Disclaimer: - I do not own Gravitation. The characters and story belong to the amazing Maki Murakami- sensei.

Chapter Twenty.


"Flight 287 leaving for Tokyo now boarding. All passengers report to the designated gate. I repeat, all passengers report to the designated gate."

Ryuichi sighed and got up from his seat, making sure that his sunglasses were seated on the bridge of his nose, he started for the boarding gates. A quick stop in Tokyo, then he was going to head out for New York. He was sure that Reiji was suffering acutely about now, he had left New York under false pretenses that he was going to be suffering for very soon. Shaking his head, he wondered whether she was going to lock him up for a month for his transgressions. The thought made him smile as he strolled toward the gate. Momentarily forgetting his aching heart and the reason he was running away from Taipei.

"Ryu-I-chi!" The name was called out in a loud call, the syllables emphasized in a cute singsong manner. The voice was more familiar to him than his and for a minute he stood frozen in the busy airport afraid to turn around and confirm it.

"How could you leave like this?" Shuichi asked as he ran up to him and grabbed a hold of his jacket. "Don't you know that people say goodbye before they leave?"

Ryuichi swallowed hard grateful for the glasses that were hiding his eyes. He was sure that the expression in them would betray his thoughts on saying goodbye to this beautiful brat. The hand on his jacket pulled and he had no choice but to turn around and face Shuichi. Forcing a smile on his face, he said

"What to do? I don't really like saying goodbye."

Shuichi sighed and crossed his arms against his chest, staring at Ryuichi, the anger he had been feeling at the older man for leaving so abruptly boiled over. When they had emerged from studio and Yuki had told him about Ryuichi leaving the most curious feeling of panic had overcome him. It was overwhelming how worried he had become. He practically ran from the studio still in his stage costume, not even the makeup they had put on his face was off. Reaching out, he grabbed a hold of Ryuichi's coat lapels and started shaking him, "Yah! What planet are you from? How can you just leave like that? Not a note, not a word, you just left. Do you know how worried I was when Yuki told me? Huh!"

Too much, Ryuichi thought. He couldn't handle anymore of this. This was hard enough as it was. He had wanted to leave with grace but if Shuichi kept pushing and pulling on him like this, it was not going to happen.

"Shuichi, not everything goes how you want it to. It's time for me to leave." Ryuichi answered as calmly as he could. Reaching up, he grabbed Shuichi's wrists and held on, holding them tightly with every intention of pushing him away, but for some reason found himself holding on instead. "Let me go now, hmm. Its over now, Yuki is back, he'll take care of you."

"Ryu." Shuichi let out quietly, clumping the expensive fabric under his fingers and not caring that he was ruining it. "Don't leave. Please don't leave me."

Ryuichi felt tears sting the back of his eyes. "Shu-chan we can't continue on like this. We have to stop soon, I have to go back to my life and you yours."

Shuichi shook his head and held on tighter; somehow he got the feeling that Ryuichi leaving so suddenly and quietly meant that their relationship was changing considerably. The closeness they had achieved in the past few months felt like it was slipping away from him. "Why are you just leaving this time? I always came to the airport with you before? Why did you just leave?"

The question was to be expected, Ryuichi thought sadly, looking down at Shuichi's amethyst gaze through the tinted lenses of his glasses. How could anyone be this unobservant? "Shu-chan. Baka."

"What does that have to do with anything? Why are you leaving like a thief in the night? Why? Why!"

Ryuichi closed his eyes and answered quietly, aware that the crowd around them was taking interest and they were slowly gathering around. "Don't ask that question so casually, Shuichi. I'll want to tell you the truth and I can't do that. I'm sorry I did not tell you I was leaving."

The quiet words went through Shuichi like a cold breeze, forcing him to reach up and pull off Ryuichi's glasses. He wanted to see, he wanted to know why Ryuichi was leaving like this. Why he wanted to walk away without saying a word. After offering his strength and his friendship without any doubts. The support Ryuichi had given him through the past six months was just more than he could ever repay. But the moment the glasses came off, Ryuichi turned his head away and pulled Shuichi fiercely into his chest. His fingers sinking into the dark hair that he had caressed so many times. Just with that one action, Shuichi realized why this was happening.

Closing his eyes against the reality of losing Ryuichi, Shuichi took in a deep breath and said his voice muffled in Ryuichi's shirt, "I'm your number one fan, don't you ever forget that. Call me everyday, tell me if that Reiji is giving you trouble, I'll send Yuki after her, you hear me. And when you come back to Tokyo, tell me alright…that way I'll stock your refrigerator for you."

Ryuichi chuckled at that last one, knowing that it still hadn't sank in for Shuichi that he would be living with Yuki. Judging from the expression on the other man's face when he had been talking to him, there was no way he was going to be letting Shuichi out of his sight.

"I promise all those things." Ryuichi whispered holding on tightly. "I have to go now, my flight."

Shuichi nodded his head, and forced his fingers to uncurl from Ryuichi's shirt, sniffling quietly, he brushed the tell tale tears on his cheeks away before he took a step back. Handing the coveted glasses to Ryuichi, he watched as the older man put them on and took in a deep breath. Giving him a big smile, Shuichi bowed his head,

"Thank you for everything. I'll never forget." Then surprising both of them, he leaned up and placed a big kiss on Ryuichi's mouth, before he turned away and took off at a run. A big grin playing on his lips at what he had just done.

Recovering from the sweet kiss he had been craving but too proud to ask for, Ryuichi grinned and turned toward the boarding gates. A few minutes when he was settled in his seat, his phone buzzed and he pulled it out to find a text message from Shuichi. Opening it, he started, "I know why you left. I'm glad you didn't tell me. You'll always be my friend Ryu, no matter what. Oh, by the way...call this number after you read this."

Staring at those words, he sighed shakily, the need to get off the plane and go after that idiot a bit overwhelming. But then he forced his thoughts away and concentrated on punching the numbers Shu-chan had given him. "Moshi, Moshi." A cheerful Yuki-san sounding voice came at him.

Chuckling at Shuichi's sense of humor, he answered, "Hi, Tatsuha. Ryuichi here."

Humming the melody under his breath, Shuichi attempted to think up words that fit the flow and feel of the music. But nothing popped into his mind. It was as though all he could see was a long flat line in the darkness that was driving him crazy. Sighing he stopped humming and brought his gaze up to stare at his lover. They were in their suite, in a hotel in Seoul and Yuki was busy typing away on his laptop, an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. The concentration on his face was so deep that Shuichi doubted the man would hear a bomb go off a few feet away. How was it that he could not master such a level of devotion to writing his lyrics? Seriously, he had less than two days to get the last song out. To be truthful, this was the hardest one ever, the four before had been easy, the melodies upbeat, emotionally they had been about finding happiness and that he had been able to write without a problem. His happiness was seated a few feet away typing up love stories with mind-blowing plots. The last song however was a melody that demanded a little more deep thinking. Its elegant sound, and arrangement demanded he dig deeper inside for the lyrics to match. I should be able to do that, he thought with a short sigh.

"If you sigh again, I'm going to light this cigarette and forget all consideration for your health." Yuki cut in to his thoughts with his amused remark. "Writing lyrics can't be this hard can it? Do you want me to help you?"

"No." Shuichi answered a bit too quickly surprising Yuki. Noting the expression on Yuki's face, he explained, "I want to do this alone, don't take it personally."

"Haven't you begged me before to write lyrics for you?" Yuki asked, turning his seat around so that he was studying Shuichi carefully. "I realize that this is your band, and your sound, but you have forty-eight hours left, less than that if we get technical. This song needs lyrics. Or we're going to be flying to Europe and learning how to like it."

"Don't pester me too." Shuichi snapped jumping off the couch he was seated on and throwing the notebook he had been holding on the glass table. He was tired of hearing them all telling him to write lyrics. It wasn't so easy. He couldn't just open a tap and out they came on demand. It simply didn't work that way. He thought Yuki understood that about him best. "I can't handle it if you're going to be pushing me around too."

"Why are you angry now?" Yuki asked, his brow raised, as he took in Shuichi's black slacks and open matching shirt, his dark hair sticking up from all the times he had ran his fingers through it. Despite the disheveled state he was gorgeous as always, those amethyst eyes flared in anger and passion, emotions that were clearly more intense than he remembered. The past week he had discovered, living so close to Shuichi that the younger man had changed in so many ways he was beginning to resent not being around to share these changes. Added on to the hyper active side, Shuichi's thoughtful side had matured. At meetings usually held in their suite sometimes, Shuichi voiced opinions and suggestions about the tour with so much intelligence that Yuki paused in his writing to listen to him talk. Shuichi's consideration for the crew working with them, the crowds coming to see them surprised and awed him. So much so, that when the ridiculous antics started he tended to be a little surprised and shocked that the same man had been making decisions a minute before. To think that Ryuichi had had the privilege of watching each and every change burned him more than anything. Not to mention that the brat had run after Ryuichi to bid him goodbye, they had yet to discuss that topic. It seemed as though Shuichi was avoiding it like the plague. Did he miss that man? "Do you want me to call Ryuichi for you? Maybe he can make things better."

Shuichi stared at Yuki, his mind trying to process that comment and the tone used to make it. Was he jealous? It was hard to tell. Although he dared not admit that he missed having a little bit of Ryuichi's experience around. How was he supposed to discuss with Yuki how nervous he was about standing before all his fans and telling them everything there was to know about his love life? Yuki would just scoff and say that he had chosen the profession; he should be able to deal with such a trivial thing. But it wasn't trivial was it? No, it was a big deal considering their relationship was on the shakiest foundation. Even knowing how much they loved each other, there was still so much left unsaid between them. Love wasn't everything.

The question came out automatically, "What is that supposed to mean? Ryu never helped me write any lyrics. All he did was spent time with me."

"Oh yeah, you were so close that Ryu and you ended up in bed together." Yuki pointed out, hoping to get a reaction out of that.

"I can't handle this right now." Shuichi decided, turning toward the door, his bare feet silent on the carpet as he headed out. He needed to clear his mind and listening to Yuki bitch was not what he needed. He was liable to lose to Tohma and that was scaring him more than he wanted anyone to let on. Where was his confidence? Oh yes, he had forgotten, Yuki was busy trampling on it at the moment. What did it matter that he liked Ryuichi as a friend? Why did Yuki have to keep throwing that argument at him?

"That's right, run away from a fight. You love to do that don't you? You've perfected the technique so well; that the last time you ran for six months. Tell me Shuichi, what would have happened had I not come looking for you?" Yuki questioned, standing up too, removing the cigarette from his lips and pointing at Shuichi with it, "Would you have fallen for Ryuichi and decided to shack up with him or would you have challenged Tohma and fought to be with me? Which one of those two would have been your choice?"

None. Shuichi thought as he pulled the door open and slammed it closed behind him. He would have ended up going in search of Yuki. He knew that deep in his heart. It would just have been a matter of time, and then the cold and unbearable loneliness would have sent him back to Tokyo and Yuki, regardless of whether Yuki loved him or not. But he would never have challenged Tohma because the strength to do so had been brought about by Yuki telling him he loved him. Buttoning his shirt, he took the remaining stairs up and stepped onto the rooftop of the hotel. His gaze sweeping over the city before him, and the wind blowing in his ears blocking out his thoughts. He would stay up here for a while, and then he would return back down to face his lover.

Stepping into the living room area in Hiro's room, he smiled when he saw Suguru, Sakano, K and Hiro all seated on the couches look up at him expectantly. He knew what they wanted to hear, but,

"Sorry guys. I don't think it worked. He got angry with me and left. Maybe we should really call Ryuichi back here."

Hiro scoffed and shook his head, "Like that would make you happy. Don't complicate the situation more than it is." He was well aware of Yuki's feelings toward the relationship Shuichi had with the Nittle Grasper lead singer. "What else can we do to get our lyrics?"

"I don't know." Suguru said, "Shuichi's mind is very simple sometimes, I can't believe that he needs to be feeling something to write decent lyrics."

"Not everyone is as cold as you Suguru." Yuki pointed out, settling into an armchair by the window and gratefully lighting up his cigarette. "To add on to this, I think he is worried about that interview Tohma promised. This is such bullshit, why can't you people have normal lives, and act like normal singers."

"Then we wouldn't be unique." Hiro said with a smile, leaning his head back against the couch. This was not the first time that Shuichi had been unable to write lyrics. Usually it was a regular thing to happen, and Shuichi always ended up brainstorming with the whole band and coming up with lyrics. But this time, he had not even asked for help, not even from Ryuichi. He knew because he had called Ryuichi to see if he could offer Shuichi a few pointers, but Ryuichi had said that the boy had declined his help.

"But something is not right." Yuki said out loud, blowing out smoke into the air, as he stared out the windows, "Shuichi is too contained, he should be running around in complete panic, but he is holding everything in."

"So you've noticed too." K said, his sharp gaze moving to Yuki. He had wondered when the man would notice Shuichi's odd behavior. It was apparent Shuichi was worried about their relationship and what Yuki thought the interview. But who was he to point out the obvious when the drama was so entertaining. "Why don't you talk to him, take him out to dinner or something."

"Do you realize that we can't step out of this hotel without being mauled." Yuki said, his brow rose at the suggestion. "Remember what happened last week, Shuichi almost lost his clothes in that crowd. Who tells them which hotel we are staying at?"

"I don't know." K replied, shaking his head, "It's really supposed to be top secret. I have yet to crack the underground information network, but I'm close."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Suguru said, turning to Yuki, "Dates don't necessarily have to happen outside the hotel. You can have one inside as well. Try the rooftop. He goes to think there sometimes. I'd say odds are you'll find him there. This is all you, you know. Shuichi can't write unless you two are doing great. So go out there and make this work."

Yuki frowned, "Suddenly this sounds too much like a tournament. You realize we are real people and in an actual relationship, this is not a game."

"Who cares, do your best. We are counting on you." Hiro parroted, jumping off the couch and rushing to Yuki. He grabbed the cigarette away and pulled Yuki to his feet. Pulling him toward the door and pushing him out, "The stairs lead to the roof top, don't disappoint. We have about forty-six hours to go now."

The door closed and Yuki was left standing on the hallway with an amused expression on his face. What had he been turned into?

Pushing the door to the rooftop open, Yuki noticed Shuichi's figure almost immediately. He was leaning against he wall, his head propped on the palm of his hand, deep in thought. The wind blowing his dark hair, ruffling it even more than it had been before. Just looking at him and the need to rush up and pull him tightly against him increased to a level he was afraid he couldn't contain.

He walked up to Shuichi and pressed his body behind him, wrapping his strong arms around the slender body of his lover, he buried his face in his the dark hair. Shuichi leaned back accepting the comfort not at all surprised; he had heard the door open and close.

"What's bothering you?" Yuki asked quietly, "Talk to me, tell me what's on your mind."

Shuichi sighed, "Everything. I'm scared I think. I'm afraid that I can't keep my end of the deal to Tohma."

"You're almost there, you just need lyrics to the last song, and then everything will be fine." Yuki offered, swaying from side to side, "You've managed to surprise him by having four songs done already. There shouldn't be a problem-

"That's not what I'm afraid of." Shuichi cut in, bringing his hands to move Yuki's only to have them imprisoned in the hug Yuki was giving him. "I'm afraid of…."his voice faded away, feeling unsure of how he was going to explain his fears to Yuki. After having him throw all that Ryuichi none sense in their suite, how was he supposed to open up to him?

"Afraid of what Shu-chan? Tell me so I can help you. We are a team, you and I. What's important to you is important to me also. I need you to understand that." Yuki said softly, feeling sorry about his earlier words. There were the reason that Shuichi was having a hard time now, but he had been trying to get him to open up like this. Getting Shuichi aggravated was the only way to have him talk. It was a necessary evil. Although he was a little worried about Shuichi missing Ryuichi.

"I do understand. I'm just… Yuki, you are really particular with what happens in your life. I realize that my being in it, is not so easy for you. But I really love you, and I don't want to lose you after this. I want to win so hard, but it will mean opening our lives up again to the press, sharing our relationship with the press. I can't possibly do that right now when I just got you back."

So that is the problem, Yuki mused. Feeling elated that Shuichi's worries had nothing to do with missing the Nittle Grasper lead singer. That was a relief in his part; he couldn't even explain how much he had been dreading it. But to find out that his idiot lover was worrying about talking to the press and what it would do to their relationship.

"I don't mind. It doesn't matter to me what everyone else thinks, just what you think. I told you, as selfishly as I want you to be all mine, I understand that you can't be. You have a beautiful voice, a career that demands you give more than you have, and people who want you for it. Shuichi, as long as you come back to me for comfort, to cry, to laugh, to share your anger, happiness and every silly little thing that happens in you life, I'll be fine."

"Really? Are you sure you don't mind? Because the moment I start talking, everything comes out, coz I get carried away when it comes to you. And I love you so much that I want to share it with the world, you won't walk away from me will you?" Shuichi said, feeling tears rising up behind his closed eyelids. He wanted to know so much the answer to that last question.

"Never. Not even when you start spouting nonsense on national television." Yuki offered with a smile, leaning down closer to Shuichi's ear he said, "You also have to promise me, if anything is bothering you, come talk to me. Do you understand that Shuichi? I love you, and always will. Don't listen to what other people have to say about our relationship from now on. Especially Tohma, and that Ryuichi, holding you whenever he wants-

Shuichi turned around within the circle of Eiri's arms and hugged him back. Lifting his head up and kissing Yuki on his lips in a tender sweet kiss. It had been the hardest thing to get Yuki to admit what he had just done. He had promised that he would do anything to get Yuki to know those words in his heart, and not regret them. But it had been the longest journey and now that Yuki had said them, he would never do it again, "I promise never to walk away again." He said against Yuki's lips. "I love you too much to do that. And I promise to keep Ryuichi at arms length from now on."

"Good evening, I'm Shindou Shuichi from Bad Luck." Shuichi said into the microphone, settling on one of the three stools set up on the stage. "Tonight, we have something special for you. But first, I'll let my band mates introduce themselves to you."

The crowd cheered loudly as Hiro brought his microphone up, "Evening, I'm Nakano Hiro. We are happy to be here for this final concert. Please enjoy it."

Suguru smiled at the reaction to Hiro's introduction and shook his head as he said, "Good evening Seoul, I'm Fujisaki Suguru. It's a pleasure to be here tonight."

The cheering went wild, and for a moment, none of the three could speak. Afraid that it was never going to die down, Shuichi motioned for the three reporters who were supposed to carry on the live exclusive interview before the concert started. On the sidelines hidden by a camera stand, Shuichi caught a glance of Yuki. His hands were deep in his pockets and his gaze collided with Shuichi's making his heart jump a little. Drawing his strength from that, Shuichi turned to face the over excited reporters who were finally going to get the interview that every body had been dying to get for months now.

Seeing the newcomers on the stage, the crowd settled and the interview started. At first the questions were easy, dealing with the experiences the band had gone through during the tour. Which city had interested them most? What they liked and disliked about traveling to so many places? All of which were answered boisterously, and with humor from each of them.

Then the first reporter asked the dreaded question, "Being so busy with such a schedule to uphold, has there been time for personal relationships?"

Hiro fell into the automatic format they had devised before when Shuichi had not been able to talk about Yuki, taking the question, "As you know, being so busy, we barely have time to breath on our own. But we do try to keep in touch with people in our lives as much as we can. We may not get the time to date like any other person."

"Is that hard on those you are involved with?" The second reporter asked. "I mean not being able to see each other and go out on dates, is that hard for them?"

Suguru answered this question, "Of course. But if they understand, then it's not such a problem. Personally I don't have any such close relationship so I wouldn't be able to answer this question well. But I'd imagine it would be a bit of a challenge if I had one."

"What about you Shindou-san? Your relationship with the novelist Yuki Eiri has been a very hot topic with your fans. Most people say that the both of you have been experiencing some hardships and that is why we don't see you both together as much. Would you like to clear this matter for your fans?"

Shuichi breathed out, as the question he had been waiting for finally came. Bringing the microphone up he chuckled a little, "I am definitely glad for the support our fans have shown toward Yuki-san and I. As you all know, we have had a busy six months traveling and keeping up with concert tours, it has been a bit of a challenge between us. Like any other couple we have had our ups and downs, it is to be expected."

"Are you still together? It has been rumored that you have both separated." The third reporter questioned, going straight to the point.

"Yes we are." The crowd started screaming outrageously obviously pleased to be the first to know this little bit of news.

Fueled by the energy the crowd was giving off the first reporter questioned, "Is there a reason that you have not spoken of your relationship in the past six months."

"Yes. We were having a long fight. Lovers have disagreements all the time you know." Shuichi replied with a grin, "But our issues are resolved, as much as I'd like to say there won't be other disagreements, I can't. We are human after all, please bear with us as we go through life."

"Would you share the reasons why you were fighting?" The second reporter pushed. Shuichi sighed wondering if he was going to have to answer that question for Tohma to give in on their bet. The man had definitely not been please when the band had turned in the final song, with a little bow on it to show their excitement. The interview had been set up so quickly that Shuichi had barely had time to breathe. Oh well, he thought, Yuki didn't mind, so he could answer. Lifting the microphone, he almost laughed when movement caught the corner of his eye.

At that point, Tohma walked on to the stage and shook his head at the reporters, effectively ending the interview and all further questions. Shuichi turned to the man and did a little bow, before he said into the microphone, "To all our fans, I'd like to thank you for your support once again. It has been an incredible ride getting here, there are so many things we have learned and gained from this. Tonight, we will sing new songs, but this first one is dedicated to someone I can't possibly live without."

There are days, when I look at you,

and I can't believe you are mine.

Every time when you smile at me,

my heart flips over a million times.

I've come to realize that this feeling

is here to stay, no matter where you are,

I'll always think of you.

Through the snow, so white and cold,

I find love so warm in your arms.

In the spring, so bright, and beautiful,

your love will grow and fill my heart.

As it shines in the summer, blooming

I breathe in the scent of life,

as you withstand the fall, the snow

falls once again, you are here with me.

Through it all, I live, feeling the love

you give; you are living in my heart.


Pulling his suitcase into the elevator, Shuichi sighed as he leaned against the wall and wondered why his body felt as though he had walked to hell and back. Not to mention that his eyes were staying open by sheer sense of will. Otherwise he was liable to fall asleep right where he stood. A few seconds later, the doors opened, and he managed to pull the suitcase out without stumbling to the floor. Groaning, he headed for the door at the end of the hallway and managed to make it there without any falls.

Reaching for his keys in his pocket, he attempted to open the door, and managed to do so with the fifth try. Pulling the door open, he stepped into the apartment and dropped everything on the floor, making a loud clutter that hardly registered in his mind. He needed a bed and sleep. After the longest tour in existence, he was finally home in Tokyo. He could finally breathe in and speak Japanese without someone frowning at him as they wondered what he was saying. He could finally eat strawberry porky and walk in the park.

"I'm home." He called out sleepily, as he pulled his shoes off, tiredly.

"Welcome back." Yuki replied, appearing from his study and hurrying to catch Shuichi before he stumbled on to the floor.

Shuichi grinned as strong arms picked him up, he could finally fall asleep in his bed, held tightly by the one person he loved most in this world. This was heaven.

Thank you all for reading ,"Choices of Love". It was a pleasure writing it, and despite the many delays, you all stayed with me, I am very grateful. I hope the ending did not disappoint, hoping to hear many opinions and thoughts. I love reading all the reviews you give me, they fueled the passion. Hoping to see you all soon, whenever the muse strikes again, i'll write another one. But for now, i'll be reading all of yours. Thank you, and stay safe, sending all my cyber love to you.