And as we draw to a close, I want to thank all of you for reading. I had a blast with this story, and it took me places I never intended it to. And for the finale, another Legal Drug appearance and the innuendo of bedroom fluff, or that tragic accident I hinted at? -shrugs again- I don't own these characters, like I know what they'll do.
Yuki's editor loved the unexpected visit, and loved the story even more. She raved about knowing just were to submit it to, what rights to sell off where to get him the most profit and exposure, nothing that really concerned him. He'd only stuck around to meet with the head of the publishing company and hear about what a valuable and honored client he was because he didn't want to be at home. But there was only so much of that he could stand.
He dreaded returning to his smoke filled house, even though he lit up another cigarette as soon as he got back to his car. He didn't really want one, but didn't know what else he wanted (or more likely, didn't know how to get it). He certainly wasn't going looking for the biggest problem in his life. If he came back on his own, fine. If not, fine.
Be he needed to do something about that tobacco smell. He was already driving by, so he stopped at the same pharmacy he'd visited to get his cigarettes. Again, he didn't know if he was in the right place to get what he was looking for, but he might as well try. Maybe teasing the brooding stocker would make him feel better. His reactions weren't nearly as entertaining as Shuichi's, but he'd take what he could get right now.
He was greeted as soon as he entered.
"I remember you." It was the blond again, stocking another display of cold medicine. His friend was no where in sight, but another, older man in sunglasses was leaning against the wall and didn't seem to be there to shop. "Back for more cigarettes?" Yuki raised an eyebrow and he blushed. "I-I'm sorry if that was assuming. I-" Now there was one that had definite Shuichi in him. Maybe it was all kids, and he just happened to get stuck with the pink haired singer.
"It's fine. No, I'm not here for cigarettes. Where's your friend?"
"Rikuo?" He blushed deeper. Okay, a bit to obvious. Maybe he liked Shuichi a little bit. "You're looking for-? He's off today. If you-"
"Nevermind. I wasn't looking for him, I was looking for candles. Do you have any?"
"Candles? Right. Yes, over on the back wall." He pointed and Yuki nodded and went to find them. It was a small selection, but he found a few he liked. He probably wouldn't have to burn them for long, they were pretty strong.
Kazahaya saw him coming back up to the front. "Are you ready?" Yuki nodded and his candles were rung up.
"And here's your change." He took the offered coins.
"Thank you. And don't worry, I won't come back and try to steal him from you." They both knew who he was talking about. Yuki laughed to himself and left. He'd been so close to telling the boy he had someone of his own. But did he really?
He hoped so.
The stupid answering machine light was still blinking when Yuki got home. It was the first thing he saw when he opened the door. The second was the unlaced sneakers that had been hurriedly kicked off.
He knew the feeling. All he wanted to do was drop his candles, kick off his shoes, and race inside to find...what he hoped to find was...
But Yuki didn't race anywhere. He set the candles on the table beside the answering machine and his last carton of cigarettes and walked calmly into the living room. He heard nothing. Had those shoes been sitting there all week? Was he fooling himself now?
Then the faintest snore caught his ear. He felt his heart skip a beat. That only happened in the corniest love scenes. Shuichi was back.
He'd arrived home to no real food and no Yuki and gave up on a warm bed halfway there to pass out on the couch. He was sleeping as heavily as Yuki did after he met a deadline. The novelist would have been proud in his own way if he'd known what Shuichi had been through in the last few days.
But he didn't, and he didn't want to wake him up to find out. He just wanted to sit on the couch beside him and watch the rising and falling of his chest. Because it calmed the disquiet that had filled his mind, that he'd tried to fill with cigarettes and words, when it hadn't needed anything but this.
It was a while before Yuki could pull himself away. When he did, he went straight to the table beside the door, grabbed the candles and the carton of cigarettes, and took them both to his bedroom. The cigarettes went into the cabinet and two candles were lit and set on the headboard in place of the ashtray that he moved to the stand on his side of the bed for lack of a better place. It was a start.
He lit another candle and left it in the hall on the way to the bedroom, and two more went in the living room in front of the couch. Then he went to the kitchen. Even when he slept Shuichi couldn't hide his most basic desires. Yuki could hear his stomach grumbling in the next room as he cooked quietly.
It was dark before he finished all of his preparations. He left his perfect meal simmering on the stove, but Shuichi probably would be up to eat it tonight. He didn't think he'd mind if he had to throw it out this time.
The candles had burned down to potent wax puddles that shone soft golden light on Shuichi when Yuki went back into the living room. He knelt onto the couch again and touched Shuichi's face lightly. He'd been afraid to do it earlier, for fear of waking him up or discovering that he wasn't really there at all.
But now Shuichi stirred and Yuki bent down to him. "You shouldn't sleep on the couch, idiot." He whispered.
"Yuki..." His eyes fluttered but never fully opened. He was still exhausted.
"Shh. Come on." Yuki wrapped the younger boy's arms around his neck and scooped him up bridal style. He blew out the candles in the living room and the hall as he carried the singer to bed.
Shuichi woke again for a few moments when Yuki set him down. "Mm..." He didn't let the novelist pull away, but drew him down and buried his head in his neck. "Smells good. Missed...you...Yu..." He trailed off and his hands loosened.
Yuki laughed to himself.
"Yeah. Welcome home, Shuichi. It's...good to have you back." Even when he knew his lover was sleeping it was hard to say it out loud. But it was good to have him back. So good.
Yuki let Shuichi sleep on his shoulder until the last two burning candles put themselves out, then wrapped his arms around the younger boy and fell asleep as well.
Shuichi pulled the bed sheet over his nose and mouth and glared at Yuki, who stared innocently down at him with a cigarette dangling from his lips.
Two days after Shuichi had come home things were back to normal. He was well rested (or had been until Yuki got a hold of him a few hours ago), and they both had a few more days off to relax, maybe even enjoy each others company a little bit, if only from the comfort of the bedroom.
"What?" It was his first cigarette all day. He was already going to throw a fit about it?
They'd both put the last week out of their minds after Shuichi explained what happened. Yuki didn't bother telling him what he'd been doing while his lover was gone.
"Can't you not smoke right now?" Yuki blew his a smoke cloud and Shuichi dropped the sheet and moved to the other end of the bed.
"Where are you going?" He asked. His heart sped up for a minute. A little to deja vu for his taste.
"I hate it when you smoke. I'm going to-"
"Hey- hey." He smashed the cigarette in the ashtray beside him. "Better?" Shuichi looked stunned. Yuki smirked and pulled him back up to the top of the bed. "I really wanted a cigarette, though." He murmured. "You're going to have to distract me."
Within five minutes Yuki was glad he'd opted to Shuichi over a smoke this time.
Some habits grip us stronger than others.
Well, it's been a pleasure. I recommend any of my other fics. All are yaoi and full of my wonderful humor, wit, and...I don't know, whatever else kept you reading this. I hope you don't just have bad taste...