Author's Notes: Disclaimers are the same as before - this is a work of pure fiction based off the Gravitation anime and manga. In no way or form do I own these characters or am I doing an accurate portrayal of them with this fiction. The warnings remain the same as well: This fiction portrays a male/male homosexual relationship between Ryuichi and Tohma. Like all relationships, the ride is not always an easy one. Also appearing for the first time in this fiction is a darker behaving Ryuichi. I stick by my idea that Ryuichi is not an idiot and that his bouncy, hyper personality has a dark side. It shows up a little here.

track twelve

Silence settled around the room like a sullen bucket of mud after K left. The music felt limp for the first time for the day, and all that it left behind was an overwhelming urge to crawl into a corner and sleep. I didn't like the way the whole room suddenly lost its shine and went back to huddle against Touma's back, crushing Kumagorou between us. Noriko did not return to the group huddle; instead she finally dialed up her husband and informed him that she was done with the shoot and will be heading home soon.

"Well guys," she said, coming over to the two of us and kissed each of us on the cheek. "I'm off. Remember not to do anything too crazy this weekend and I'll be bright and early at the studio on Monday."

I untangled myself from Touma long enough to hug her goodbye, and then waved her out of the door. Touma gathered all our scraps of paper together in a neat pile, stuffed them into his briefcase and stood up. I watched him for a moment before he reached down to tug me to my feet, his smile looking pleasant if I didn't look at his eyes.

But of course I looked. I couldn't look away as that expression fell over his face again. But this time, I also couldn't keep my mouth shut.

"You're shutting me out again."

He stopped and looked at me, his bangs falling into his eyes. "I'm not."

"Yes you are." I stretched, feeling something in my back pop into place. "You're off somewhere else, probably with Eiri and you are not even seeing me."

"I saw you up on stage."

"But you don't see me now," I snapped, feeling the words settle on my spine. He didn't respond to that and something just twanged in my head, like a guitar string stretched too far. I did not even think as I grabbed onto the front of his shirt, leaned up and kissed him.

A hard kiss; the kind of kiss where teeth and tongues clashed, biting and grinding with little finesse and a lot of anger and regret, and left us both raw. His words were lost somewhere in my throat, his hands flailing wildly at my shoulders before they got a good grip and squeezed hard. I growled and pushed back against him and he went, hitting the door and loosing his hat with a loud bang. His hands tightened and I expected him to push me away. Instead he dragged me closer.

I could smell his cologne and his sweat and feel every inch of him pressed tight against me. I pressed my thigh against his crotch and he tried to gargle with my tongue. My fingers tore at his stage clothing finding bits of his skin and scraping my fingers against it, trying for more. Trying to mark him, trying to engrave my being into his soul, trying to make him let go of the Eiri of his past.

Or maybe I was trying to get him to recall me. At that point I had no idea except I was angry at him and at me. I wanted to kiss him, wanted to fuck him right up against the door like a common cheap lay. Maybe sour my memory so I wouldn't try to reach for him anymore.

The kiss ended as he finally pushed me away. His lips were swollen, the lower one bleeding from me biting them. His eyes were foggy and his body was trembling against mine but he tried to speak normally as he tried to push me further away.

"Ryuuichi, we can't be doing this."

"Why not? What makes you think that we have to behave and act like there is nothing going on?" I was breathless and trembling as well, but I had better control over my voice. "It took two to start this lover's dance again and yet here you are, chasing after someone that doesn't need you anymore! Let him go, Touma! Before he breaks you!"

He shook his head, closing his eyes and trying to cover his passion behind his stranger's face. But this time I could see all the flaws in it, the flush across his cheeks and the redness of his lips giving him away.

"He will," I said, my voice cracking at least. "He'll break you and never look back. Sure, he calls you when he's drunk and wants someone to spazz over him, but soon he won't need you. It's how he is. It's how he'll always be. Please, Touma. Don't. I can't watch you do this again."

"Is that what this is all about?" he said, his voice just a whisper. He raised his head and his eyes were no longer foggy; I could see the temper I had tempted by my words appear across his face. "What happened to you? I never knew you to be this selfish before."

"Maybe it's time that I am!"

Propelled by my singing voice, those words echoed in the room, bouncing and re-bouncing like a suicidal balloon. His head thunked against the door and his eyes widening, his temper changing into something else, something I couldn't read. My anger was going as well, my eyes feeling tight and my voice finally cracking from the pressure inside.

"Maybe it's time I started saying what I want," I said, resting my head against his chest. "Maybe I should beg and cry for what I want."

I felt the weight of his chin on top of my head and sucked in my breath. His hands went to my shoulders again, but this time they held me gently as if he was afraid I was going to break. And maybe I would break if he let go, if I actually said the words. We knew each other so well, from living out of each other's pockets to sharing a bed; we had been so close in those days before New York. I clung to his shirt and fought back the words and the tears and tried to recall the anger that drove me to kiss him.

All I could find were splinters that shattered even as I tried to draw them close.

"You can be so spoilt at times," he said, and I could hear a ghost of his real smile in his words. His right hand drifted into my hair, tilting my head up even as he pulled back a little. I looked up into eyes as blue and clear as the water of the ocean.

"That is not the case here," I replied, and stood up on my tip toes to kiss him again.

He didn't say a word as his mouth opened beneath mine, his arm around my shoulders tightening pulling me close. There was no anger this time, only hunger and want and need. His fingers pressed into my spine, drawing out a moan swallowed by his lips. I pressed against him, feeling him shudder. Then his hands were back on my shoulders pushing me away again.

I was so wrung out I couldn't say or think anything any more. I stared at him, feeling my heart pounding in my lips, and behind my eyes. His skin was flushed, his eyes wide, and his breathing heavy. Touma cupped my face in his left hand, his thumb rubbing over my bottom lip.

"Don't look at me like that, Ryuuichi," he said, his voice warm and sad and happy and hurting all together. "We just have to leave the studio soon. This isn't like N-G where the custodians wouldn't throw us out."

My voice was stiff and cracking when I was finally able to use it in reply. "I really do not want to be alone."

Touma nodded slowly, his hand moving down to press against my chest. I wrapped my cold fingers around his wrist, watching his expression in dread. But the stranger's face stayed away as he smiled and looked up at me. I knew if I tried to smile I would be crying instead.

"I don't think you should be left alone," he said, looking away. I blinked and chewed on my lower lip at this change. "Let's pack up and I'll take you home. You can stay in the guest room tonight."

Frowning, I pulled away and went to fetch my things. Kumagorou went on top of my head, all my crayons and snacks and extra clothing and sketchbooks went into my bag and I found a pair of sunglasses to go over my eyes. Touma used the time to straighten his clothing and hair, and was fussing with the position of his hat. Feeling like giving him some grief, I leaned over and took the hat from his hands and stuck it on top of my own head. Since the hat was also sharing space with Kumagorou, I bet it was a funny sight to someone not used to me.

Touma only sighed at the theft and opened the door, letting me go bouncing out first while he turned off the lights and closed the door. The hallways were dimly lit and I bounced down them doing a fair imitation of myself being happy even though my insides were churning and tightening.

Outside it was easier to breathe, but the tightness would not go away. I kept an eye on Touma as we got into his car and he started it up. He barely glanced at me as he concentrated on the road, and I pulled Kumagorou into my lap and started chewing on his ear in worry. I wasn't sure what was going on in his mind; I could feel him trying to distance himself again, trying to go back to his worry over Eiri.

I was right. By the time we got to his place, he had gone back to worrying over his brother-in-law. The intensity, the need from the studio didn't last at all as he let me inside and led me to the guest room. It was less of a guest room and more of a his second bedroom; even standing in the center of it I could see those tiny things that told me he spent a majority of his nights sleeping in here. I hugged Kumagorou tightly against me as he reclaimed his hat from my head and wished me goodnight.

Standing a room filled with the ghosts of the past, I felt something splinter inside of me.