Author's Note: First, I would like to say thank you to my friend Rei-chan for helping me proof read this. Secondly, I wasn't really sure about the rating for this fic, so I decided, just to be safe, that it would have the higher rating. Without further ado, the fic.
Eiri Yuki stood alone in the rain as he looked down at the tombstone of his former lover.
Who would have thought that the perky young man could have ever been slowed down?
Who knew that there was a ticking time bomb inside of the man's body that would destroy him completely and without a chance for treatment?
Who knew that Shuichi Shindou would be taken out by something so disastrous and serious as leukemia?
Once full of life, the raven-haired young man had been confined to a hospital bed, his head shaved and his face pained whenever he smiled. Eiri stayed with him right until the end, holding his Shu-chan's hand right until he left for the next world.
Eiri took one last long look at the tombstone; part of him wanting to laugh at the little figure of Kumagoro that Shuichi had ordered to be put there. But most of the blonde-haired man just wanted to break down crying.
Just cry until he had no more tears left.
Cry until he forgot about the ache in his heart.
Cry until he forgot about the hole in his heart.
Cry until he joined Shuichi…
The man turned on his heel and left, leaving behind a bouquet of flowers.
((Three years later))
Eiri sat on the couch in his New York apartment, his laptop sitting snugly on his lap and a cigarette between his lips. He breathed in deeply, and then let the breath out, nursing old wounds with the nicotine. The phone rang, and Eiri looked at it suspiciously. He hadn't given this number to anyone. Well, except for his publisher, but he never called on weekends.
After a few more moments of staring at the phone, he finally picked up on the sixth ring. Holding the phone to his ear and supporting it with his shoulder, he spoke gruffly, "Yeah, Yuki here, whattya want?"
"Eiri-san? Is that you?" said the voice on the other line.
"Who is calling?" Eiri asked, his eyes narrowing.
"Good to hear from you, Eiri-san. This is Hiroshi Nakano. Remember me?" the man's voice said.
A slight pang went through Eiri's heart, but he pushed the feeling down, "Yeah, Hiro, I remember you. What do you want?"
"Well, I just wanted to know how you were doing. I heard that you moved to New York, but I didn't get all of the details as Fujisaki, Maki and I were on tour then."
Eiri scowled. Maki was the woman that they had gotten to replace his Shuichi in Bad Luck. He never liked the woman; she was always so cocky and thought that every man would instantly fall in love with her. She was a bitch, but unfortunately, she was a bitch with talent.
"Mm." was Eiri's reply.
"Um, so, I am in New York, and uh, well, I am in your apartment building right now. Do you mind if I come up and visit you?" Hiro asked, his voice slightly nervous.
"Maki-bitch isn't with you, is she?"
"No, Maki-chan isn't with me. It is just me and a duffel bag. I kind of ran off for a while. Couldn't really stand being with the band at this time of year, you know? I just…" the man's voice trailed off, not finishing his thought, but Eiri knew exactly what the young man meant. He had felt it over the years himself.
"All right. The girl at reception should be able to tell you what room number I am in. I will fix some tea and then we can get you settled in, okay?"
"Yeah. Thanks, Eiri-san."
"Call me Eiri, Hiro."
"Thank you, Eiri."
"So, are you still working on your romance novels?" Hiro asked, staring down into his teacup and studying the various patterns that the mild made.
"Yes. An American publisher had read some translated versions of my stuff and said that he wanted me to write for him. I write in a weekly magazine now. Each edition is a single chapter of a novel and once the entire book goes through publication in the magazine, it is sold in book form. More money that way, I guess… I don't really care either way, just as long as I have something to do." Eiri explained, fiddling with the teabag in his teacup.
"Mm." the brown-haired man replied.
There was silence for a few moments.
"Did you visit him this year?" Eiri asked.
"Yeah… I left some forget-me-nots with him for you like you asked. I really do think that he likes them. They always last for a long time…"
"Well, they were his favorite."
"I didn't think that he would have talked about flowers."
"Not normally, but you learn interesting things when someone is drunk."
"Ah, yes, I unfortunately got to learn that first hand."
Eiri raised an eyebrow but let it go.
"Is Ayaka-chan doing well?"
"I wouldn't know. She moved away two years ago. She said there wasn't a point in staying with her family anymore, and that her friends were moving away, why shouldn't she?"
"I thought that you two had a thing…"
Hiro shook his head, a small smile on his face, and put down his tea.
"Over the past two years, I have found out that I am not quite as interested in girls as I thought that I was. I dated Fujisaki for about three months before we broke it off, deciding it was best to stay friends. Then it was Sakano. We lasted about… a year actually. It was great, but then he broke it off for no good reason. I didn't start speaking to him again until about a month ago. Most recently there was Tohma. We lasted for five months. It was fun. I got to hang out with Mika and the kid as well. Odd how Mika doesn't really mind her husband fooling around with guys isn't it? I bet she has a girlfriend or something… But anyway, we were going out and then it just didn't work anymore. It became an inconvenience, really."
Eiri stared at Hiro with wide eyes for a moment.
"You are worse than I was at your age!" the blonde exclaimed, causing the young man laugh.
"Yes, well, I guess that I was. But I won't regret it; I can tell you that. I wish that Sakano and I could have patched things up but…" Hiro shrugged his shoulders, "That is how some things end, isn't it? When you don't get to have the last word when the other just ups and leaves."
"Yeah. I know…" Eiri said, his voice distant.
He turned his blue eyes to the window, focusing on the light dusting of snow swirling outside of the window.
"You miss him a lot, don't you?"
"Every day. It doesn't hurt quite as much, but…"
"It still hurts a little?" Hiro offered.
Eiri nodded his head, closing his eyes.
"I just wish that I was able to do something. Anything. Even if it was to die instead of him."
"Eiri…" Hiro said as he moved towards the blonde on the couch. He sat down next to him and placed a hand around his shoulder, hugging him gently. "You couldn't have done anything. People have been trying to cure cancer for years; it isn't something that can just be gotten rid of. And it came so quickly, there wasn't enough warning time to get him enough treatment."
"I know that…" Eiri said, biting his bottom lip, "I know that! I know all of that and I still feel guilty!"
Hiro gazed sadly at the blonde for a moment, and then leaned his head against Eiri's.
"Just know that if you need a shoulder to lean on, an ear to talk to, that I'm your man, all right?"
Eiri turned slightly, looking the brown-haired man in the eyes for a moment. He searched them for their sincerity and upon finding it, he nodded his head.
"Shuichi really knew hot to pick his friends." Eiri said, a ghost of a smile tugging at his lips.
Hiro punched Eiri in the arm lightly before getting up and leaving the room.
"Uh…" Hiro groaned as he lay down on the couch.
The brown-haired man had been running around all day, cleaning the guest bedroom that Eiri had given him, cleaning the bathroom, and filing away papers. Hiro had been ready for some stuff to be messy, saying that Eiri was a bachelor that was consumed by his work, leaving pages of his work everywhere, but he didn't expect the man to be this messy!
Eiri peered over his laptop and raised an eyebrow, "What is it, Hiro? I thought that you were going to leave your room the way it was."
"No way. Not after I woke up and I found an old manuscript of yours next to me… I read some of it, too. How on earth can you write such filth?"
"It gets me food." Eiri replied simply, shrugging his shoulders lightly before going back to his typing.
"Yeah, right…" Hiro said. He rolled off of the couch and landed on the floor with a thud. "Another reason would be the fact that I couldn't find the floor in that room. Was it really a guest bedroom or was it really a filing cabinet? I am suspecting the latter, personally."
A soft chuckle escaped the blonde's lips.
"Perhaps it was a filing cabinet, but now it is Hiro's bedroom, so why worry now?"
Hiro shook his head and then lay still on the floor.
"I need to fix dinner…"
"Don't bother, I ordered in something while you were trying out your housewife impression."
"Hey! I will have you know that I have been the dominant in all of my relationships except for Fujisaki!"
Eiri blinked a moment and then tilted his head to the side. "Fujisaki? You were the sub in that relationship? Guess the kid is a bit manlier than I thought."
Hiro bit the insides of his cheeks to keep himself from retorting and then stalked off to the kitchen, keeping his head down as not to draw attention to the blush that was rushing up his face.
"You look good in red, Hiro."
"Mr. Yuki, would you like to comment on your new book? We hear that it is a tribute to your lover who died a few years ago. Are these statements true?"
"Mr. Yuki, is it true that you are living with another man? What is your relationship with him? Did you meet here or is he a friend from Japan?"
"Mr. Yuki, please answer the questions! Mr. Yuki!"
"Mr. Yuki, what is the inspiration for your new book?"
"Is it really about a girl who dies of leukemia and leaves behind her lover of six years, Mr. Yuki?"
Eiri fished around his pocket for the keys to his apartment. He fumbled as he tried to find them. The blonde tried to ignore the press's questions, but it was getting difficult. He couldn't stand it when someone mentioned Shuichi. He couldn't stand someone who didn't know him bringing the young man up, trying to talk about him like he was either still alive or that he was always the inspiration for his new book."
He couldn't stand it.
He wanted to scream at all of the reporters to just mind their own damn business and just wait until the book came out, but all he could do was lose his grip on his keys and then start pounding on the door.
The door opened slightly.
"Eiri, get in, now!" Hiro hissed, his brown eyes flashing as he saw the reporters.
Many cameras began to flash, faster than ever, trying to get a glimpse of the mysterious man that lived with the great romance novelist.
Hiro pulled Eiri into the apartment and then slammed the door shut, locking the door with a deadbolt, numerous chains and other locks.
"I had the locks changed anyway…"
Eiri gave the man an odd look, "Why did you do that?"
"Let me just say that I had a feeling that that was going to happen at some point. So, I just figured, hell, why not change the locks now and not risk having a reporter stealing the key and snooping around the place? I would rather have new locks and new keys than someone invading our personal lives."
"You know that it would mainly be mine, right?" Eiri asked, leaning back into the chair that he had been able to make his way and collapse into. "They would look through all of my files, drafts and all of that crap… Ugh, readers would know what happened in my books before they are even published!"
"You forgot that my room is where you store all of this information, Eiri. Thus, they would find it in my room. Of course, then they man think that maybe I am the real genius behind all of your books." Hiro said with a laugh.
"Hmph. Imagine their disappointment when they find out that you are nothing but the guitarist from the hit group Bad Luck." Eiri said sarcastically, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms.
"Whatever." Hiro said, sitting down on the couch. He then looked at Eiri for a few moments before continuing, "You looked really flustered when you were trying to get into the apartment."
"Why didn't you let me in sooner then?" Eiri grumbled.
"I was in the shower. I left the news on and when I came out, you were on the television right in front of the door, looking all flustered and about to have some sort of nervous breakdown."
Eiri looked up at Hiro, locking gazes for a moment and then turning away. "It just felt really… Really close…"
"Yeah… Like everything was swooping down on me. They kept talking about Shu… They keep thinking that every book that I write will be about Shuichi and me. It is getting extremely vexing. I just want to pop them all off one by one. But I also want to just sit down in a corner and stay away from it all. It doesn't make any sense."
"Thinks like this rarely do make sense, Eiri." Hiro responded, looking sadly at the blonde.
"I still want Shu back. I just wish this was all a dream… a really bad dream, and when I wake up, that damn brat will be next to me, smiling his stupid smile.
Hiro nodded his head sadly, truly understanding how Eiri felt. There were time after Shuichi's death that the man had completely forgotten that his childhood friend had passed away, calling Mrs. Shindou's house and asking for him. Or going to the studio and waiting for three hours for the charismatic singer to finally show up saying that he had 'slept in'. And each time that he realized his mistake, he apologized profusely and then went off on his own, either breaking down or going out for a drink. He knew that it must have been worse for Eiri, but at least he understood the general concept.
The two sat in silence for a few minutes until Hiro got up and walked over to Eiri, sitting on the arm of his chair.
"Would you like me to be Shuichi for you tonight?" he asked, his voice barely a whisper.
Eiri looked at the man with sad eyes for a moment and then nodded.
When Hiro woke up in the morning, he was slightly confused as to where he was. The bed that he was in wasn't his, and the room was definitely not his. There were papers strewn all over the place, an ashtray on the nightstand, and a few scattered awards her and there for writing.
Hiro then remembered last night and he smiled slightly as he turned over to find the blonde sleeping soundly next to him.
The brown-haired man gazed at the other for a while before slipping out of bed and making his way to the shower.
He turned on the hot water and then stepped underneath the steady stream. He let the water soak into his hair, making it damp and heavy. His skin soon became red from the heat, but he didn't care. He simply wanted to think, and he felt that he did so the best while in the shower.
Hiro had to admit, last night was incredible, and he also had to admit that Shuichi had had great taste in men. He hadn't felt as comfortable with anyone like he did with Eiri, not even Sakano. He felt like was the only one on Eiri's mind, like the man blocked everyone and everything out, just for him. But that couldn't have been… How could it? Hadn't Hiro asked if he could be Shuichi for him that night? Didn't that mean that Eiri was imagining Shuichi there in Hiro's place?
But there was another thing… Eiri had called out Hiro's name, not Shuichi's.
Hiro leaned his head on the slick wall of the shower and sighed deeply.
All of this was so confusing.
"What are you trying to do? Drown yourself?" Eiri asked groggily as he looked at Hiro.
The blonde then climbed into the shower as well and let the water splash over him.
"You know, your skin is burnt. You really should get out of the shower…"
"Helps me think." Hiro replied dully.
"About what?" Eiri asked, his voice regaining its normal tone by the second.
"Just… just… this." Hiro said, gesturing at the two of them.
"what about it?" Eiri asked as he turned off the water.
Hiro looked up into Eiri's eyes for a moment, then tilted his head.
"Am I Hiro, or am I Shuichi?"
A startled expression spread across Eiri's face for a moment, but then it was wiped away by a look of thoughtfulness.
"Hiro. You are Hiro."
Hiro blinked. "Really?"
"Yes. No one can take that brat's place, no matter how much I think that someone can… He was one of a kind. They not only broke the mold when they made him, but they shattered it, burned it, drowned it, and turned it into pudding."
Hiro chuckled lightly.
"I never really thought of putting it that way."
"Well, I have had nine years to think of that."
"I've had fourteen years."
"So, I'm me, then? You weren't thinking of Shu?" Hiro asked, wondering if he sounded too hopeful or not.
"No, I wasn't. I was thinking of you." Eiri replied. "I don't know why, but I feel comfortable around you. I feel… like you know a side of me that I will never let anybody know, a side that not even Shuichi knew. I feel… I feel naked around you. Like you see everything inside of me and understand it. It sounds weird and I can't really explain it but..."
Hiro leaned forward and then captured Eiri's lips with his. He wrapped his arms around the other man's neck, pulling him closer and making the kiss deeper. The brown-haired man could feel one of Eiri's hands in his damp hair, the other around his slim waist, holding him possessively.
Hiro pushed his tongue against Eiri's lips, seeking entrance, and once the blonde gave permission, it explored the man's mouth fully, feeling for every crevice and dip. He then licked Eiri's tongue, tasting the sweetness that was Eiri. The other tongue did the same, thought seeming to be a little shyer.
The brown-haired man then broke the kiss, breathing somewhat labored due to lack of oxygen.
Eiri looked at the other with confused eyes and Hiro had to back a laugh at how much the man looked like a puppy like that.
"I feel it too when I am around you." Hiro whispered.
"What?" Eiri asked.