Teaser: Soujirou attempts to show Aoshi how much he means to him. Major WAFF

Warning: Some shounen-ai (boy love). Much waffyness. A cutefic.

All respective rights belong to Nobuhiro Watsuki-sama.

***
Simple Affection
By April-san
***

I love you.

Those three words seemed to echo over and over in his mind.

I love you.

Spoken by the only person in the entire world he truly believed in.

I love you.

Said with such trust and conviction, the young man could not help but believe him. p

I love you.

With those words, something so deep inside sprang alive. Feelings were still so new but, instinctively, he knew the feeling.

I love you too, Shinomori-san...

And now, all that needed to be done was to tell him.

Soujirou blinked and a smile slowly crept upon his lips.

Or...show him.

***
Aoshi had openly declared his feelings to the young man and, instead of demanding an immediate response, encouraged him to think about it.

And Soujirou had. For the last three weeks, almost every waking moment the blue eyed ninja was in his thoughts. Sometimes, Aoshi even invaded his dreams.

Hiding the blush that immediately sprang onto his cheeks with a small smile, Soujirou double checked the room one last time before slipping into his yukata and crawling into his futon. He would show Aoshi how much he meant to him. Tonight.

Aoshi had left the inn shortly after they arrived to find his contacts and discover what was happening in the world. Aoshi met with them every time they entered a town with more than a dozen buildings. The tall ninja insisted on sharing Soujirou's journey, but also persisted in knowing what was happening beyond their view.

The information had actually saved them from washed out bridges, storms on the coast, and forest fires in remote areas. Aoshi was always worried about things beyond his control.

Soujirou took everything in stride. At least, until Aoshi had muttered those three words. The young man then found himself second guessing his every decision, putting thoughts of his companion before his own welfare.

I've never been loved by anyone before.

Yet, he had seen the interactions between Shishio and Yumi. He saw how their relationship had blossomed in his clueless presence, not really understanding when Yumi clung at Shishio's side. He knew Yumi loved Shishio, and he truly cared for her. But, Soujirou worriedly thought, their relationship was not really 'normal'.

Soujirou nervously glanced to the other's futon, resting only an arm's reach away, wondering if what he was about to do was appropriate.

What if he pushes me away? What if he's disgusted? I just have to steel myself. Just in case.

The shoji softly opened and Soujirou met the tall man's gaze.

"I did not mean to wake you."

A broad grin hid the nervousness he felt. "No, Shinomori-san. I was just...thinking."

Aoshi responded with a soft sound as he turned, setting his long sheath in the corner and pulling of his coat, setting it next to his weapon.

Soujirou only watched, fascinated by the other's natural grace as he moved across the room to his pack, pulling out his own sleeping garment. Aoshi hesitated and turned, meeting Soujirou's gaze a fraction of a moment before the young man buried his face into his blankets. The young man squirmed on his futon, trying to appear he was attempting to find a comfortable sleeping position. A minute later, Soujirou stole a glance up, only to see a yukata donned Aoshi looking out a partly opened screen.

"Shinomori-san?"

"There's political disruption here. It's very volatile. Especially here, in this inn. We will leave first thing in the morning."

"Aa." Why did Aoshi keep staring outside? Soujirou waited another long moment but, when Aoshi made no move for his futon, slowly crawled from his warm blankets to stand next to the ninja.

"Don't worry. I will keep watch. You should get some sleep."

Aoshi's words almost caused an irritated grumble to fall from Soujirou's lips. Almost. "Shinomori-san, can I sit with you for a little while?"

Ice blue eyes once again met his and he nodded, long bangs swinging across those eyes.

Soujirou stood close enough to the other to feel his body heat, but far enough to keep from touching. He bit his lower lip and stole another glance to his companion. "Shinomori-san?"

"Hmm?"

"Thank you for this room. It's very comfortable."

Aoshi made another half-hearted sound, his attention caught in the happenings on the darkened street below.

Soujirou moved slightly closer. "And for everything you've bought me. Thank you."

His watchful gaze did not move from the street. "We have spoken of this before. You should not feel obligated. I did it because I wanted to."

"Aa." He couldn't believe how smoothly he wrapped his arms around the other's neck, ignoring the rapid pace of his heart. A moment later, a strong arm circled his waist and gently pulled him against the solid chest. He took a soft breath, puckered his lips, and lifted his chin. To his utter disappointment, Aoshi kept his gaze outside the window, and Soujirou found in this position, he was unable to even touch the other's cheek no matter how his lips were puckered. His face twisted, as if he had just eaten something distasteful, and he relaxed against the warm figure.

He rested against Aoshi for a long moment, his calculating mind turning, the blush hidden in the darkness growing deeper. "Aoshi?"

"Hmm?"

"There...there is...something..." Something I need to show you! He took a deep breath. "There is something...in your hair."

Blue eyes finally flicked away from his watch to glance at the small face. "Oh?" Was that a tiny flicker of a smile as he turned back to the street or just a trick of the moonlight?

Soujirou released his grip around the other's neck before running one hand through the ninja's black hair. The silky strands flowed through his small hand, over and over. The gentle brushes, the soft flowing locks running like water against his skin. He stared at the silhouette of this man, breath catching as the eyes flickered to his own.

"Did you find what you were looking for?" his deep voice whispered.

His hand quickly fell and he felt the blush across his entire face. "Yes. No. I...I mean...It must have been a...reflection."

Aoshi's chest slightly shook and those icy eyes closed. "Sometimes...they trick the eyes. And the senses."

"Oh?" Soujirou nuzzled his nose against the other's chest, his hands once again clasped behind the strong neck, but not an inch closer to his face. "And, what are you feeling right now?"

Aoshi's grip around his waist loosened and Soujirou did not hesitate. He puckered his lips and lunged for the exposed cheek, only to have Aoshi's arms move to protectively encircle the young man's back. Soujirou found his lips pressed against the soft material over Aoshi's shoulder. His face still pressed against Aoshi, Soujirou let out a deep sigh, almost grinding his teeth in annoyance. Moving his head, he had a clear view of Aoshi's neck merely inches away and a broad smile appeared on his lips.

With pursed lips, he allowed a small breath to innocently escape and gently brush the older man's skin. His fingers made tiny circles in the yukata, gently massaging tight muscles underneath, patiently waiting for some reaction.

Still, those frosty eyes remained on the streetlights, on every figure that passed in the dim light. A tiny frown was between his brows, his obvious concern over any threat from beyond these walls.

He continued his ministrations until Aoshi seemed to relax under his gentle touch. With one ear pressed against Aoshi's chest, he heard his breath catch and slowly release. Finally, with a heavy heart, he stopped his touches and weakly surrendered to the frigid figure in his arms. "I...I should get some sleep."

Aoshi did not move, his arms tight against the young man's back, holding him close, his gaze still captured outside, as if he did not hear Soujirou's words.

All I wanted was to show him how much he means to me. All I wanted was to see if he truly feels the same way. He worries so much. All I wanted was to take his mind from those troubles, even for just a moment. But...

But I can't. Even for a moment, I cannot turn his thoughts. I cannot make him smile, even though he has done so much for me. If I cannot do such a small thing, then...what use am I here? He deserves someone who can break his focus, who can make him smile, who can make him believe he the center of the world. I now know that person is not me. I...I will be gone by morning. Alone.


And, with those thoughts, he felt despair wash over him, a warm tear rolled down his cheek. He could no longer look at the tall ninja, and he just waited for the arms to relax. Finally, one of Aoshi's arms fell, but, as Soujirou moved to pull away, Aoshi's other arm tightened and held him in place.

Warm fingers brushed underneath his chin and slowly raised his head. Ice blue eyes captured his reality a moment before closing the gap. Soujirou felt his eyes grow extremely large then quickly shut as a soft warmth pressed against his lips.

It was a chaste kiss, one set of lips pressed against another, but the quick rush to the ends of his body was something he had never experienced. It felt so good, Soujirou was lost in the moment. He was then distracted as Aoshi's hand began to play in his hair, running strands through his fingers.

A shout on the street below disrupted the mood, breaking the kiss as both heads turned to the noise outside, just in time to see a flash of white light and an explosion beneath the window.

Soujirou did not realize he had blinked until he felt thrown to the ground with a warm bodyweight on top of him. Aoshi's eyes were only inches away, clear worry in those blue depths.

"Are you okay?"

Those three words were spoken by two pairs of lips at the same time, causing Soujirou to smile his response and Aoshi to just nod his head.

"Gather your things," Aoshi spoke urgently as he rolled off the young man. "I will not have the police find you here." Soujirou only watched as Aoshi visibly scowled at the damage to their room from the explosion below before turning to his discarded clothing, shaking the dust from his gi.

Soujirou kept staring out the now damaged outside wall, emotions fluctuating from disappointment to rage, masked by the smile on his lips. He did not move even as police whistles came closer, the shouts of people down below, calls to see if everyone was alright. His hand rose to touch his lips, trying to engrave the feeling into his mind, trying to hold back the tears threatening to fall.

"Soujirou."

A strong hand gripped his shoulder and gently shook him.

"Are you truly okay?"

His companion's words drew him back to reality. He swallowed down his tight throat before smiling at Aoshi, finding him already changed to his dark gear. "Aa."

The back of the calloused hand brushed at Soujirou's cheek, causing the smile to fall.

"I...I just..." His gaze was caught once again by the damage to the room, and another well of frustration was stubbornly kept in check.

"Soujirou." Aoshi's whisper captured his gaze. The tall ninja's look was almost of amusement. "We will continue our discussion...tomorrow...where we left off."

The frustration fell away like a cloak and Soujirou visibly brightened. "Promise?"

Aoshi quickly turned to his pack a moment before an unmistakable chuckle could be heard, but gone as soon as he stood. "We'll talk about it later."

Soujirou scratched the back of his head and laughed, gathering his clothing in his arms, yearning for the first sign of the new day.

*Owari*

Author's notes:
Once again, thanks Akai for the corrections. Like I said, this is probably as graphic as I'm going to get with these two. I really thought I was going to get Aoi Yuki done first, but my Muse had other ideas.
Thank you XD. It was your Aoshi and Sou pic that gave the inspiration for this one (even though you'll probably never read it...Sou is naughty in here). And a huge thank you to everyone who leaves a review. More are still in the works. ^_^