The Off Track
By Aoi Umi
Author's Notes: Hello! This is my first Gravi fic, and also my first chaptered fic. I will admit that I have not yet seen the entire Gravitation anime series – only the first three episodes and the OVAs. (Yeah, like a loser I am waiting for the licensed DVDs, even though I have access to the fansubs. -.-;;) I have read all of the manga published so far in English, though (6 volumes at the time of this writing).
Warning: This fanfic contains swearing and suggestive language. I really don't believe that one can get around these things while writing Gravitation fanfiction. n.n; I couldn't very well rate this R, and I will try not to stray too far into that territory. There will have to be sex eventually, of course, but nothing graphic.
Disclaimer: I have not, do not, and will not own Gravitation or its characters. That honor belongs to Gravitation's creator, the talented and brilliant Murakami-sama. For the title of this fic, I give credit to my friend, "Miaka-chan." n.n;
Chapter 1: "Sour and Sweet"
Why the hell did I agree to do this?
Those were the thoughts of (incognito) novelist Yuki Eiri as he tried to further consolidate his stuff into his limited personal space in the seat of a commercial airplane bound for America.
Riding a plane alone is unpleasant, but at least I am used to it. With him, however...
From behind his sunglasses, the man risked a casual glance at his companion, an embarrassingly genki, bouncy thing that wouldn't shut up.
You'd think he's never been on an airplane before.
"Look, Yuki! Little bags for throwing up in! I'm gonna try it, haha!"
Yuki internally groaned as he attempted futilely to become more invisible than he already was. Maybe he hasn't...
As a lady walked by with a cart, he handed over some cash and grabbed a package of candy, and without even looking at what it was, dropped it into the lap of his companion in the hopes of quieting him a little. Or of at least distracting his thoughts from intentionally vomiting.
...Damn. All you did was give him something to be put in his stomach and then regurgitated. He closed his eyes in frustration. Maybe he was joking. He can't be that stupid, the idiot.
"The idiot"'s eyes lit up in happiness. It was always easy to discern Shuichi's moods, even behind his sunglasses. "Thank yooou, Yuki! You're so sweet!" In addition to Shuichi's excited words of gratitude, Yuki was properly thanked with a soft pink nuzzle in the shoulder.
It was amazing how happy something simple like a bag of sugar from an airline cart could make that boy. Yuki felt a very slight pang of shame that his motives had been selfish and anything but sweet. He quickly got over it, though, and gently but firmly pushed the mop of fluffy pink hair back into the seat where it belonged. "Remember how you agreed not to draw too much attention to 'us'?" he hissed into Shuichi's ear, which was somewhere behind all that hair. Not that he really cared so much anymore...but, at least on this tightly packed airplane, the subtle funny looks he could really do without for awhile.
Shuichi gave a faint nod, but was really more interested in the candy itself now. He struggled a bit with its American title. "Sao…waa…Suki…taru…zu." It really didn't make sense at all. He frowned, but decided it didn't really matter because after all it was candy, and a gift from Yuki at that, as he tore open the bag and popped a few in his mouth.
Immediately his eyes became huge and filled with tears. "Uwaaaii!! Ith's sthouwaa!" he whined as he clung to Yuki's arm. He stuck out his tongue to remove the offending sourness from his mouth, and sniffled pitifully.
Yuki took one and popped it into his own mouth as he reached into the bag at his feet and pulled out a bottle of water to appease the pink turtle clamping onto his arm. "What are you talking about, stupid? It's sweet."
"Tha'ss because I alrea'y licked th' sthouwaa off," whimpered Shuichi-kame.
Yuki cringed a little. Somehow that was still slightly disgusting, despite the fact that he had had his tongue in this guy's throat and worse before.
He decided to humor Shuichi and pity him a little. After all, the boy's exaggeratedly large eyes were pretty pathetic-looking. Maybe he would shut up if given the attention he was craving. He patted him on the head and told him to be a good little boy and go eat his candy.
Shuichi eyed the bag of candy apprehensively, but after eating another piece, decided he liked the flavor once he had gotten over the initial shock.
The novelist, satisfied, returned to his work. His laptop hummed as he tapped the keys…rather slowly, actually. Although he would never admit it, Shu-chan's obnoxiousness had actually been a rather welcome respite from his bout of writer's block. He was having one of his worst cases of it ever. He hated this story. He really did.
"Shu-chan" meanwhile occupied himself with the candy and a pair of headphones that was playing American Top 40 hits. He decided with conviction that his band, Bad Luck, was definitely better than anything he was hearing, even though he couldn't understand too many of the lyrics.
There was something about the airplane experience that made Shuichi feel very young and excited. I'm flying with Yuki!, he thought to himself as he closed his eyes and cutely clasped a hand to his blushing cheek. He pretended to fall asleep on his lover's arm as he swallowed a last delectable Saowaa Sukitaruzu. Everything was right in the world…
Yuki, sensing that Shuichi's being asleep was clearly a lame act, was about to firmly push the boy back into his own seat and reclaim his rightful space. But when he saw the grip of Shuichi's other hand involuntarily loosen on the half-eaten package of candy, he felt his mouth threaten to twist itself into a faint smile, and decided not to bother pushing Shu away. Good thing he didn't have the energy to smile after all, though, in case Shuichi really had gotten better at feigning sleep, and was actually waiting to catch him off-guard or something. I can't let him think I'm enjoying this stupid trip...which I am not, he thought as he shut his laptop and then his own beautiful golden eyes.
"Yuki Yuki Yuki! Guess what?" Shindou Shuichi burst through the front door, forgetting the custom return greeting completely.
Yuki, working on a novel and a cigarette and not taking his bored eyes off the computer screen, shrugged. "You're finally getting that sex change we discussed?"
Shuichi lowered his eyelids and retorted, "Yeah right, that's SO funny," while he couldn't help half-wondering, When was this?? Did I say something when I was drunk?
He truly was happy that his Yuki-chan was being sarcastic and toying with him instead of ignoring him completely, though. This was a sign that he was in a good mood. Well, a better-than-bad mood, at least. So analyzing this situation, he decided it was safe enough to let out the entire cause for his excitement without leaving Yuki in suspense. Not that he could have held it in much longer anyway. "They've given me a week off at work! Aaand…I've gotten us plane tickets for a vacation!" He struck a tall pose and held them up proudly. "We're going to America! And we're going to rent a car and see the mountains and plains and forests and other pretty stuff, and sleep outside, and do that thing where you sit for hours in a boat and try to get fish to eat worms, and we're gonna relax and have fun!"
Yuki didn't so much as turn around for an entire 30 seconds. Shuichi didn't move a muscle either, but just continued grinning expectantly.
Because his eyes were closed so happily, Shuichi didn't notice when Yuki finally did break the tension by turning to face him, very slowly, his eyes incredibly, eerily narrow.
"It doesn't even matter if I ask where the hell you got an idiotic idea like that, because I don't need to know." Eiri's voice was calm, but in that sickeningly patronizing way that Shuichi always hated.
Shuichi blinked, but refused to let Yuki's harshness faze him. "But, Yuki! Why not? I have a week off work, and I know you just finished something for a deadline, and, and, it seems so perfect! If we leave Japan, we don't even have to disguise –"
"Idiot!" Yuki's voice was gradually becoming louder. "You think people like me don't have more deadlines to worry about? Perpetually? We can't just go prancing off to the fucking forests and plains of America at the last minute!"
"But, it's still a couple of days until we leave!" protested a defiant Shuichi. "We still have time to pack and stuff, and if you have to, you can take your work with you…" He trailed off. He was determined not to cry. Oh, how he felt like it. But this time he had to be strong, or Yuki would never take him seriously. And he really was serious about this vacation. After the guys at N-G had worked his ass off day and night for weeks to finish his first music video and his new single, he deserved this week with Yuki!
His voice regained its volume. "I thought you would be happy! We can both get away from everything for awhile! It seems like I haven't seen you in so long, and I only wanted to spend some time with just the two of us…" Goddammit, the tears were coming anyway.
Yuki coolly drew a breath from his cigarette and exhaled a snowy wisp of smoke. Come to think of it, the brat hadn't been home for more than a few hours the past couple of nights. "Look, if you're wanting to fuck me or something, go ahead, I'm free tonight, and I'm up for it." He turned off the computer, got up, and walked toward the kitchen with his empty coffee mug, intentionally not looking in Shuichi's direction.
Shuichi was shocked and more than just a little hurt. That wasn't what he'd meant. "Yuki…" he began, very softly.
"Mm? Did you say something?" Yuki turned around and waited.
Some stray strands of pink hair brushed against the young man's face and clung to its sparkling wetness as he slowly shook his head.
Yuki, who had momentarily paused en route to the coffee maker, now turned and continued in its direction.
He stood strongly in that moment, but as soon as his cold, insensitive boyfriend was out of sight, Shuichi hurried off in the other direction to find a place where he could cry to himself freely without shame. He ended up in his own bedroom – which was really just a place to put all of his stuff, since he always actually slept in Yuki's cozy King. He allowed himself and his tears to fall onto the unused cot. He sniffled pitifully.
I really am an idiot if I thought Yuki would be happy to go on vacation with me. Of course he has work to do. Of course he thinks every word out of my mouth is stupid. He hugged a pillow tightly as he curled on his side into a fetal position. I wish that just once he would do something to make me happy...sex is nice, but it doesn't count. No matter how much he hugged, the pillow offered little comfort. He won't do anything with me unless I ask him. And even then, he always hates my ideas and refuses to have any fun. Am I really that annoying to be around?
He lay that way quietly for a few minutes. He was running out of tears, but still didn't feel any better. He flopped over and allowed his sleep-deprived visage to face the ceiling. In his hollow eyes shone the pale reflection of a far-off star. "Yuki...do you love me?"
Meanwhile, Yuki Eiri leaned against the kitchen counter, sipping his coffee. He didn't plan to stay up working tonight and really didn't need the caffeine, but to him, drinking coffee was nearly as habitual as smoking.
I wonder what I said now. That boy is way too sensitive.
Through the window, he watched the clouds that were rolling in, obstructing the glittering stars above. Soon, none of them would be visible at all.
If this is because I won't go on that vacation...Damn, he knows that is completely stupid and impractical, doesn't he? You don't just fly from Japan into the middle of America with nothing but a fucking tent. Idiot. He never thinks things through.
Eiri looked at the coffee in distaste. He decided to get a beer instead, and switched on the television in the other room. He flipped through the channels and became annoyed that he couldn't find anything worth watching. He settled on an inane game show, but it really didn't matter because he was looking through the TV anyway.
Much to his frustration, he couldn't get the image of his boyfriend's crying face out of his mind. That boy cried a lot, in joy and in sorrow – in fact, he was an emotional roller coaster and more difficult to handle than many of the women he'd dated – but that hurt look from ten minutes ago just lingered somehow in Yuki's mind, and wouldn't leave.
What am I supposed to do about it? It's his own damn fault for being that way. He sets himself up for disappointment all the time. What does he expect from me, anyway?
A jewelry commercial came on the television screen. In it, a man brought flowers and the advertised jewelry to his wife, and within seconds the two were making out in the sunset on a Caribbean beach.
That is corny as hell, even if they are only working in a 30-second time allotment. Even my novels are not that bad.
The commercial switched to one about some sort of cheese-flavored breakfast cereal, whose fake smiling actors would have warranted a lot of criticism had Eiri continued critiquing. But the fair-haired romance novelist had tuned it out and returned to his own thoughts.
Well, he acts so much like a chick sometimes. I guess he probably thinks like one, too? Does he want me to do stupid shit like bringing him presents and flowers all the time? Forget that.
Now the inane winners of the inane game show were hugging each other and celebrating their grand prize – an all-expenses paid vacation to Hawaii, in addition to a new car filled with a year's supply of…dog food?
That's probably not it, anyway. He keeps saying he only wants to be with me – and I've given him that, haven't I? He's with me almost every single night. I give him more of my time than I give any other person...what the hell is his problem?
He got up to draw the curtains closed. At the window, his gaze lingered for a moment on the cloudy sky.
...What if I went on this stupid vacation? I'm sure he'd like that, but why should I do that for him? "Just because he's crying? He always cries. There's nothing I can do about that." And who cares?
A different, irritating voice inside of him said without words: You do. You prefer to see him smile.
Oh yeah. Yuki sighed. That's why. Dammit. And he fell asleep.