A/N: I'm really not sure about Koteshi's name, but when gingaktb first requested this fic, she referred to him as Koteshi, which I seem to recall as being what Tsunade called him in the scanslations I've been reading. But when I looked him up online, I got Kotetsu. ^_^;; I basically did the mental equivalent of flipping a coin and decided to call him Koteshi, if only because the fic was written for the pleasure of gingaktb, who called him that in her original request. Whatever his name actually is, I assume it's just a difference of or mistake in translation- like the Genma/Gemma thing.

And for those who don't know (because really, these two are not high-profile guys), Izumo and Koteshi are the examiners who pull that unofficial first test before the chuunin exam and find Sakura-chan after Sasuke knocks her out. They always seem to show up together and are usually standing right on the edge of each other's personal space. X3 I had to fudge a bit on their personalities and backstories, though, since they've only shown up a couple of times so far. Some of it I based off what they seemed like from their dress and posture, but a lot I just pulled out of my ass. *guilty grin* Most likely, they'll never become detailed enough for this to matter anyway.

. . . yeah. Like any of you read all that. Anyway, SHOUNEN AI. That should catch your attention, ne? ^_^

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"Reasons Not To Go To Sleep"

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Koteshi's hair is even more of a mess than usual and he is sprawled over his bed like a gangly starfish. Izumo is watching him from the kitchenette through his own hair, already on the morning's third cup of coffee. He needs to get off the stuff, but sometimes he feels like he can't keep up with Koteshi without it. Even right now, he's very tired. He didn't sleep a wink all night.

The thing about Koteshi is that he can sleep anywhere and anywhen. His bed, Izumo's bed, the floor, the kitchen table- he's fine where and whenever. The thing about Izumo is that he's an insomniac. He can't sleep no matter what he does. He can get home from a six-week mission, give a three-hour report, and spend the rest of the day running after Koteshi, and he still won't be able to drift off after. It's extremely irritating, but he simply can't get his mind to shut up for long enough.

The only time that Izumo ever remembers falling asleep easily is the first night he slept in the same room as Koteshi. He was absolutely content for the first time in his life and simply curled into the bed and felt totally okay. Before he knew what was happening, he was out.

Koteshi told him the next morning, teasingly, that he looked kinda cute while he slept.

Izumo was never able to sleep again.

He knows it's stupid, but he cannot regain that sense of peace and safety any longer. He can't let himself relax because he's afraid of what will happen to Koteshi. That he will disappear, or just go away.

That's why they're always together. That's why Izumo never sleeps.

Because he's scared that Koteshi will die or get lost or be stolen or just finally recognize him for the clingy, needy bastard that he is and leave him. Because he's scared that he'll have to go back to his old life again.

The problem with Izumo's old life is that he doesn't remember anything about it. Oh, he knows, on a practical level, that he must have had some kind of parental figures or at least a guardian at some point, but he doesn't recall them at all beyond a vague impression. He isn't sure what happened to him- whether he was hit on the head or with some repression jutsu, or whether he's the one doing the repressing himself. He's never asked anyone about it or even looked at his own files, though he's had more than enough opportunity to do both.

Izumo has this funny feeling that whatever he's forgotten doesn't really want to be remembered.

He leaves it alone, just in case he's right.

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Koteshi wakes up slowly. The first thing he sees is, as usual, Izumo in the kitchenette, doing paperwork on the counter and drinking coffee. He doesn't feel anything upon noticing this besides normal.

Koteshi likes to be with Izumo. He gets the feeling that if they ever WERE separated, they'd spend the whole time looking for each other anyway. And he kind of likes always having someone around to bail him out or bounce ideas off of. He can't even remember the last time they were more than a few meters apart. Even when one of them is in the bathroom or the shower, the other tends to gravitate towards that room.

Their apartment is a loft, so as far as "rooms" go, there is only the first floor, where they keep the kitchen and the living area and the second, where they both sleep. Then there's a closet upstairs and a bathroom downstairs, and that's really everything. You can see every area from almost every angle, and they are constantly in each other's line of sight, which is the unspoken reason as to why they chose this apartment in the first place. The only time they CAN'T both see each other is when one of them is in the bathroom.

When Izumo takes his showers, Koteshi usually ends up pressed against the door, waiting for him. Izumo is subtler, but he still has a habit of doing his paperwork in the closest chair whenever Koteshi is taking his.

This wouldn't necessarily mean anything to most people, but Koteshi knows that Izumo has never liked that chair. It's squishy and overstuffed and covered in cushions. Koteshi likes to sink into it bonelessly, like jelly into a jar, but Izumo can never get comfortable in it. He prefers straight-backed chairs with wicker seats.

They're always quick in the bathroom. It's kind of a rule.

Izumo broke it once, and when Koteshi couldn't have waited another second without going insane, he barged in and caught him in a rather compromising position.

After that, the bathroom door just stayed open all the time and they stopped dealing with their hormones. It was easier to just suppress it. Izumo, probably, can deal with it at night if he really needs to, but Koteshi can't remember the last time Izumo fell asleep before him.

Actually, he can't even remember the last time he saw Izumo asleep. Once, maybe, when they were still genin- or maybe back in the academy.

For some reason, he has this image of the current Izumo in repose in his head, but it's nothing he's ever seen. He likes to think about it, though. Izumo always seems a little tired. It would be nice to see him sleeping a little more.

Izumo seems to have finished the form he was filling out. Koteshi takes this as a sign to get out of bed.

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"'zumo," Koteshi calls drowsily from upstairs. "You're up already?"

"Yes," Izumo answers unnecessarily. He is the sort of person who does things like that. Koteshi's used to it.

"Idiot," Koteshi mutters. "You don't sleep enough." Izumo doesn't say anything. Koteshi's a little too good at figuring out when he's lying. It's easier to stay quiet.

Of course, Koteshi knows that he knows this.

"Izumo, when did you go to bed last night?" he asks with a frown.

Izumo's silence is, as always, answer enough.

Koteshi grimaces and jumps off the loft, completely forgoing the stairs. He lands on the kitchen table, sending all of Izumo's papers flying and knocking Izumo himself neatly off his chair. Izumo still doesn't say anything. Someone else might be angry, but he can never be angry with Koteshi. You can't live with a person for the entire duration of your remembered life and get upset with them so easily.

Well, actually you can, but Izumo has always been too worried that Koteshi would leave if he ever did such a thing. If you spend so much time with someone and care so much for them, losing them is something you would do anything to avoid. Keeping his temper was hardly a challenge considering the alternative.

"You're so stupid," Koteshi grumbles. Izumo only get to his feet, shrugging listlessly.

Koteshi grabs him by the arm and drags him back upstairs, grumbling all the way. Izumo follows, because why wouldn't he? Koteshi pushes him down on his own bed and gives him a look that very clearly says, "stay." Then he returns to the kitchen and scribbles something on a piece of scrap paper, throwing it and all of Izumo's forms in a manilla envelope and tying it off neatly. He goes to the window and yanks it open, leaning much- too-far out of it and scanning the street below.

Bingo.

"Oi, kid!" he yells, waving at a vaguely familiar and unoccupied- looking genin. "Drop this off at the Hokage's office. Tell 'em it's Izumo's work." Then he drops the envelope right on his poor victim's head and flashes her a grin before vanishing inside again.

As Inner Sakura curses up a storm in the street, Koteshi returns to the top floor and his bed, giving Izumo a dubious look.

"You didn't have to call in sick for us," Izumo says with a sigh. Koteshi rolls his eyes.

"You," he says firmly, "are going to sleep." Izumo gives him a blank look. He's kidding, right? Except he knows Koteshi too well to think that.

"I'm not tired," he lies, and Koteshi sees through it immediately.

"I am going to make you sleep for at least once in your life if I have to hold you down!" Koteshi declares stubbornly.

Izumo just sighs and gets back to his feet. "Koteshi, knock it off. We have to get to work or we'll be-"

Warm.

Heavy. Warm.

"Koteshi . . . ?" Izumo asks blankly, staring up at the ceiling in confusion. When did he end up on his back?

"You are going to sleep," Koteshi repeats calmly, pressing his body down on Izumo's a little more firmly. "I'm not moving until you do." Izumo blinks up at the ceiling, not speaking.

He already knows that he isn't going to be able to sleep, but it's not at all for the same reasons as usual.

Warm . . .

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* ende *

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. : insomnia's a bitch : .