Eiri Yuki sighed, running long fingers through his shaggy blonde fringe and cursing. He was always late for his deadlines, the words never came easily, but this was actually starting to worry him.
He stared at the blinking cursor on the screen before him, his mind completely blank. His mind simply did not go blank. Not ever.
I wonder if this is what Shuichi's mind is like, he thought with smirk. The expression dropped, as he sighed again, attempting to peer out the window but only seeing his own reflection.
" Don't tell me I'm actually missing the brat," he muttered to himself.
Bad Luck was on tour, and the apartment had been silent for going on two weeks. Tohma had used the absence as an excuse to check up on him and take him to lunch nearly every day, but otherwise he'd been alone to enjoy the peace.
He scanned what he'd written so far restlessly, for what felt like the tenth time since he'd sat down to work. The story had been moving along quite well, with a fast pace, suspense, snappy dialog, and many of his trademarks intact. The setting of a mob war in modern Tokyo was set, and most of the major characters introduced. All except for one. The heroine, who would appear in the next unwritten chapter. The object of the underlying love story his readers craved. Hadn't he, begrudging as he was to admit it, even to himself, learned more about what it truly meant to love someone than he'd ever known while writing most of his past novels? Why was creating this character and the love story suddenly so difficult?
He knew part of the answer, anyway. His heroines before had usually begun as objects of sexual desire ( and, only admitted to his therapist after much tiring persistence on her part, a way to channel the softer, more feminine side of himself that he carefully suppressed). It had been simple to cast them in the days when his bedroom had a revolving door. He'd borrowed a physical trait here, a personality aspect or quirk there, and created believable enough female characters to satisfy the legion of women who loved his books. The only women he'd spent any quality time with in ages were his shrink, his sister, and his editor.
He knew most of his heroine's profile when he begun his novel, but she just wasn't coming alive for him. He sat back, arms behind his head, and closed his eyes.
She was eighteen. A naive girl with a sunny disposition, to contrast the cynical young thug with whom he was to pair her for a torrid, ill-fated romance. He saw the thug as a tall, well toned man with a piercing gaze and a biting tongue that intimidated those foolish enough to mess with him. He'd seen so many things, committed so many horrible crimes, that his heart was hardened and closed to anyone who tried to love him. Or so he thought. In a rash decision, he takes pity on the girl when her life is threatened. He decides to protect her, despite his better judgment and the risks involved.
Yuki tried to picture her, frightened, alone, the pinnacle of innocence, just begging to be corrupted. The spark of life to redeem the most hardened man...
Yuki sat up with a start, trying in vain to clear his head of the disturbing images which flooded his mind.
Shuichi and that damned schoolgirl uniform! Shuichi dolled up in a meek little dress at his father's house...
" Damn you to hell, brat," he muttered under his breath as his fingers began to work madly across the keyboard.
The phone brought Yuki around to consciousness with a groan. He glanced at the clock's early hour, as he grabbed the receiver as though he could throttle the caller through its abuse.
" Yuki?" said the familiar voice, amidst background noise that sounded as though he were standing in the middle of a busy intersection.
" Woke you up, didn't I?" Shuichi said, sounding small and apologetic. Yuki cut him off as he began to whimper pathetically.
" It's okay, moron. Pulled another all nighter," he mumbled, sitting up in bed.
" But -- well -- that's great! You said you'd been having writer's block. Oh, Yuki! I'm so happy for you!" Shuichi cheered with enthusiasm.
" Yeah, well, I got inspired. No big deal," Yuki snapped irritably. Shuichi went silent. Yuki sighed.
" I -- I miss you, brat," he said, wincing at his own words.
" Yuki! You miss me? I'll come home right now! I'll --"
" No. No, it's only for a few more days, right? And I won't be able to get a damn thing done with you around anyway," Yuki said.
" No, I guess not," Shuichi said with a laugh.
" Shuichi?" Yuki asked, sliding back under the covers, more keenly aware, upon hearing his voice, of just how much he'd missed his lover's touch.
" Yes, Yuki?"
" What are you wearing?" Yuki asked, with a wry grin at his own cheesiness.
" Huh? Oh, well, my stage costume. We've got a television spot in a few hours," Shuichi said uncertainly. Yuki could almost hear him blush, as if that were possible.
" Describe it. Is it sexy?" Yuki asked in a throaty whisper. Shuichi laughed uneasily.
" You perv! Um, yeah, I guess. I've got these really tight shorts on -- oh, crap! They're too tight now! Wah! Yuki, you bastard! I'm at a pay phone! I'll call you back from the hotel tonight, okay? Love you!" Shuichi panted frantically.
Yuki groaned as the line went dead. It was going to be a long couple of days.
" Well, I'm up," he muttered to himself as he got out of bed, rolling his eyes at his own unintended double entendre.
" May as well make the most of it," he said, knowing he always felt driven to write in this state. Especially when writing about cute, somewhat boyish schoolgirls and their older, jaded lovers.
" Yuki! I'm home!" came a spastic declaration heard a block away as Shuichi Shindou bounded into the apartment, loaded with bags of souvenirs. He had taken an earlier flight than he'd previously booked, eager to be home as soon as possible. So despite his disappointment, he was not terribly surprised to find himself alone.
" Just more time to get ready for Yuki!" he exclaimed, rubbing his hands together. He set about making everything perfect and atmospheric for the romantic reunion of epic proportions he envisioned in his mind, finally collapsing with exhaustion as he taped up the last paper lantern over his obscene setting for debauchery. Feeling quite satisfied with himself, he looked at the clock.
" It's only been thirty minutes?" he yelled in frustration. It would be at least three hours until the time he was originally expected, and there was no telling when in that time Yuki would return.
Shuichi wandered around the apartment impatiently, kicking random objects, until he passed the door to Yuki's study. Sliding into the room across the polished floor, he collapsed face first onto the swiveled office chair, taking in his lover's scent with contentment.
" Oh, Yuki," he moaned, petting the leather upholstery lovingly.
A dim light caught his eye as he turned around. Yuki's laptop was still on. He watched the swirling colors of the screensver, mesmerized, before taking a cautious look around and giving the mouse a tiny nudge.
Half expecting a screen filled with REDRUM, he saw to his relief that it was simply the manuscript for Yuki's latest novel. Scrolled to a random page, he began to read, so fully engrossed that he didn't notice as an hour rolled by.
" What the hell do you think you're doing, you idiot?"
Shuichi nearly fell out of the chair, as he whirled around to see Yuki glaring at him from the doorway.
" I was bored, okay? I got back early because I wanted to see you, and no one was here, and --"
Shuichi was cut off as Yuki strode across the room and drew him into a searing kiss.
" You almost burned the place down with those candles, dimwit," he said, dragging Shuichi up by his shirt and into the living room, where the candles were indeed burning dangerously low in their lanterns.
" I'm sorry! I just wanted things to be nice when you got back and I started too early and your book was really good and I forgot!" Shuichi rambled in one breath, sinking to his knees with a pitiful puppy look.
" So you like the new book," Yuki stated with a half smile, gazing down.
" Yes! It's incredible! I can't wait until it's finished! Can I have the first copy? Please? Please?" Shuichi said, looking up hopefully. Yuki chuckled.
" Of course you can't, you damn brat. You'll just have to buy it, like everyone else. I'm pissed off enough that you have the audacity to read it before it's finished," Yuki said, walking past him into the study and slamming the door.
" Yuki! Yuki! Yuki!" Shuichi cried shrilly, jumping up and pounding on the door.
" It's not locked," he heard the novelist say irritably from within, and opened the door. Yuki was seated before the computer, scrolling back the pages.
" Did you read the dedication? Or did you just start from the middle, like a dumbass?" Yuki asked, as Shuichi looked over his shoulder.
" To my unexpected muse," Shuichi read aloud, looking at Yuki with confusion as he stood.
" That's you, stupid," Yuki said, smacking him on the top of the head on his way back to the living room.
" Wait a second! You wrote me as the girl, didn't you?" Shuichi demanded, storming in behind him.
" You just now realized that? God, you're dense sometimes," Yuki said, pulling him close.
" Anyway, I think it may be my best book," Yuki added, kissing him tenderly.