Title: Old at Ninety
Author: Hawk Clowd
Disclaimer: As usual, the standard stuff applies. I don't own them, I don't want them, and that is absolutely cool with me.
Blood Type: Flat Soda
Warnings: Nothing in particular.
Author's Notes: I haven't been sleeping well lately. Does it show?

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"In twenty years, you'll be forty-five."

The words, at first, meant nothing to me and I continued to type. The weight of these musings, however, caught up to me quickly and my hands stilled on the keys. I turned my head to look at Shuichi where he sat on the little chair next to mine.

"What?"

Shuichi shrugged and munched a stick of pocky, obviously still lost in his thoughts. "Well, you just had your birthday yesterday, even though you wouldn't let me throw you a party, and you turned twenty-five. So in twenty years, you'll be forty-five."

I wondered, briefly, why he had put any thought at all into that. "You'll be forty-one," I pointed out.

"Forty," he corrected. "Anyway, two times forty-one is just eight-two. Two times forty-five is ninety."

I frowned and swiveled my chair toward him. "You never said there was going to be multiplication in this conversation."

He rolled his eyes at me and finished his pocky stick with a final crack of his jaws. "It's just simple math, Yuki. Even you can do it."

It wasn't that I couldn't do math--I have a very good grasp on all of the higher levels of mathematics, after all--so much as it was that I didn't like math. Somewhere along the line, Shuichi had assumed that my distaste for the subject meant I was simply no good at it. I had never bothered to correct him.

"So I'll be ninety in sixty-five years. I don't see your point."

"You'll almost be dead," Shuichi declared. "Especially since you smoke and drink and don't get any exercise whatsoever! People die when they get old!"

"Ninety isn't old."

"What are you talking about? Ninety is old. So is forty-five! You are twenty years away from being halfway to dead, Yuki!" He was beginning to work himself up, which was never good. I could never understand why he thought about things that freaked him out...

"You'll be ninety in sixty-nine years," I pointed out.

"Seventy," he corrected.

"Fine. You'll be ninety in seventy years."

"That's still not so soon as you'll be ninety," Shuichi said logically.

I sighed. "What's your point?" I asked at last, giving up the ghost of indifference.

"I don't want you to be old!" Shuichi cried, lunging out of his chair and into my personal bubble. I half-accepted the clingy, needy hug.

"I'm not old," I said caustically.

Shuichi sniffled. "But you will be!"

I scowled. "Get off of me before you pop my hip out of place or rupture a disc in my back or something, if you're that concerned about my getting old."

He just clung to me tightly. I felt the beginnings of a tantrum coming on, so I took out a stick of his pocky and shoved it into his face, in the general vicinity of his mouth. If he was eating pocky, he wouldn't cry! Ha. (I had a brief mental image of Shuichi wibbling at me with a stick of pocky up his nose and had to bite back a trickle of laughter.)

He sniffled again. "I just don't want you to get old without me," he admit at last.

Oh, good. Until this point, I'd thought he was trying to have a mid-life crisis for me. I had been looking forward to having a mid-life crisis, actually--I planned to kill my family, have a few affairs, and then blame the whole bit on personal trauma associated with, as Shuichi put it, being "halfway dead". If Shuichi had taken that little dream away from me, I would have had to come up with something better, and I didn't really have the time to be creative.

"I won't, stupid."

He looked up and blinked at me. "You won't get old?"

I rolled my eyes. "I'll get old. But you can get old with me, okay?"

I didn't realize the implications of that statement until after I saw the way Shuichi perked up and his eyes began to shine. I sighed inwardly. Damn my wording.

"You mean that?" he asked.

"Sure." And I did.

"Really truly?"

"Shuichi. Go away and let me write or else I'll get old on you right here and now," I threatened.

He squealed, laughed, and ran away.

---the end---