Disclaimer: …Is it really necessary…? I think everyone here knows who owns Gravitation…
Yuki leaned against the railing, looking at the swimming pool below without really watching. Musing over the past few weeks, he had to admit it had been rather eventful.
To think it all started when a certain permanently on sugar-high pipsqueak dropped a cell phone on his head.
He sifted slightly as a breeze tickled his neck. He wasn't in a very good mood today – not that he usually was. He was restless. Oh, it wasn't that he hated staying with Shuichi or anything. He even let the brat get away with sticking wool into his precious hair! That, Yuki realized, was the problem; he let Shuichi get away with practically anything.
Sure he made his displeasure known. A few glares and death threats didn't hurt either. But if he really wanted to, Yuki could have stopped him anytime. All he had to do was up and leave without so much as leaving a note.
But something made him stay. He didn't know what that something was and it aggravated him to no end.
His lips twisted
in derision. Damn. Can't understand what my own head is thinking
about anymore. I'm actually having a conversation with myself now.
Stupid brain… Wait, I'm not stupid. Must be Shuichi's
influence. That idiot. Now I'm even arguing with myself.
"Oh-hoh. What's gotten your brows into a knot, Yuki?"
He didn't even blink. Even with his mind engaged in a rather interesting, albeit pointless, debate with itself, he had felt the presence of the other long ago.
The waves of pulsing energy had been washing over him ever since he stepped out. It was such a comfortable feeling. Dearly familiar, it brought about an ache of longing within his empty heart.
Shit. Now, it's making me all sappy and sentimental. Frowning at his inner voice, Yuki told it to shut up before replying, "Like you were actually expecting me to tell you?"
She floated into view. There was no other word for it. Lightly side-stepping past him, she gave the ground a little push and, defying Earth's gravity, levitated herself into the air until she was level with the railing. Then she landed, sitting on the railing.
Noriko twirled a strand of curly purple hair with her forefinger as she leaned over to see what Yuki was watching, her legs dangling carelessly in the air.
Several floors below, a few boys and a little girl were racing towards the pool. They watched as one of the boys gave the little girl a push. The boys all burst out laughing as she gave a startled squeal before splashing into the water, sending sprays of water spurting upwards.
Noriko sighed, eyes wistful as she broke the few moments of silence. "So cute. Kids, the only ones who believe in us. I remember seeing a little one who argued with his parents for saying we don't exist. How sad that they have to grow up they always stop believing when they do. They won't have time for us anymore, and it'll be all about money, power, and other materialistic things."
Yuki didn't even look at her. He hadn't seen an angel since his punishment had been meted out fifteen years ago, with one exception.
Yuki had seen him in an abandoned building. He had watched as the once radiant being tiredly sank down to slump next to him on the ground. The being hadn't said a word, but Yuki knew what he was, knew he had recognized the blonde as his own kind.
He also knew the angel was dying.
Maybe dying wasn't the accurate word, considering they couldn't die, but he had felt his energy. Its rhythm, so much like a heartbeat, had been dangerously slow. There were voids in the energy field, like it had holes in it. It was dark, and had a rusty feel. Like a ship that had hit an iceberg, the damage was irrecoverable, the holes irreparable. Yuki had known he wouldn't survive the night.
The whole time, Yuki accompanied him, saying nothing. Both understood what was happening.
Before the birds began their morning chirping, the angel had gotten up and walked away, head lifted up high and proud. Yuki supposed he meant to spend his last few moments in private.
Just as dawn broke, Yuki felt the ebbing energy vanish completely, and knew he would never detect that particular signature again.
He had dismissed the memory to the back of his mind, but the feel of Noriko's strong pulse dredged it up, unbidden as it was. He really didn't want to be around any angels right now. It was too soon. Maybe he would be ready to face them after some time away. A hundred years sounded appropriate. He should take two hundred just to be safe. Besides, Noriko's voice hurt his ears. Why did she like talking so much?
" – said to get away."
Inwardly sneering at himself for his weak sentimentally, he reined his thoughts and emotions in. He spoke, though it was more of a command. "Say it again."
Noriko glared at him, her usually laughing eyes darkening in annoyance. She demanded, "You got a problem with what I'm saying? I'll have you know this isn't my idea. You were supposed to be left alone until you served your term but considering the current circumstances…
"Anyway, you can't stay here and that's final. You're already suffering from critical damage – and don't even try to deny it. I can feel the fluctuations just by sitting here. It's going to take eons for the healers to patch you up. But you have to leave – staying will only be inviting more complications."
Now that he wasn't expecting.
Yuki's razor-sharp tongue had no scathing retort prepared. They're actually ordering me to leave here. Trust her to actually talk about serious topics just when I'm not listening. Something was up. It was time to go fishing.
"Give me a good reason why I should leave. You assholes told me to get down to Earth and mingle with humans. All I'm doing is carrying out orders. Just when I'm accepting this, you're telling me to get out. What the hell is Heaven playing at?" Yuki stopped before he started shouting, glaring icily at Noriko. Funny, he had only meant to get the true story out. How did he end up feeling genuinely furious and frustrated?
She watched him silently for a moment, a contemplative look in her eyes. Completely unaffected by Yuki's sudden temper, she watched for a while before shaking her head slowly, curls bouncing softly as she did so.
"Yuki," her voice was unbearably gentle, "I'm sorry but you can't stay with Shuichi. Find someone else and forget him."
Yuki's hands had been resting on the railing. They tightened. Face impassive and voice carefully neutral, he said, "And I suppose you won't even tell me the reason why."
"Just answer me."
"…Orders are orders. I'm sorry."
"This is reality, Shuichi. I'm sorry"
Shuichi didn't look at Ryuichi. He had completely frozen up.
Ryuichi continued whisking. It was coming out nicely - a golden, smooth and creamy texture. "I know you would have been happier to stay ignorant but you can't keep living in denial."
He whipped the whisk in Shuichi's direction as his friend faced him, warning him to stay silent. "You don't have to say anything; I won't tell anybody and what you do is entirely your decision. It's between you and him. Nobody else has any right to interfere. But," his unwavering gaze did not allow Shuichi to look away as he willed Shuichi to understand, "at least try."
"But I – "
" Just try. " He was almost pleading now. "Okay?"
Shuichi couldn't say anything, because a huge lump seemed to have spontaneously formed in his throat. All he could do was nod.
That was enough for Ryuichi. Turning away, he softly said. "Today's conversation never happened."
Once again, Shuichi just nodded though Ryuichi couldn't see with his back facing him. The lump seemed to be permanently lodged in his throat. Not to mention it seemed to have expended at lease thrice its original size.
"Now that that's done, let's start cutting the dough into shapes. I wanna make a carrot shape for Kuma-chan! How about you, Shu-chan? Ah, don't tell me – I want to guess! Hmm…I know! You want a star shape! Right? Right?"
Shuichi managed a weak smile as Ryuichi reverted back to his hyper mode. "We're making cupcakes, Ryuichi. Not cookies."
Ryuichi's tango with Kumagoro around the kitchen screeched to a sudden stop mid-twirl. The look of scandalized disappointment on Ryuichi's face was a most comical picture. "Eh? Why?! I want cookies! Can we make cookies instead?"
Shuichi grin grew at Ryuichi's deadly puppy-eyes attack. "I don't think Ayaka will be very happy if we did that."
Ryuichi's tears instantly evaporated. He excitedly squealed, "Then I'll make a cookie for her too!"
"…That's not the point…"
Noriko watched Yuki sadly, heart breaking. She hated this. She hated Heaven for decreeing this, hated having to be the one to tell Yuki this, hated seeing a human Yuki and most of all, she hated knowing they had no other choice.
She wanted to cry. Why did he have to make things so hard for her? Still, she couldn't say she hadn't expected this to happen.
She pushed herself off the railing and gracefully landed on the ground. She positioned herself right in front of Yuki, forcing him to have eye contact. Her voice was trembling now.
"See you tomorrow, Shu-chan!"
Shuichi waved his friend goodbye before closing the door. He was completely worn out. At least the cupcakes are done now. All that's left is to clear the place up.
Shuichi stared at the mess in his kitchen. Everything was coated in a fine dust of flour. Stray chocolate chips were melting into a sticky puddle on the floor. Some spilled batter decorated the table, oozing down to join the butter on the chair. Already he could spot ants marching about, ready to begin their picnic.
Wondering where to begin, he grabbed a tablecloth and half-heartedly tried to wipe a stubborn brown stain on the counter. Having no luck, he tossed it onto the table, deciding to do it later. Looks like it's pizza again tonight. I wonder if Yuki is still out on the balcony.
He checked on the rising cupcakes in the oven one last time before setting off on his search for Yuki.
Yuki glared at the angel in front of him, irritated beyond belief. She had been staring at him and telling him to leave for ages now. Wasn't she ever going to give up?
He snapped, "Look, I said I'm not leaving. You guys can't give me ridiculous instructions just like that and expect me to go running around saying 'Yes ma'am! No sir!' at the snap of your fingers. All I ever get is orders, orders and more orders. I don't want shitty orders. I want explanations."
What the hell is wrong with her today? Usually, she won't get off her bloody high horse and she'd just snap back with that spunky way of hers if I spoke to her like this.
He groused out, "Is there something on my face you like?"
She didn't say anything. Noriko was staring off into a distance, eyes suddenly glazed over. Occasionally, she nodded, as though agreeing with someone.
She looked at Yuki again. "Nothing's going through. I have to go now, but I'll be back. Listen to me, Yuki. Leave him. Leave Shuichi before it's too late." She seemed to glow brighter for just a moment. "Oh, and by the way," she gave Yuki the cheeky grin he hadn't seen in a long time, "nice hair."
Yuki tried to stop her leaving but only managed to grasp empty air. "Damn," he swore under his breath. Trust her to flounce off like that after throwing him into an abyss of confusion and questions. Too late? For what?
He almost received a coronary from that uncertain voice. He growled purely out of habit, "What?"
Shuichi stepped into view, a frown on his lips. His amethyst eyes swept past him, taking in every corner of the limited area. He looked at everywhere except Yuki.
Annoyed, Yuki repeated. "What?"
Shuichi still wasn't looking at him. A perplexed expression was written on his face as he shifted. "Where did the angel go?"
Yuki's breath caught. Humans shouldn't have been able to see angels. Choosing his words carefully, he asked, "You know what she is?"
Shuichi looked at Yuki as though he was crazy. Huffily, he said, "I'm not stupid. Although I haven't seen angels since I was a kid, I'd still be able to recognize one. Wonder what she wanted though." He warily eyed Yuki. "How did you know her anyway? Can you see angels too?"
Yuki didn't answer. He was too busy summing up the clues and coming to the conclusion. He muttered, "So this is why they wanted me to stay away from him."
Shuichi grumbled in a sullen tone. "What are you talking about? Clueless person here."
Yuki's eyes fell on Shuichi. He grimly said, "We have to talk."
Let me think for comments about this chapter…Sorry about the lack of humor…? Really sorry about the late update but I regret to say updates shall be late for the next two or three months…Life is being a total asshole right now…Yup…Feeling really dried out…. Just in case you couldn't tell…Ja…