Author's Note at end.

Ache
by Lanie Kay-Aleese

Epilogue

- - - -

Black hair and grassblades and a bright blue sky. The grass was sharp, clean, and cool beneath his feet. The sky above was just as crisp and deeply open, with paint blotches of white clouds splattered across its' highest limits. Far below, Kyou felt his feet planted in the grass and somehow he felt like he could scrape his fingers against the tips of the sky, all at the very same time.

And the hair. Kyou loved the way his lover's hair was such a shock against the blue sky: not fading into the color of the grey clouds, but present, tangible, and very real. Black. He adored his lover's eyes, that were deep like oceans, that could not be mistaken for the color of cold stone. He loved the warm feeling of Yuki as he hesitantly drew back his tongue and slid it against the edges of his lips, before returning it into his own mouth. Though he couldn't like that feeling for too long, because as sated as he was, he constantly craved such kisses the moment they had left him.

Well, it wasn't actually not moving against his anymore, for some reason that Kyou couldn't understand.

"No," Kyou complained, and leaned back towards that warm embrace of lips. Two slender hands pushed back on his chest, laughter bursting out.

"If we keep going like this, we'll never leave--"

"Yuki..."

Kyou grinned mischeviously and wrapped his arms around Yuki's waist.

"We'd get dirt everywhere," he protested firmly, pulling away and bending over to bury a seed into the ground. It was, of course, completely accidental that bending over would allow some rather suggestive rubbing against Kyou's hips.

"Jerk," Kyou ground out between clenched teeth.

"Oh, I'm sorry, am I being a problem?" Yuki smirked, straightening. Kyou fought for composure.

"What... Whatever. Let's just hurry up already, Tohru wants us home soon," Kyou forced out the words and sat down beside his cousin, pouting. Yuki stared at him, trying to make eyecontact. Eventually, he gave up the task and sighed as he sat back. He rolled some seeds inbetween his gloved hands absentmindedly.

"I only wanted you to stop because you told me that you want us to get home on time for the party."

Kyou grunted.

"I don't even want to go to the party," Yuki reminded him, calmly patting a mound of soil around three differently-sized seeds.

"Doesn't matter," Kyou replied, terse. "You would've gone anyway because Tohru asked you to, and she invited your student council friends."

Head bent to the ground, Yuki did his best to not let Kyou see his discomfort as he said, "But you invited the Fan Club Girls." "They have names, you know - Motoko, Minami, and-" "Thing 1, Thing 2..." quoted Yuki. Kyou turned around so that they would be facing. Yuki read his boyfriend's face quickly, and ammended:

"You know I don't feel safe around that much activity all at once, but... It's our graduation party, and Tohru's made a big deal of it. She even coerced Shigure into buying a Barbeque grill, and since you're so excited about it, I might even... talk... to your Fan Club Friends if you'd stop pouting like a girl." "I'm not pouting like a girl!" Kyou shot back, "You're the one with the Girly face."

"You wore a dress."

"So did you!"

"Oh shut up," Yuki flushed.

That was all it took, and suddenly Yuki had diverted Kyou's passion from indignation to pride, which was almost as good to his ego as happiness itself.

Kyou crowed over Yuki's shoulder, proud to have achieved a small victory. Yuki swatted him away. "Will you help me plant, now?"

Kyou opened his mouth and began to speak when Yuki interrupted - "And I've already helped you with 'that' problem this morning, so now it's your turn to help me with this!"

"I was going to say,'I can't help you unless I can use a shovel, because I hate getting dirt in my fingernails'," said Kyou.

Yuki choked on his own laughter as Kyou looked at him, bemused. It was clear that the unintended sexual pun was completely lost on Kyou; a naivette that made Yuki smile fondly. And even at that same time, Kyou's hand went out to reach into the still-strange, smooth blackness of his lover's hair, hardly aware of what he was doing. All he could think of was how beautiful Yuki's face was when he smiled, and how stunning it was to see that face framed with black.

"...Kyou?" He flushed and moved back his hand at Yuki's softly inquiring voice. Kyou, however, continued to gaze at him in what he thought to be a bitter-sweet manner. Yuki would have said that memory danced in the depths of his eyes. In both of their dark brown eyes.

"I don't know if I'll ever get used to it," Kyou said finally, his face flushed and his eyes averted. He saw the trees in the distance, the tops of branches bending in the wind. Listening to the wind, feelingYuki rise beside him and wrap his slender arms around his shoulders, Kyou tried to place himself in the moment. All he knew is that the weather was getting warmer and the world wasn't the same. And he was going to go to university - with Yuki - in a week.

He covered Yuki's hand with his own, distracting himself with the feel of another's soft fingers resting over his heart. Yuki, who smelt of the earth, tucked his head on the cleft between Kyou's shoulder and neck, and closed his eyes. "I don't hate the changes," Kyou mentioned, vaguely. "It's just... Looking at you is... shocking."

"My hair; shocking? And this, coming from the one who was once called 'Carrot-top'?"

"You liked my hair."

"I like your hair," Yuki corrected, playfully rubbing up closer against Kyou's back. "Of course... you can always highlight it back to its' old color if you want."

"Nah, I think... I think it's better to keep it this way... For a while longer. It feels amazing to be so..."

"Free?"

"Yeah," Kyou exhaled and dropped his eyes to Yuki. "It's more rebellious to look normal, isn't it?"

They leaned their noses together and their mouths met in a brief kiss.

"I love you," Kyou smiled, the light reaching his eyes. Kyou leaned forward again and pressed his cheek against Yuki's. The slighter boy raised his gloved hands up to press against Kyou's back. They held each other until their arms tingled and their faces were far too warm in the places they connected. And then, so naturally that it was as though nothing else could happen, Kyou took Yuki's fine chin in his hands, twisted it to the side and planted his lips on Yuki's own. He kissed him, then; powerfully, heatedly, surrendering all of his most trembling soul.

"Love you more," Yuki broke out, his eyes fastened on the wet sheen of his lovers' bottom lip, "So much, always--"

He didn't get any further as he was locked in an even more desperate embrace of tongues and teeth and unbalancing emotions blossoming in their hearts.

And as the sun crested the sky at the peak of the day, and twin halos appeared in the highlights of the boys' black hair, a deep part of Yuki's heart lay content and still. At last, at last, nothing else was missing.

- - - -
FIN.
- - - -

...Is it really here? The end-end? No more of this story - ever? Somehow I doubt that I could easily let go of this fantasy I designd for Kyou and Yuki; there are so many other stories about this whole situation which seem to orbit them... but... I do believe that I won't be continuing it after this point. One of the best things to do with a novel is to let it go and let others imagine the rest. I'm suddenly struck by the feeling that only the crucial portions should remain, and the rest be just so barely mentioned that the reader can but salivate for more -- and by that, I hope that it will mean that the reader's own creativity will necessarily respond. happy So that's why I'm not telling you about the other costume. If you heard my idea, you'd perhaps be disappointed (I have the inclination to believe that you have all already come up with certain, ahem, 'images').

But before you leave, THANKYOU for being so wonderful to me. So many times, hearing back from y'all was the only thing that got me through some tough days -and especially at writer's dead-block... It lifted me up, and I want to thank each of you for it. I love writing, but my favorite thing... is knowing that it connects me to people. So tell me how this story made you feel... minus the tomato throwing, of course. ;)

- - - -

Song Selection
This is such a random mix... Although several songs evoked feelings in me appropriate for this story, there were just certain songs that seemed to fit too well in a manner of speaking! Honestly, some of the lyrics in these songs are creepily familiar to the situation. Or maybe it's not creepy, it's just ironic, coincidental, or brilliant. Haha! Anyway, the music below is largely "indie" or at least "alternative"; two songs are actually in Japanese. It may seem very random that they are Japanese songs. Well it IS very random. The first song by "Cuetracks" struck me immediately with the feelings of hope, beauty, and melancholy which fit perfectly for a vast majority of mood. And then the second Japanese song by "Hy" was introduced to me by a Japanese friend. For some reason I always think of it as the "party song"... A really uplifting power!!epilogue!! song, haha - I imagine it taking place in the party that will be taking place after the last scene of the Epilogue. I guess that now is a good time to cut my ramble short and let you get to the music choice, which was probably your goal in the first place.

Stevie Wonder. Secret Life of Plants
Cuetracks. Yozora ga Yuuyake wo Tsutsumu Koro
The Shins. Caring is Creepy
The Gathering. Herbal Moment
Frou Frou. Close Up
Hot Garden Stomp. Sun Song
Snow Patrol. Grazed Knees
Rasputina. Signs of the Zodiac
Drifters. Up On the Roof
Flyleaf. I'm So Sick
The Honorary Title. Petals
Postal Service (Flaming Lips cover). Suddenly Everything has Changed
Zero 7. Destiny
Snow Patrol. Somewhere a Clock is Ticking
Frou Frou. Breathe In
Maria Mena. Just Hold Me
Sugarcult. Memory (acoustic)
Hy. Hy Summer

LANIE is blowing her nose into a tissue while playing piano with her feet.
"I'll never forget you, Jack... But if you bid me farewell, somehow I know... that my heart will go on... And it shall go on... For... A while... Two weeks tops..."