--Set many, many, years after the Kyoto arc. Tsuzuki/Hisoka. Background Tatsumi/Watari. Like fine wine, some things ripen with age.

started & finished: August 23rd 2005

for: 31days of livejournal.

I always wondered what Tsuzuki & Hisoka would be like as an 'old married couple' so to speak.

Tsuzuki cannot remember how long they have been partners, but Hisoka remembers it well.

Hisoka remembers in dates, in logic and numbers refined in easily placed columns. Because he has learned that emotions are transient, even frightening, things. Hisoka does what he can to limit them, perhaps he has been around Tatsumi too much, Hisoka does tend to pick up character traits along with emotions and even the walking gait as his mind molds itself to others, unwilling, it is the mark of his scars.

Hisoka remembers them, the important dates, 24th of June, 7th of July, 19th of August, 30th of September.

Tsuzuki remembers by moments. Nagasaki, the feel of steel and a clack, the cracking a glass, red like blood, of past and learning and the calm face Hisoka makes when he sleeps.

Hisoka is exasperated with the little things, how Tsuzuki leaves his clothes on the floor, always has food on his face, drinks too much, doesn't do enough work, ad infinitum.

His comments have become halfhearted, and the tone much too soft for a true reprimand. He doesn't even yell when Tsuzuki presses his arms around his waist and just holds him close, no explanation given.

Hisoka is often exasperated with Tsuzuki, for his partner lacks motivation, lacks definition, lacks the simple reason to wake up every morning.

And Hisoka gives him reason, a raison d'etre, a companion and a partner. He has never said "I love you"; for the words are foreign to his ears and heart, so his mind cannot shape them into something tangible, just the abstract notion of knowing he'd become unglued if Tsuzuki wasn't there in his life, if there wasn't clothes on the floor or food to wipe off of the side of Tsuzuki's cheek while shaking his head and murmuring how childish he is.

"Ooh, Watari's made Tatsumi cake agian, I wonder why?" Tsuzuki says with a wink and a conspiratorial glance.

And Hisoka nods, he's seen this coming for years and half wondered what took them so long.

Little ironies, for Watari's first words upon the first time of being summarily pushed against a wall strong yet careful arms are "What took you so long?"

Hisoka sips his tea in a perfect fluid motion of hands meeting cup meeting mouth and then saucer.

Tsuzuki slurps his coffee, and manages to spill half of it down his front, all enthusiasm and telling Hisoka about his day, all boring duties and paperwork and how lonely it was without Hisoka there and how Tatsumi was so mean by threatening to ban Tsuzuki from sweets if he didn't get his work done.

Hisoka has long ago learned to pack washcloths, wetted with cold water and the art of how to dab out coffee stains.

They share living space, work, beds, it started as comfort and finding that between Tsuzuki's insomnia and Hisoka's nightmares equaled the office coffee supply was used at an alarming rate. Tatsumi ordered them to work out the problem or else with the sort of glare that crossing could mean bodily harm. The sort of glare that Watari can take one look at and laugh off and still manage to get a pay raise Tsuzuki always whines that Watari never gets docked on pay no matter how many labs he destroys.

Hisoka wakes up surrounded in Tsuzuki's arms, and presses closer despite himself. His night was dreamless, and Tsuzuki slept throughout the night.

Sometimes Tsuzuki breaks, after a particular case, someone who shouldn't have died, someone who's eyes remind him of ghosts of the past that haunt his mind, dreams, heart or just a buildup which crushes the dam of emotions over little things.

Hisoka does not know the fine details of comforting, can only give coarse words which somehow can be translated to kindness, and hold on for dear life. Sometimes he holds on all night, afraid to slip off to sleep for fear of what Tsuzuki would do once out of the almost choking embrace of Hisoka's arms.

Tsuzuki does not cry, sob, or even talk. He just implodes, turning inwards until he would cease to exist.

Hisoka holds on, never letting go of Tsuzuki until the sunlight filters through and Tsuzuki's ashen skin turns a shade darker, more flushed with strength. Until Tsuzuki can bear to live again.

He knows Tsuzuki would - and has done the same, knows that neither has boundless strength, yet always enough to share.

The seasons pass, the office remarks that this is the longest Tsuzuki has ever kept a partner.

Hisoka is silent. He is rational, yet does not intend there to ever be another partner, does not intend there to be an after.

For no one else would take care of him, no one else would know the right solution for cleaning out coffee strains, know how to cook using less sugar, know that he talks incoherent fears in his sleep or the way to comfort him.

Hisoka sips tea, and Tsuzuki talks on, his voice a pleasant monotone and Hisoka half-listens, nodding when it would be appropriate.

The sequence of events remains unbroken, Hisoka refuses to let go, and Tsuzuki smiles with warmth and adoration which knows no limits, no bounds.

They hold onto each other, and it is enough to get by for both of them.