Chapter Two: Wakey Wakey
They were met with some initial resistance but neither Touma nor Shu were truly given any choice in the matter. The fact that they had spoken together seemed to assure the two younger boys, so they only gave a token protest. Shu had wished them a good night and Touma…Touma got the door closed and locked in his face.
Shaking his head, Shin couldn't wipe the smirk from his lips. "That was cruel Seiji. You know he means well."
Seiji just shrugged and walked past Shin to his bed. Both young men had already changed into a set of pajamas. "He would have dallied long enough to sit on the floor while we slept. If we managed to sleep with him here."
Shin laughed once and took a seat on Touma's bed, his for the night. "You enjoyed it a little too much I think."
It was Seiji's turn to smirk. "He's had it coming." Legs beneath the covers, he pulled the sheets up and watched Shin settle himself similarly. "Good night Shin," he reached for the lamp, their only light-source.
"Good night Seiji," the elder intoned back, temporarily thwarted from confronting Seiji over Touma. Not that he minded, he doubted the blond was mistaken; but it was a game one could say, and they enjoyed it.
In Shu and Shin's room, Touma had taken Shin's bed but was no where near rest. Shu didn't mind, worried himself and sitting up in his own bed. "We're just across the hall Touma, we'll know if anything happens soon enough."
Touma snorted and crossed his arms. "There is no 'soon enough' Shu. No matter how quickly we've gotten to them in the past, there's no waking them 'early' from the damn dreams." Lowering his arms in frustration after doing the finger marks for quotations, he crossed them before his chest and leaned back against Shin's head-board. "What if it only gets worse because of this? They won't have anything but the dream itself to trigger them awake. They could be trapped in it even longer because one of us aren't with them."
Heaving a sigh, Shu clamored off his bed and went to join Touma, almost shoving him to the side to make room for himself. Swinging an arm around the younger boy's shoulders, he pulled Touma towards him in a side-ways hug and grinned down at him with tempered slate-colored eyes. "They know we're here, they know that's possible. We all know we've not been able to wake them any sooner regardless of what we try. The fact that they're talking may well be enough to give them an edge if not allow them to wake up sooner; on their own or through an outside influence. Either way, there's else we can do for the time." Shu grinned down at the boy, trying to cheer him. "Just think of it as an experiment Touma. It'll be past soon enough."
Sighing himself, Touma let go his tension and slumped against Shu, his eyes down-cast. "I don't like the thought of my friends as guinea pigs," he muttered.
Slate eyes dimming, Shu jabbed the boy in the side. "Don't go telling either one of them I implied as much," he warned in a low, dangerous tone.
Lips twitching, Touma glanced side-long up at Shu. "Oh, I don't know Shu," he sounded so hesitant and falsely innocent. "I think that's something both of them deserve to know. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't?"
"A whole and healthy one," Shu informed before promptly tightening his arm in a restraint and giving the smaller boy a nuggie.
"Ack, Shu!" Touma cried and tried to jerk away. Only to start squirming and bucking as the hand left his head and fingers danced over his sides and ribs.
"Promise first," Shu laughed, struggling to keep hold of the boy. Giving up, he pushed the boy forward when he got a reply of "Nevah!" and pined him down when Touma rolled over.
Grinning, Shu pinned Touma's legs and re-grapped his wrists; pinning them in one hand, he attacked the boy's stomach once more. Touma's struggling had pulled his pajama shirt half up and, fearing chocking the boy Shu paused only long enough to tug it back down and let the boy breath.
"Alright alright!" Touma cried out, face hurting from his constant grin and sides aching from his laughing and squirming. As soon as Shu's fingers stopped he heaved in a deep breath and tugged on his wrists, but the boy wouldn't let him go yet. Grin growing if possible, he continued. "I promise to tell them both first thing." He tried to jerk out from beneath Shu, but the boy had no doubt been expecting as much.
Growling with a grin of his own, Shu redoubled his efforts and came close to being bulked off the boy a couple times.
"And just what do the two of you think you're doing in Shin's bed?" A bemused voice spoke from the open doorway. Neither of them had heard it open.
"Nothing!" Shu called out, trying to smother out Touma's cry for help. "Just playing Nasuti, promise." He grinned at the older girl, pulling off a look of innocence he'd honed with practiced ease growing up.
"Uh huh," she intoned, leaning against the door frame with her arms crossed, amused smile of her own on her lips. "And what did you do that you don't want Touma to spread?" Oh, she knew what was going on; she had a brother herself, not that the boys knew that.
"What makes you ask that?" Shu blinked at her with a lost expression, completely ignoring the hand he had over Touma's mouth. Nasuti raised an eyebrow and Shu grunted and jerked up away from the knee in his gut. "Touma!" he gapped.
Scrambling up and rolling over, Touma flew in a crawl from the bed to the floor with a loud "thump" of a fall. Stumbling up to his feet as he ran, Touma ducked beneath Nasuti's arm and hid behind her. "Thanks Nasuti," he panted, red-faced and chest heaving.
"Whatever for Touma?" she asked as she turned around to look at him. "I just came to say good night." Eyes wide with false innocence and smirk on her lips, she patted Touma's shoulder and walked around him back into the hall. She paused behind Touma, having caught the boy's momentarily devastated expression and wary turn of his eyes to Shu.
Stepping up behind him, she leaned over his shoulder and pressed a kiss to his heated cheek. "Both of you go to bed, no more playing. Pleasant dreams." Then she turned and walked to her own room.
Touma just stood there stunned until Shu threw a pillow at him. Catching it, Touma lowered it and blinked back to reality. Entering the room and closing the door behind him again, he gave Shu a strange look. "Why'd she do that?" he asked quietly, causing the older boy to smile in understanding.
"Mama gave you good-night kisses all the time Touma, you know what it was." Standing from the bed, he started straightening the sheets while watching the younger boy.
"But," he shook his head. "She's not a mother."
It hurt Shu to see the younger boy's confusion in matters of family and relations. "Shin's older sister's the same. It's not so unusual among siblings, you helped me put the kids to bed, remember?"
Touma nodded and dropped the pillow back to the bed, then pulled his pajama shirt off and dropped that beside the bed. He was too hot to sleep with it on now and would have given the boy responsible a glare if he hadn't had other things on his mind. "So she knows we think of her as a sister? Thinks of us the same?"
"As brothers I should hope," Shu intoned with a look, lips twitching teasingly. Touma did glare at him then and the larger laughed. "It's kinda obvious Touma, but it's just not something that's come up for discussion. There's not really been a need." Shu shrugged. "Does it make you uncomfortable?"
Dropping down onto the bed, Touma shook his head after a minute. "No, not really. I just hadn't really given it any thought before, so she surprised me. That and she practically threw me back to you."
Laughing, Shu pushed the boy down and tossed the blankets over him. "She also said to get some sleep, which means no more rough-housing. So much nicer then Mama, she'd have smacked both our hides," he mused on his way back to his own bed.
Sitting up a bit, Touma gave Shu a look. "Are you saying Mama-Faun isn't nice?"
Shu rounded on the boy and pointed a finger at him. "Don't you damn well even think about it brat," he threatened, the smile in his eyes taking the sting from the harsh words. Touma only laughed at him.
"Well," Touma drew, dropping back down onto Shin's pillow. "Aren't sisters generally nicer then parents? They don't have the same responsibility or things."
"Probably. Not gonna get into a debate with you tonight Touma, I do want to get some sleep," he teased, though was more serious then not. The boy could go on for hours about the same thing, analyzing it without once repeating himself.
Laughing softly, Touma rolled over and closed his eyes before Shu turned the light out. "Night Shu."
"Night Touma, sleep well."
The freezing touch of death was stronger then ever before, its touch lingering longer and passed deeper then he thought possible. It consumed him more completely then the pain it caused, then the reality of life without a piece of himself.
Seiji's heart froze in his chest when his scream died and he fell back to his bum and hands on the barren waste-land, his feet twisting when he spun. Blueness like a thin sheet of ice hovered before him, floating in an outline that he couldn't make out; a light from within it highlighting certain parts and making it difficult for Seiji to get a clear image. His frozen heart clinched and his eyes screwed shut with a screech like a Banshee's wail echoed all around them. Hands clutching his ears, his own rising scream was nothing in comparison.
Gasping in heavy breaths, Seiji's eyes snapped open and he stared blankly at his sheets pillowed in his lap. Gathering his wits and trying to accept that he was truly awake, a muffled pounding at the door drew his attention and he realized he had his hands over his ears. Breath hitching, he dropped them away and snapped his attention to Shin. The older boy hadn't woken up.
Scrambling from bed, the door he'd locked after Touma last night forgotten, he stumbled in the tangle of sheets before he half fell on the bed housing Shin. "Shin!" he cried out, grabbing the boy's shoulders with wide, frightened eyes. The boy was pale and his skin cold to the touch even through his clothing. "Shin wake up, please!" he tried shaking the boy.
Shin's discolored lips parted in a soundless scream and unseeing eyes flew open, their glazed color unlike anything the blond had ever seen before. "Shin?" he questioned, hesitant and still frightened.
Gasping, glazed sea-green eyes blinked and focused on the blond over him. "It…shattered…." he whispered, too cold to talk properly as his body started shivering.
"Thank God," Seiji whispered, gathering the older boy up into a desperate hug. Too relieved that Shin was alright to care about the foreboding words, or the fact that the dream had held onto Shin even longer then him this time.
He became aware of soothing hands on his back and nonsense words in his ear after a few minutes and smiled faintly where his face was hidden in Shin's shoulder. Straightening up, grateful that the hands didn't leave as the voice fell silent, Seiji gave the older boy a grateful look. He swiped at his eyes with his shirt sleeve as the door swung open to admit two boys and one girl, all three of whom ran to the bed and surrounded the two immediately.
"We're fine," Shin assured them before anything could be said, giving all three a pointed look over Seiji's head.
"Of course you are," Nasuti agreed with a look of her own. Moving away from the bed, she went and stripped Seiji's of it's heavy comforter and returned to drape it over both shivering boys.
"Thank you," Seiji murmured. Movements slow more from resignation and exhaustion then lingering fear (though that had a hand in it as well), he moved to sit beside Shin so they could share the blanket and the brunt of their friends together. Each held a corner of the blanket so it covered them completely and let Shin keep a comforting arm around Seiji without embarrassing the younger boy. At the moment the blond wasn't so sure he'd have cared about that even without the blanket; all he knew was he did not want to be alone.
Looking between the four boys, Nasuti sighed and tugged on Shu's shirt collar and Touma's hair, as the boy hadn't re-donned his shirt. "Come on you two, back to bed. They'll both be fine now and the door won't be locked again," she gave the two elder boys a pointed look. Touma had said something about Seiji locking it to keep him out last night, no doubt in play; it just went to show the blonde's level of stress that he would have been so thoughtless to have forgotten to unlock it before turning in. It was something they all tried to avoid, past and present, with the risk of an attack still prevalent.
Shu spoke up before Touma could. "Is that what the two of you want? Will you be alright?"
Shin looked to Seiji and found the younger boy was already looking to him. Eyes locked for a moment, Shin slowly nodded. "Yes," his eyes returned to the other two with the drawn word. "We'll be alright. It won't return this night and all five of us need some sleep. Go on back to bed."
Shu shared a look with Touma and the two reluctantly nodded and stood, Nasuti's previous tugging not enough to have pulled them away. "Alright, you know where to find us. Good night Seiji, Shin," Touma's gaze lingered on them as the three made to leave.
Seiji looked over at his younger friend and offered a tired smile. "Good night Touma," he spoke softly; steady voice and something in his eyes doing more for the blue-haired boy then any words. Assured, Touma didn't have so many problems with closing the door behind him.
Sighing, Seiji's shoulder drooped and he leaned forward as he unwound the blanket from around himself. Shin moved the blanket as well, but tightened his arm around the blonde's waist and pulled him back down. He quirked an eyebrow at the younger's look of confusion. "Where do you think you're going?" Shin asked softly, lips twitching faintly in amusement; his eyes were serious though, proof enough this was no game.
Seiji just blinked, thoughts abandoning him. Shin just laughed once and spread the heavy blanket out over the both of them properly, then tugged the sheets out from beneath Seiji only to draw them up properly as well. "I don't know about you," a lie, but he was nothing if not polite. "But I don't want to be alone after that. Any qualms with being a security blanket?"
It was a teasing manner, but it was more to sooth pride that might try to rise up at a bad time. Seiji was grateful for the effort, though he felt he was maturing to the point he wouldn't need it so much; he was certain he wasn't completely rid of that failing point, but the more time he spent with his friends in his war, the more it was chipped away.
"Better then being a stuffed animal I suppose," he teased back, consenting. It didn't take as much effort as one might have thought for the two to get comfortable, Shin's arm still around Seiji; holding the boy securely. Shin had his older sister to run to in the past, and Seiji's younger sister had run to him a few times in the night, so this wasn't completely unfamiliar to either boy. And the beds weren't so small as to make sharing one so uncomfortable.
Shin laughed and folded an arm beneath his pillow. "You're too skinny to be a plushy, Seiji-chan." He got jabbed in the ribs for that and laughed again at the violet-eyed glare directed at him. "Hey now, no need to get violent. Would you rather it the other way around?" Sea-green eyes sparkled with laughter.
"Oh shut up, Little Fish," Seiji muttered and buried his head in his pillow, curled on his side.
Shaking his head, Shin left off further teasing, not wishing to take it too far nor to rile the boy up. They really did need to get back to sleep, and both were relaxed enough to return. Releasing a soft breath, he absently stroked his hand down Seiji's back before tightening his arm and relaxing. "Night Seiji."
"Good night Shin," Seiji's soft voice drifted to him, already sounding half-asleep. Smiling, Shin closed his eyes and fell himself.
To be Continued...