Author: Hawk Clowd
Disclaimer: so far as I know, I own nothing. Gravitation belongs to Maki Murakami and I wouldn't take it away from her for anything in the world. I just like to play.
Blood Type: I don't care... Something flammable, like hairspray. Simply because you could light a match and Ryuichi would be on fire.
Warnings: very few. Yaoi, which is a fairly obvious one, considering the fandom, random smut, and possible angst.
Author's Notes: Well, this is it! (Finally!) Now I can work on other things... Yay!
Tatsuha woke up for the final time that day a little past seven o'clock--after his second fateful meeting with Sakuma Ryuichi--to the sound of Shuichi's alarm clock buzzing loudly in the master bedroom. Tatsuha grimaced, grateful, at least, that it was in the other room--at the beginning of the summer, Shuichi had forgotten to move the clock from its normal place next to the couch and the alarm had blasted right into Tatsuha's ear. After moving it into the master bedroom, Tatsuha had told Eiri just how sad it was that the writer still made Shuichi sleep on the couch when the two of them didn't have any guests, but Eiri had just shrugged. Typical.
Tatsuha turned his ear toward the master bedroom. The alarm continued to blast for a few moments before there was a crash (Eiri smashing the thing with whatever heavy object he could find, usually a book), a thump (Eiri pushing Shuichi out of the bed), and a muffled cry of indignation (Shuichi). Tatsuha yawned, burrowing back into his cocoon of blankets, and smiled just slightly. Mornings in Eiri's apartment, although deliciously predictable, were never dull.
It wasn't too long before Shuichi, sleep tumbled and grumbling, threw open the bedroom door and stalked out, dressed in a worn, old robe and whatever pajamas he'd thrown on the night before (assuming he was wearing pajamas, of course. It was sometimes a little hard to tell with Shuichi). Tatsuha didn't bother to actually look over, but he knew that if he peeked in through the still-open door to the bedroom, he would see Eiri laying on his stomach, trying to suffocate himself with a pillow. The writer would eventually get up, shower, and dress, but it would take him at least half an hour to do so.
Shuichi, rubbing sleep from his eyes, flipped the kitchen light on. The light leaked into the living room, where Tatsuha was still trying to sleep, and Tatsuha groaned loudly.
Shuichi laughed. "G'morning, Tatsuha," he called from the kitchen.
Tatsuha hissed in response, burying his face deeper into the couch.
The singer laughed again, his early morning grogginess wearing off quickly, as usual. "Don't give me that," he scolded good-naturedly. "You've gotta get up, too! You're supposed to be at the train station by ten so that you can get back to Kyoto a little after noon, but you haven't done any packing or anything! Get up, sleepy head."
"Not gonna," Tatsuha mumbled.
Shuichi shrugged. "Okay." That said, he started bustling around the kitchen, fixing himself some cereal and starting the day's coffee.
Tatsuha would have made fun of Shuichi, had he been sentient enough to connect his thoughts. It didn't take a lot to twist that singer's arm, did it?
Shuichi hummed loudly while he ate his cereal, successfully keeping Tatsuha from falling back to asleep. Tatsuha groaned silently; this was not fair! He'd managed to get a grand total of three hours sleep, and here was Shuichi, well rested and cheerful so early in the morning! At times like these, Tatsuha decided, he could understand why some people were driven to murder.
"Shut up in there!" Eiri yelled from the bedroom. Tatsuha could hear the faint sound of the writer getting out of bed and trudging into the bathroom to shave and take his first shower of the day. Not too long afterward, Tatsuha felt a weight settle atop his legs.
Tatsuha paused. "Eiri?"
"Are you sitting on me?"
Tatsuha lifted his head only slightly and caught a glimpse of his elder brother comfortably lounging across Tatsuha's legs, flicking the flame to his lighter on and off. It was a nervous habit the writer had picked up since Shuichi had started stealing his cigarettes and flushing them down the toilet, and it was annoying.
"Ger'off," Tatsuha ordered. He looked up again. Was Eiri smirking? Bastard.
"Make me," Eiri responded lightly, flicking the lighter one last time before returning the thing to his shirt pocket.
Tatsuha made a weak effort of dislodging his brother, but he quickly gave up when the writer showed no sign of moving. "Y'know, sometimes I really hate you."
"Mmhm," Eiri responded disinterestedly. "That's nice."
Tatsuha made a few more futile attempts at moving Eiri, but he soon ran out of options. "I didn't want to have to do this," he warned, "but you leave me no choice. Get off or I'll have to resort to drastic measures."
Eiri shot the younger boy a look. "Such as?"
"You'll see." Tatsuha took a deep breath. "Shuichi, Eiri just told me that he's going to kick you out! Permanently!"
Tatsuha was not sure if Shuichi had just tuned into their conversation at that point in time and his panic was sincere or if he simply thought it was funny and was playing along, but the singer let out a screeching wail and bolted out of the kitchen to get to Eiri. Tatsuha let out an 'oomph' as Shuichi clambered over his legs to get to the writer, but no one acknowledged it.
Shuichi clung to Eiri's neck. "Yuki, you're so mean! Why would you throw me out after all this time? Yuki!"
"I am not throwing you out!" Eiri protested, trying to pry Shuichi off him. Tatsuha grimaced--their mock scuffle was undoubtedly more painful for him than for them.
Upon hearing Eiri's proclamation, Shuichi squealed and pounced on the writer once again, wrapping him in a tight hug. A few seconds passed and then Eiri cursed and jerked forward, off Tatsuha's legs. Shuichi, who had managed to attach himself to the man, was barely hanging on, having circled his arms and legs around the writer. Eiri was clutching his left ear. Tatsuha quickly scooted into a sitting position, hoping to avoid a repeat performance. When Eiri finally stopped cursing, he took a moment to glare at Shuichi and then set the singer down on the couch next to Tatsuha, prying his lover off of him before he retreated to the opposite end of the room.
Eiri glowered at Tatsuha. "You play dirty."
Shuichi jumped up from the couch and took Eiri's arm, leading the writer into the kitchen. "I made you coffee," he told the blond man. "It's good stuff! You should have a cup before you go watch TV or write or whatever it is you do while I'm not here."
"Pay some whores to have promiscuous, unprotected sex with me?" Eiri offered.
Shuichi shrugged and nodded. "If that's what you do when I'm not here, then yeah, I guess so. But you can't have nasty hooker sex on an empty stomach, so come eat cereal or rice or something before you turn into a skeleton and die."
Tatsuha watched the two of them retreat into the kitchen, glad to see them disappear into the other room even though he knew they were just going to bicker and grope one another as soon as they were out of sight. Eiri and Shuichi's relationship was kind of sweet, Tatsuha decided. In a sick and twisted sort of way, of course. The two of them were each a good influence on the other, after all--Shuichi had tried his best to teach Eiri how to be a real person and Eiri had taught Shuichi how to...
All right, so it was a little bit one-sided. But hey, so long as Eiri and Shuichi were happy with it, who was he to complain?
A few hours passed, and Tatsuha soon found himself eyeing the Shinkansen, the bullet train that would be taking him most of the way home. He hated riding the thing; the stations were always packed, the cars never had any sitting room, and his ears always popped, no matter what steps he took to prevent it. He had waited a long while that day before calling a taxi to take him to the station, hoping that Eiri would take pity on him and offer him a ride back to Kyoto, but, of course, it never happened. Eiri had only barely managed to grunt a goodbye when Tatsuha had left the apartment, after all.
Brothers, Tatsuha decided, were absolutely no good for anything.
Shouldering his backpack, which he had somehow managed to fit almost all of his things into (Shuichi had promised to mail the remaining things to him soon), Tatsuha started toward the open door of the bullet train. He had only taken a single step when he heard someone call out his name. Tatsuha couldn't quite figure out who it was, given the noise of the station, but he stopped anyway, turning around to see Shuichi running toward him, both arms waving in the air. Rolling his eyes, Tatsuha backtracked.
"What's going on?" Tatsuha inquired as he approached. "Aren't you supposed to be working right now?" He looked around. "K isn't going to come running out with a gun in his hands, is he?"
Shuichi laughed. "I called in an early lunch break, so I'm good. Besides, I wouldn't really call what I do working, since it's more like sitting around and letting K and Sakano talk at me while I pretend to be listening and then doing the photo thingies and the TV appearances and sometimes then getting to sing, although it's mostly just in the sound booth, and then letting K and Sakano talk at me some listening to Suguru bitch about stuff that I don't care about and then getting all the important details from Hiro and then going to go and redo the singing and..."
Tatsuha patiently let Shuichi talk himself out. The Shinkansen he was supposed to take home was leaving the station, but the next one would be by soon, so it didn't really matter too much.
Shuichi finally ended his monologue with a long inhalation of breath and a grin. "But here I am!"
"Great," Tatsuha said. "So why are you here, exactly?"
"Because... Because you can't go yet!"
"Why not?" Tatsuha asked, quirking an eyebrow. "Did something happen?"
Shuichi faltered. "Not exactly... But, well, you see... Oh, I can't stand it! Yuki made me promise not to meddle in your life, but I can't let you leave if you're not happy and stuff, so I'm gonna do it anyway and Yuki will just have to not find out about it!"
Tatsuha could only stare at the singer. Given how this conversation was going so far, he was probably going to miss the next train, too. Yay.
"I don't know exactly what's wrong with you because no one will tell me, not even Yuki, and he seems to know, but you've been moping around for... for forever now, and it has to stop!" Shuichi cried.
"It will! Look, Shuichi, I'm fine, honest. And I don't think you--"
Tatsuha froze and shot Shuichi an accusatory look. "Please tell me that you didn't--"
Shuichi shook his head. "I had nothing to do with this, I swear!"
Taking a deep breath, Tatsuha turned around himself facing none other than Sakuma Ryuichi, sans disguise, giving him a nervous half-smile. The Nittle Grasper superstar didn't have Kumagoro with him for support, either, although Tatsuha did catch a glimpse of a nearby (and very confused) man holding a pink rabbit in his hands. Tatsuha couldn't help but briefly wonder if Ryuichi actually knew the man or if he had randomly accosted a complete stranger.
Ryuichi looked over Tatsuha's shoulder at Shuichi and shot him one of his award-winning smiles. "Shu-kun, could you give us a minute or two alone, na no da?"
"Yeah, sure," Shuichi agreed hesitantly, stepping away.
There was no such thing as 'alone' in the Shinkansen station, but Tatsuha didn't bother pointing that out.
"So what are--"
"I've been thinking about what you said," Ryuichi interrupted, "and I realized something an hour or so ago. I've been all alone for a super, humungous, gigantumous long time, and... And I don't need to be. I mean, Nori-chan and Tohma never ever let Nittle Grasper's success keep them from living real lives or anything like that. And then I realized I wasn't really happy, na no da. And I was thinking of ways to get happy and I remembered that you were leaving today and decided that maybe this was gonna be my last chance, you know?" Ryuichi looked at Tatsuha imploringly. "I really like you, and I think that maybe I'd be happier if maybe we could sorta start over? Take bits a little slower, try for a little less lust? What do you think?"
Tatsuha considered the singer momentarily. "No," he said, surprising even himself. "No," he said again, having decided that he liked the sound of it.
Ryuichi blinked at him. "What?"
"I know what you're asking, but... Well, I've been doing some thinking, too, and I realized that I was better off before I really got to know you. Even if that hadn't happened, well... Right now? Right now I'm fine as is. I mean, I'm still in high school, I'm training to be a monk, and it's pretty friggin' obvious that my brother is never going to have kids, no matter how often he and Shuichi keep trying, so my dad is going to be pegging me for an heir, if he ever gets it through his skull that Eiri is, in fact, gay, so I don't think he could handle two sons without girlfriends right now. Maybe once he's dead, but not now."
"Wow," Ryuichi said after a moment. "So, never? You're turning me down?"
"Not really. I'm sort of just post-poning it a little." Tatsuha combed a hand through his hair. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to say yes to a question like that, Sakuma-san I've dreamed of this sort of thing coming from you since before I could walk. This is just a bad time for it to actually happen, all things considered, that's all."
"So you're not turning me down?" Ryuichi asked, as if to clarify.
"Nope." Tatsuha started digging through his backpack for a pen and some paper, managing to drop five or six of his shirts onto the ground in the process. "Turn around," he ordered, once he'd found something he could write with.
"What for?" Ryuichi asked.
"I'm going to give you my phone number and my email," Tatsuha told him, "so that we can keep in touch. "
Ryuichi shrugged and turned his back to Tatsuha, who, using Ryuichi as a desk, scribbled down his contact information and then handed the paper to the singer.
"Yeah. Now that you have those, you'd better use them," Tatsuha instructed. "It would be nice if we could be friends before we tried being anything else."
Ryuichi smiled. "I'm terrible at this sort of thing."
"I bet you're terrible at a lot of things. But I have Ukai-san's phone number, still, so I'll have her beat you until you've gotten into the habit of writing to me regularly," Tatsuha told him. He checked the train. "I'm going to miss my car if I don't go now..."
"You don't actually wanna ride that thing, do you?"
"Not really. Are you offering to give me a ride?"
"...Nope." Ryuichi laughed awkwardly. "I can make a few phone calls, though, and get you a ride up there. Tohma will prolly be mad when I don't come back to work right away, but he'll deal with it."
Tatsuha chuckled. "I'll just take the train, but thank you." He paused. "Er... Would a kiss for the road be too much to ask for?"
Ryuichi laughed. "Of course note," he answered, getting on his toes so that he could reach Tatsuha's mouth.
When they pulled away, Tatsuha couldn't help but smile. "Thanks."
"Any time. You'll be back in Tokyo next school break, right? We could go do something fun, like a movie or something. Maybe go to the zoo."
"If I can arrange it, then yeah, sure. Eiri may throw a fit, but Shuichi is cool and he can wrap that brother of mine around his little finger."
"I wish!" Shuichi called out from nowhere.
Ryuichi giggled. "You don't have to pretend to be hiding anymore," he informed the younger singer. Shuichi reappeared almost immediately.
Tatsuha hid a smile. "See you, Shuichi. Thanks for putting up with me this summer."
"It was fun," Shuichi assured him. "But you'd better go, if you don't want to miss this next train."
"Yeah, I'm going." Tatsuha grinned, reshouldering his backpack. "I'll you guys around."
Both Shuichi and Ryuichi waved goodbye as Tatsuha stepped onto the train.