Chapter 2 - Aftermath
Dedicated to Jadeheart – You are the Queen of Angst and a great friend. I hope to one day be able to write masterpieces like your Gravity falls stories which helped inspire me to tackle this difficult topic.
Eiri had to get away for a few minutes. This had been one of the most intimate experiences of his life and he was still reeling from it. He hated to leave Shuichi alone, but he knew he'd go crazy if he didn't have a moment to recollect himself. He gently untangled himself from his lover and sat up.
"I need to go get myself cleaned up. I'll come back and help you in a few minutes." Not waiting for a reply, he quickly got out of bed and walked into the bathroom.
Eiri wished he could wash his feelings away as easily as he washed the blood and sweat from his body. Anger, guilt, regret, and sadness were all tangled up in his cloudy memories, which, mixed together in his current raw state, were all overwhelming. He stood in the shower, letting the water cascade over him as he tried to quiet his thoughts. He knew he had pills that would settle his mind, yet they tended to render him numb and befuddled. Eiri didn't think he wanted to live that way anymore. However, he'd have to think about it later; Shuichi was waiting for him.
Eiri stepped out of the shower and toweled himself off. He turned the water on for the tub, thinking that a quick soak for Shuichi might help his stiff muscles. He still wasn't sure how injured Shuichi really was. Eiri knew what they had done had hurt his lover, but he wasn't sure to what extent. Shuichi had refused to talk about it, simply thanking Eiri, promising that he was ok. Eiri's arms had given out in the end; he couldn't keep himself up off Shuichi's battered torso forever, and he knew there was no way he'd have had an orgasm with all the anxiety he was feeling. He sighed, turned the water off and headed back towards the bedroom.
He couldn't help but feel the corners of his mouth try to turn up at the sight of Shuichi curled up in his bed. He had really missed the brat. Eiri ruffled Shuichi's hair, "I'm back. It's your turn, now."
Shuichi jumped a little at the sound of Eiri's voice, but he nuzzled into his hand. Shuichi yawned as he lazily stretched sitting up in bed.
"You ok?" Eiri asked.
"Yeah, just stiff." Shuichi yawned again. "Can you help me up?"
Eiri took Shuichi's proffered hands and pulled him out of bed. He ended up half carrying and half dragging the brat into the bathroom. The novelist hated to do it, but there was no way he could clean him up in the bedroom. Furthermore, he thought that Shuichi waking up messy would be more traumatic than what he was currently doing.
Leaning Shuichi against the bathroom wall rather than chance trying to sit on the bathing stool, he carefully cleaned his lover up. Shuichi just stood there with his eyes closed, enjoying the feeling of the water and gentle strokes from the washcloth. Eiri then helped him into the tub.
"This will help."
Shuichi let out a moan as he settled into the warm water; it did feel good. "Are you coming in too?" he asked quietly.
Eiri shook his head. "Not right yet. I'm going to go get ready for bed and then I'll come back for you."
"Ok," Shuichi quietly replied. He pulled his knees up to his chest and laid his head against the side of the tub, willing himself to relax. He tried to concentrate on Yuki still being here with him, that he was taking care of him. That was all that mattered right now.
"Call if you need something," Eiri said as he headed back towards the bedroom, not bothering to turn on the lights. He didn't want to see the mess any more than he wanted Shuichi to see it, the evidence of what they had done. What had they done? He began stripping the bed. Fucked? No, this was way more profound than any 'fuck' he had ever had. Sex? That sounded odd as well. Perhaps they had made love, just as Shuichi had asked. Either way, it had made Eiri feel more vulnerable than he had allowed himself to feel in years, since before that hazy time he never could never quite remember.
Eiri wadded up the soiled linens and pillow, snagging the pair of panties to add to the bundle on his way out the door and into the kitchen. He stuffed it all into a garbage bag to dispose of in the morning; he had no desire to ever see those items again. He took out a clean set of sheets from the hall closet, and stopped on his way back to the bedroom to check on Shuichi. He stood there a minute just watching him. He looked so pitiful and lost in the tub. It made Eiri's own eyes water, triggering another shadowy thought to claw its way to the surface – he had seen someone else with that look, and he had the sneaking suspicion that it might have been himself. He again pushed those thoughts from his mind.
Shaking his head, the novelist continued on to the bedroom, quickly remaking the bed. Once he had grabbed a glass of water and a couple of pill bottles, he went to retrieve Shuichi.
"You ready for bed?" he asked as he laid his hands on the singer's shoulders.
Shuichi nodded and stood up, the water sheeting down into the tub off his body. Eiri couldn't help but be struck by the thought that Shuichi was truly beautiful, even with the current marks marring his tanned skin. He leaned forward with the towel, wrapping it and his arms around his boy's shoulders as he pulled him close.
"You're looking cute right now, "he said as he leaned forward, giving the singer a chaste kiss.
Shuichi blushed as he took the novelist's hand and unsteadily exited the tub. Eiri tried not to look at the damage as he carefully toweled him off. Shuichi was still being compliant as the novelist led them back to bed; it was eerie how quiet the boy had gone.
He stopped the singer from climbing into bed. "Here, take these," Eiri said, handing him three pills.
"What are they?" Shuichi asked even as he moved to pop the pills into his mouth.
Eiri couldn't believe how trusting the singer still was, despite all that had happened. "It's a sedative and some pain killers. They will help you fall asleep and stay asleep tonight." The novelist handed him the glass of water next. "Drink the whole glass of water with it."
Shuichi obediently drank the water down, not wanting to argue with the author. He slumped into bed and pulled the covers up to his chin. Eiri noticed that Shuichi had begun to shake and he quickly climbed into bed with him. Shuichi let Eiri hold him, but he didn't relax his posture as he started to make a couple of little gasping sounds. Eiri leaned up, concerned. He was not surprised to see the tears that were coursing down his lover's face. Eiri had known the tears would come again. Something in his mind said that this was normal.
"Come here," Eiri said as he sat up and gently pulled Shuichi into his lap. Eiri let him cry, gently rubbing his back.
Shuichi tilted his head up, a wild look in his eyes. "Please don't leave me Yuki… Please stay," he begged, his voice rough with tears.
Eiri rocked Shuichi gently. "I'm here right now," was the only comfort he could give. Eiri knew he'd be leaving in the morning as well as Shuichi did.
When Shuichi's sobs began to die down, Eiri figured the sleeping pill was kicking in. Normally it only took ten to fifteen minutes to go into affect, so he was confident that his boy would be out soon. He continued to rub his back and make soothing noises.
Shuichi fought against the sleepiness as he looked up at Eiri again. "I don't wanna be alone… Please Yuki, don't leave me alone."
"You're not alone. You have Hiro, Maiko, and your friends at NG. Go to sleep. Your body needs the rest."
"It's you that I want. No one else matters if I can't have you," he choked out past his broken sobbing.
That last statement cut into Eiri's heart. He leaned down to kiss Shuichi, unable to give him any more comfort than that. He kissed him until Shuichi started to slump in his lap, the drugs winning over. He tenderly laid him back down, settling in beside him. He didn't even protest when two delicate arms wrapped around him, clinging with a death grip.
When Shuichi's breathing finally began to even out, Eiri moved to caress his face, ever so gently tilting it up so that he could gaze at the peaceful expression that sleep had brought. Seeing that he really was asleep, Eiri couldn't stop himself from placing a final kiss on Shuichi's upturned forehead. He lay back, gently pulling Shuichi closer to him and closing his eyes. He tried to savor the feeling of having someone that loved him by his side.
His family was always telling him how fragile his mind was. Eiri agreed, he couldn't always remember things about his childhood or his time in New York. His lack of coherent memories was further exacerbated by the constant flow of pills from his different doctors. He was ready to stop hiding from whatever was locked in his mind and figure out who he really was. Maybe then, he would be strong enough to protect someone without having to run away from them.
Eiri let out a weary sigh as he looked at the person sleeping beside him. Shuichi's pink hair was sticking straight up and he was curled up with his back to Eiri. Between Shuichi's fitful jerking and his own guilt and worries, he had hardly gotten any sleep. It was now 7AM, he might as well get up and get today over with.
Eiri was convinced that he should leave, now more than ever. He had been the cause of Shuichi's rape. That lazy eyed son of a bitch had threatened Shuichi with their relationship and harm to Eiri himself. It was only a matter of time before more harm would come to the singer. He knew if he allowed his lover to endure anymore pain because of him, that he himself would break apart. That was why he had to get away and try to save Shuichi, hopefully saving himself as well.
When Nakano told him what had happened, that Shuichi had been raped, he had wanted to kill. The fury nearly overtook him. When he saw Shuichi, broken and injured, it made his own heart hurt in response. Eiri was so puzzled by these strong emotions that were overwhelming him; he had never been good at understanding or expressing his feelings. However, he wondered for the first time if this fierce need to protect, to protect Shuichi no matter the cost, was love?
Could honor and sacrifice be at work here? Shuichi had sacrificed something sacred for Eiri and therefore he would honor his sacrifice by making one in return. Eiri would leave his confusing brat, the only person he had ever felt such strong feelings for, to ensure his safety. Eiri slowly slid out of bed and made his way to the bathroom, ready to begin preparations for his journey.
It had only taken about an hour. Eiri didn't really have many things to pack; only his laptop, some notes on his current novel, a couple of photos, his journal and his bag of pills. Eiri had hastily thrown some shirts and pants into his bag, not really worried about which he was taking. He could always buy more if he ran out.
He stood by the bed, watching Shuichi. He was sprawled out across the bed, filling up the space Eiri had vacated. He was tempted to wake him so they could share a passionate goodbye kiss, or so he could look in those violet eyes one more time. Eiri shook his head. Where were these sappy thoughts coming from? He'd be fine without this pink haired distraction in his life. He could write from Kyoto just as well as Tokyo. A tiny voice in his head added that perhaps Eiri couldn't face Shuichi again after allowing himself to be so vulnerable last night. That experience had left him feeling raw inside, it would bother him for a long time to come.
Settling on giving Shuichi's hair a final tousle, he picked up his bag and walked out of the apartment. Out of his lover's life.
In the morning, Shuichi woke late. He was confused as he rolled over, taking in his surroundings. He was naked, in Yuki's bed, and his whole body was killing him. Suddenly, all that had happened came crashing back as he sat up with a grunt from his protesting stomach muscles. He frantically looked around, searching for the author. However, all he saw was the tidy bedroom. He tried to jump out of bed, but with the stiffness of his muscles it ended up a stumble.
He hobbled out the bedroom door, searching for Yuki. He methodically checked every room, calling "Yuki" over and over again, each cry getting softer. After checking the hall closet he returned to look in the bedroom closet as his last resort. Several shirts and pants were missing, leaving gaps in the organized closet.
He went to Yuki's dresser and got out boxers and a white undershirt, slipping them on carefully. He turned and spotted a bottle and note on the nightstand. How could he have missed this when he first woke up? His hands trembled as he picked up the note; it was in Yuki's neat handwriting. Holding it reverently, he read 'Take this.' He frowned, and then picked up the bottle. It was painkillers, probably the same ones he had taken last night. He briefly wondered if Yuki meant for him to take the whole bottle, but quickly shoved those disturbing thoughts from his head. Yuki cared about him. If nothing else he was certain about that from last night. Even if Yuki wasn't here right this minute, he had been thinking about Shuichi when he left this out.
He laid the note back down, feeling a tiny spark of hope as he retraced his steps to the study. Shuichi had been afraid to open the door, but he tried the knob anyway; surprised when it swung open soundlessly. There sat the writer's desk, bare, no familiar sights of the laptop and sticky notes normally covering the surface. He hastily made his way over to it, to check under the desk and in the drawers to make sure Eiri hadn't simply stored it. But the desk was empty, only the bottom drawer had anything in it, and that looked like old bills and credit card receipts, nothing of a personal nature. Shuichi let himself sink down into Eiri's chair, folding his arms and cradling his head in them on top of the desk.
He couldn't hold onto hope any longer - his lover had truly left him. He let the tears flow down his cheeks unchecked. Here in this room, which smelled so strongly of his scent, stale cigarette smoke and cologne, he found himself groping for solace as his heart broke. He knew last night that this would happen, but somehow he had let Yuki's tender actions make him believe it could be different.
Shuichi tried to take stock of the situation. He was sure when he first awoke last night, Yuki had tears in his eyes as he told him that he wouldn't say he hated him anymore, that he would be the one to vanish 1. He had accepted him and shown more tenderness and love to him than he had thought possible from the author. Yes, his love had left, but he had not rejected him. He had not been repulsed by his battered body, or the taint that lingered on it.
At that thought, Shuichi was assailed by images of his attack by Aizawa. He staggered to his feet and ran to the bathroom. Falling painfully to his knees he began to vomit, unable to stop his physical reaction to the vivid memories of groping hands and tearing flesh. When Shuichi had emptied all his stomach held, he leaned back letting his head mercifully rest against the wall.
Well, Yuki had kept his word – he had vanished. Shuichi let out a low moan as he thought about that. Yuki was gone. He didn't know what he'd do now. He had already thought their relationship was over, but after seeing such tenderness in from him last night, how could he give up on them? Surely Yuki didn't hate him. It made his heart nearly burst to think that the novelist might care deeply for him… not love, but care at least. Yuki was the man he loved, regardless if he was here right now or not; it didn't affect how much Shuichi loved him.
His main concern was for Yuki first. However, the writer was messed up, something obviously had happened to him. Mika had told him that the man Shuichi currently knew was a fake (2). Could he take whatever Yuki's past was? If the writer could so easily accept what had happened, then perhaps something like that had happened to him as well?
Shuichi turned his head back to the toilet and gagged at the thought. Had his lover been violated and hurt like him, had someone left him broken and bleeding? He retched this time, unable to hold back even if it was just bile. He slumped to the floor and pulled his knees up towards his chest. He couldn't continue with these thoughts, he had to be strong for Yuki. He had to decide if he could handle whatever the blonde's past held.
Shuichi didn't even notice the tears until he started to cough. He was sobbing so hard he was having trouble breathing, letting the tears run down his face unchecked. He would get past this. Yuki had accepted him, and that was enough. What anyone else thought didn't matter. Even Shuichi's own belief that he was worthless didn't matter. His lover had accepted him, had even made love to him despite the blood and bruises, all the evidence of their use of him. Shuichi still couldn't shake the feeling of being unclean, but if Yuki could see past that, then he too would one day see past it.
Shuichi laid on the floor crying until he'd ran out of tears. He continued laying there in the wetness, shivering from the cold but unable to force himself up and out of the bathroom. Once he took that first step out, he would have to leave, and that would break his last tenuous link to Yuki. Therefore he stayed on the floor until he fell asleep, his body exhausted from the strain of the past 48 hours.
When he awoke he was freezing. He slowly pushed himself up off the floor, his face sticky as it pulled away from its place on the floor. He realized that he had to do something. If he didn't start moving, he might stay in this apartment paralyzed to leave, hoping against hope that the novelist would return. He shakily stood up, stretching, feeling better as his back and neck popped back into alignment.
Flipping on the light switch, he grabbed a washcloth from the linen shelf and wet it. He started washing the tears and snot from his face, scrubbing harder than was necessary to try to prevent them from returning. He looked up at himself in the mirror, letting the washcloth drop into the basin. His face seemed different, was it because his eyes were swollen and puffy from all the crying? His cheeks seemed more angular, and he seemed paler. He followed his reflection down his face to the tableau of bruises marking his torso. He looked further down, past where the mirror ended, but he quickly averted his eyes. He wasn't ready to deal with the handprints bruised onto his hips, or the dark blotches marking his thighs. Better to think of it as a beating, not allow himself to think that it was so much more.
Shuichi filled the sink cup and forced himself to drink; he knew his body had to be dehydrated even if he wasn't hungry or thirsty. He gingerly relieved himself, trying to avoid touching any of the painful friction burns on his penis. It was time to say goodbye to this place and go home.
Shuichi dragged his feet as he made his way back to the bedroom. He went into Eiri's closet, pressing his face into the clothes trying to inhale his lover's scent. He selected a blue dress shirt, and put it on over the white undershirt he was wearing, rolling up the cuffs. He found his bag placed neatly in the corner of the bedroom and dug out the pants he'd had on earlier in the studio.
He gathered up his sister's uniform, folding it neatly before stuffing it into his bag. Taking the note from the nightstand, he placed it carefully into his shirt pocket. Looking around the bedroom one last time, Shuichi couldn't stop himself from diving onto the bed, burying his face into Eiri's pillow. He let a few tears fall before forcing himself up and moving, he had no time for grieving. It was over and done with now.
He picked up the pill bottle, taking two out. Pulling out his cell from his pant's pocket, he called for a cab. He had no intention of walking by himself. He swallowed the pills as the dispatcher informed him that a driver would be there in fifteen minutes. Shuichi decided to take a final tour of the apartment, since this would be his last visit. He couldn't stop the wave of memories that swept over him; good ones of Yuki holding him on the couch, bad ones of being yelled at for interrupting the author's work in the study, and sensual ones of them together in the bedroom.
Unable to stop himself from pilfering one of Yuki's dirty shirts from the laundry, he held it up to his nose to inhale. Ah, this was his Yuki's scent – cigarettes, cologne, and that spicy scent that was all his own. Shuichi stuffed it into his bag hurriedly before slipping on his sneakers. Just as he was opening to door to leave, he saw it. Gleaming in the falling shaft of light from the door, there lay a key on the hall table. Yuki really wasn't coming back here; this was his final message to Shuichi.
Shuichi blinked back a tear, he had to be strong for Yuki, he was alive and there was always hope. As soon as he decided if he could handle whatever the blonde's secrets were, he'd go find him and drag him back.
Shuichi knew if he could see himself as Yuki had seen him that he would be ok. That if he could hold onto the vision of himself, it could override the self loathing he felt. He was sullied, disgusting, defiled… no one would ever want him in his dishonorable condition now, he was damaged goods.
However, Eiri had so lovingly touched him, kissing his bruises and scratches, tenderly venturing to touch him down there. He had made him feel desirable and cherished last night. Shuichi had that handful of precious memories to hold onto; Yuki had at least honored his sacrifice.
A loud honk was heard from outside as Shuichi shook himself out of his reverie. He pocketed the key quickly as he turned to lock the apartment. He ran towards the stairs, ready to meet his new life head on.
1 - Volume 4, Track 14
2 - Volume 4 Track 15 pg103
A/N: I am not sure if this is the end. I had thought of writing more, about when Eiri and Shu return from the temple after Shuichi breaks up Eiri's marriage contract with Ayaka. I need to study the manga more to decide if I have enough for a chapter/story.
I personally don't think Eiri is responsible for Shuichi's rape – but Eiri did blame himself. He tells Tohma that it was his fault in Volume 5 before he starts freaking out leading up to the vomiting blood part. This was the only way I could see justifying why Eiri would have left Shuichi at such a vulnerable moment.
A HUGE thank you to ffpanda for encouraging me, beta'ing this more than once, and just being the wonderful queen of smut and friend that you are! Despina gave me the huge kick in the ass I needed to get over Shu being angsty in this chapter – thanks you are always so good at that. Hawkcloud also took time out of her busy end of year projects to try to teach me some grammar – thank you!