stuck her finger in Kuroh's face, causing him to shut his mouth and look at her, shocked.

"Kurosuke needs to understand! Neko is the little sister! Kurosuke is just the boyfriend! Got it? Neko is family and Kurosuke is the boyfriend. That's it!" she declared, looking as pleased as she could be with herself.

Kuroh blinked several times, and then turned red. "Well, I... I... I know that! But it's not...!"

Smugly, Neko turned on her heel and headed for the kitchen. Amused, Shiro followed after her.

"My big brother got me a kitty bowl! It's time for kitty bowl! And double meat!" Neko happily declared, throwing her arms up. Shiro smiled and shrugged his shoulders apologetically to Kuroh.

"P-put on a shirt to eat dinner!" Kuroh complained. Neko whined, but he continued on, his face bright red. "And I'm not... I'm not just the boyfriend... really... it's more like... little sister, big brother, and... and... brother... in law... right?" Kuroh was furiously staring at his feet.

Shiro felt like his chest was expanding. "That's right! Kuroh is my little wife," he sighed happily.

"Don't use that word," Kuroh growled menacingly.

"Curry!" Neko happily bounced, filling up her bowl.

"I said, you have to wear a shirt to eat!" Kuroh commanded, pulling out Ichigen-sama's voice recorder to back him up. Kuroh's dead master dulcetly intoned, "A family dines, the sustenance for life, greater than any honor." Kuroh nodded proudly.

"Creepy," Shiro muttered under his breath.

Neko was already digging in, ignoring them both.