Disclaimer: These beautiful boys belong to Maki Murakami. Isn't it nice of her to share?

A/N: The translation of 'Anti-Nostalgic' used here is almost entirely the work of Risu Chan, with a few alterations for English grammar.

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Yushu
Epilogue:
Just Shut-up and Kiss Me
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Why had he ever worried?

Sitting on the familiar comfort of the leather couch, his lap full of cuddling Shuuichi, Eiri wondered why in hell he'd ever run scared—yes, scared—of this reunion. The one reliable constant in his life had always been Shu's unshakeable belief in him.

Belief. Even more than love. Shuuichi believed in a Yuki only he had seen. Believed in a love only he had sensed. And in the end, Shuuichi's reality would prevail. Shuuichi would settle for nothing less.

I need the Yuki ...who writes characters people love and care about, but only lets me truly care about him.

He hoped, he truly hoped, Shuuichi finally understood just how true that was. What he'd revealed tonight, he could only have told Shuuichi. Oh, he'd shown his journal to the doctors at the clinic. They'd asked questions and he'd...grunted. He'd never simply...talked as he had tonight. Likely never would again, for all he planned otherwise.

Shuuichi deserved to hear, at least once in a while, just how very special he was, not to his fans, not to Hiro, but to the man to whom he'd so thoroughly committed all those years ago. And he'd try, damned if he wouldn't, but realistically, he knew it was, at least in part, months of deprivation, relief and sheer exhaustion behind this late night confession.

At the very least, he'd finish that autobiography. He'd give it to Shuuichi on the next anniversary of their meeting in the park—

Fuck. He'd just given himself a deadline.

But he would. He'd give it to him along with a dedication, a very special dedication.

And with that thought, he made another silent promise: PDA would no longer be strictly off-limits, though he didn't dare actually tell Shuuichi that...if they wanted to avoid arrest.

"Um...Yuki?" Shuuichi's lilting query broke the silence.

"Yeah, brat?"

A small hand wormed its way up between them to the narrow 'v' of exposed skin at his neck, stopping at the first closed button.

"How's the writing been going?"

He stifled a chuckle, knowing where this was headed.

"Can't complain."

The button came free, the finger wormed its way slowly to the next.

"How was the flight over?"

"Long."

Another button slipped through its hole, and that wandering finger made it all the way over to a nipple. Eiri stifled a gasp as the inevitable below-the-belt stirrings returned.

"Did you get some sleep?"

"Not much," he answered a bit breathlessly. "I was pretty worried."

The wandering finger paused.

"I'm...sorry, Eiri. I'm so sor—"

Eiri pressed a finger to those tempting lips stopping the apology midstream.

"Never, Shu."

Purple eyes questioned above the silenced mouth, and Eiri's loose-tongued exhaustion gave Shu another truth:

"Never apologize for following your heart. Those instincts of yours are my lifeline. My reality check. Without them...without you—"

Horror welled as memories of the worst days of the past seven months came into sharp focus, and he pulled Shuuichi close, pressing his lips hard against that welcoming, oh-so-precious mouth. When his taste buds had reassured his gut that he was, in fact, back where he belonged, he eased his grip and urged Shu's head back down to his chest, removing the immediate temptation. It was this, above all else, Shu had to know.

"You saved me, Shu. You and those instincts that made you trust...whatever it was you saw in me...brought me back to life. Trust them. Treasure them. I do."

A sniffle happened, somewhere around his collar bone.

"I love you, Yuki."

"I know."

He waited, but the question he'd courted quite deliberately with those two simple words never came. "Don't you want me to say it?"

He felt Shuuichi smile against his chest. "You just did."

So, his wasn't the only psyche that had done some serious maturing in the past seven months.

"I do, you know," he said, smiling across the top of the pink head.

"Yeah. I do."

He wondered if time would eliminate the need to say even that much aloud, and vowed again not to let that happen, not to allow his taciturn nature to rule their lives.

And not just for Shuuichi's sake. He loved hearing those three simple words—when they came out of Shuuichi's mouth.

That curious finger resumed its wandering path.

"But...you did get some sleep, right?"

Persistent little devil. "Mmm...hmmm."

The buttons were now open all the way to his tailored waistband. Shuuichi's weight shifted; he twisted to straddle Eiri's thighs, freeing both hands to pull the shirt free of its careful tuck, sliding his warm fingers inside, around Eiri's ribs and up Eiri's back, leaning in to nuzzle Eiri's neck, trending dangerously close to his ultra-sensitive right ear.

"Enough?" Came on a soft breath into that vulnerable organ.

A shiver went down Eiri's spine and straight to his groin.

Eiri chuckled, and instead of answering, shifted his hold on his pint-sized lover, cupping his deliciously round butt to hold him steady, protecting his growing hard-on as he lurched up from the couch.

Shuuichi, with a satisfied giggle, helped, shoving against the back of the couch with his feet before wrapping his legs securely around Eiri's waist, distributing his weight perfectly as Eiri headed for the bedroom.

He eased his brat down onto the bed, one hand supporting the pink head all the way to the pillow, a move that caused Shu to rise onto his elbows and stare at him in wonder. But it wasn't a time for tossing, for setting a bouncing Shu to giggling like a loon. Oh, he loved that Shu, perhaps most of all, but something in him wanted—needed—this moment to be different.

Special.

And Shuuichi, with those nearly infallible instincts, responded accordingly. As Eiri released him and straightened to let his shirt slip from his shoulders, Shu rolled smoothly to his knees to help, quite solemnly, with his slacks. Eiri stood quietly as Shuuichi eased first the hook, then the button free and slowly moved the zipper down. Eiri held his breath as his little lover's expert fingers gently worked both slacks and shorts past the rapidly expanding bulge, then let them fall in a puddle to the floor around Eiri's feet.

Shuuichi paused, small hands balanced on Eiri's hips, and traced the exposed skin with warm, breathy kisses before sliding his hands upward, his fingertips finding and exploring each and every contour of Eiri's body.

Like a sculptor, checking for flaws.

"I was wrong," Shuuichi's whisper barely reached his ears. "I'd begun to think I'd made it all up." That sweet mouth began to follow the fingers. "I couldn't believe anyone could possibly be so perfect as I remembered." He rose to his knees, stretching as tall as he could to face Eiri directly. "But I was wrong. You're more beautiful than..."

His eyes clouded as they focused on the tears that fractured Eiri's view of him and he leaned to kiss them away, his hands balancing lightly on Eiri's shoulders. Once the tears were gone, that feather soft touch slid slowly down Eiri's arms, still exploring each muscle, as Shuuichi began to lie back.

Fingers reached fingers and Eiri stepped free of the fabric puddle as Shuuichi drew him down onto the bed with him, his legs spreading naturally to accommodate Eiri's knees.

Echoing Shuuichi's careful removal of his clothing, Eiri pulled the robe's belt free, and fold by fold unwrapped the slight, but decidedly male body that had haunted his dreams for months.

He supposed everyone had their own definition of perfect. His own had changed the day a fateful wind blew a stray piece of paper into his face.

For a moment, he denied his fingers the right to act on that desire to reclaim the smooth skin they knew so very intimately. For a moment, he simply reveled in the pain of anticipation.

God, he was beautiful. Eiri's throat tightened. Beautiful and all his. He always had been, in ways most people couldn't even dream of.

His tiny guiding light. His guardian angel.

His muse.

Non-artists, like that psychiatrist in charge of the clinic, couldn't begin to understand the link between an artist and his muse. Shuuichi had singlehandedly given his stories a new... humanity. It was a gift no normal person could understand. Because Shuuichi had trusted him, he'd learned to trust himself and to put those feelings into his characters, long before he'd learned to expose himself to the one he loved most.

When the muse was also a soul mate—and yes, he was willing to admit at last, Shuuichi was that for him, the missing pieces and the glue to bond the shards of his soul—when those two elements came in one sweetly perfect package, there were no words to describe the pain of separation.

As he'd told the therapist: writers faced life through their writing. Shuuichi had forced him, from the start, to acknowledge life on a scale he'd never imagined.

Because he'd been afraid.

Shuuichi...didn't know the meaning of the word. No...that wasn't true. Even now, Shuuichi was staring at him, silently, a bit apprehensively, sensing this moment was special, afraid, as he so often was, of doing something wrong.

No, it wasn't that Shuuichi was never afraid, it was that Shuuichi...wasn't afraid of being afraid.

That...was a phenomenal gift.

Possibly, probably, he should reassure him again, but that was part of Shuuichi, too, that self-doubt that made him a positive guilt sponge. And so, he hesitated to reassure too much. That doubt only enhanced Shu's magic. It made him vulnerable, hurt him as often as it helped, yet he always rebounded, remained positive. Possibly because of that doubt.

Who knew? It was an equation far too delicate and complex to question. Whatever made Shuuichi so resilient, it worked and in the process of surviving, he gave every person around him...hope.

Including, and perhaps especially, the cowardly author who adored him.

The one thing that cowardly author could do, now and at last, was to love his precious muse, utterly and completely, the way he deserved to be loved.

Having drunk, temporarily, his visual fill, Eiri leaned forward to capture that worried mouth with his own, and as it would, the uncertainty vanished between one heartbeat and the next. Shuuichi found, had always found, his real answers in Eiri's kisses.

Just...kiss me. How often had he heard that? He could talk himself blue in the face, could tell Shu things he'd never told anyone else as he had tonight, but all the words in the universe hadn't the power of one kiss.

Not where it came to Shuuichi.

What mattered to Shuuichi was not the words, not the details of the story, but the fact that his Yuki had been willing to tell him.

What mattered to Eiri was that he'd been able to tell him.

He tilted his head, deepening the kiss, invading the mouth that opened so willingly to accept him.

Shuuichi never had expressed himself particularly well with words. His lyrics, combined with the soul he gave them when he sang, barely scratched the surface of his feelings. But then, words were utterly inadequate to express the depth of Shuuichi's feelings.

Or his, Eiri suddenly realized. He couldn't say I love you because love wasn't what he felt for Shuuichi. It was, somehow, too small a concept.

He let his fingers travel that smooth skin, giving in at long last to the need that had forced them out onto the couch in the first place. He followed the fingers with his mouth, leaving a damp trail down Shuuichi's neck.

That perfect chest heaved, and on a sighing whisper, Shuuichi began to sing.

Toumei ga yozora somete (Dawn's light dyes the night sky,)
Hitori aruku itsumo no kaerimichi (I walk alone on the road that always leads home.)

The voice that could fill a stadium formed a small, magical cocoon in their bedroom; the lilting melody was one he'd never heard before.

Kuchizusamu konna kimochi (Singing to myself, I want to send these feelings)
Nemuru kimi ni todoketai na (to you in your sleep)

Gentle fingers wove through Eiri's hair, brushing it back, a finger-full at a time. He tilted his head up to find hooded purple eyes looking at him. The soft voice continued:

Nanika ni obieteru jibun ga chotto iya ni naru
(I'm tangled up in something; I'm getting a little sick of myself)
Tsugeru omoi torinokoshita hibi ni...
(tangled up in the feelings of those days that have been left behind...)

It didn't take a genius to know what had inspired this song. It was Shuuichi's way of telling him what he'd suffered in the past six months, accusation and absolution in one ear-caressing package.

Dokoka ni wasureteru kokoro ga chotto itakunaru
(The heart I've forgotten somewhere is starting to hurt a little.)
Toki wo tsunagu hoshi no yoru ni kimi wo sagashiteru
(I keep searching for you in a night lit by the stars that are bound to that time.)

I searched for you, too, he answered, in the silent language of a touch, as he caressed that curiously broad, singer's chest with fingers and mouth. I needed you, yet you were always there, weren't you?

Toozakaru kumo ni nosete
(I place my feelings on the receding clouds)
Boku no kimochi tachidomaru kaerimichi
(on the road home, where I pause to stand.)

Eiri worked his way slowly down that sweetly responsive body, Shuuichi's fingers moving with him, light touches drifting from hair to ears to shoulders and back again. I never doubted you, Shindou Shuuichi, not really. Never once, in all our time together, did your belief in me waver. Would that I could have given you the same confidence in the strength of my feelings.

He'd tried, in that letter, but no one knew better than he how much Shuuichi had needed that reassurance in some form other than words, particularly words on paper.

And so, he'd left him the rose, a rose that even now rested, perfectly preserved under a glass dome, on the bedside table.

Kimi wa mou yume no tsuzuki
(You are already a part of my continuing dreams;)
Todoku hazu mo nai koto da to wakatteiru
(I know that those feelings can't possibly reach you from here.)

That exquisite voice faded mid-note. The gentle fingers stilled.

Again, he looked up to find the slim brows above those expressive eyes puckered in thought.

"What?" Eiri asked gently, and then, thinking Shu might be awaiting his reaction: "It's beautiful. Won't you finish?"

The hooded eyes sparkled with gathering tears. One escaped to trail down his softly rounded cheek.

"That's all there is..." A blink, and the tears fell free. But surprisingly, none formed to take their place. Instead, those eyes opened, gazing beyond Eiri with a faraway look, that look that said Shuuichi's own muse was hard at work. Then, slowly, almost on a whisper:

Namida ga koboreteru egao ga chotto hoshikunaru
(The tears keep falling; just by being able to be close to you.)
kimi no soba ni ireru dake de boku wa...
(I'm starting to want to smile, just a little...)
Dareka ga toikakeru rikutsu ga motto hoshikunaru
(Someone asks questions; I'm starting to want this to make more sense.)
kieru kage ni mabushisugita hibi wo utsushiteru
(You cast those too-brilliant days into a fading shadow.)

Nanika ni obieteru jibun ga chotto iya ni naru
(I'm tangled up in something; I'm getting a little sick of myself)
Tsugeru omoi torinokoshita hibi ni...
(tangled up in the feelings of those days that have been left behind...)
Dokoka ni wasureteru kokoro ga chotto itakunaru
(The heart I've forgotten somewhere is starting to hurt a little.)
Toki wo tsunagu hoshi no yoru ni kimi wo sagashiteru
(I keep searching for you in a night lit by the stars that are bound to that time.)

Again, the voice faded, this time with a note of gentle finality. Eiri stared up at him afraid to move, afraid of this sudden, somber mood.

And then, an impossibly sweet smile appeared on Shuuichi's face and Shuuichi's small hands urged Eiri back up for another, soul-sharing kiss, and then, against his lips, Shuuichi whispered, "Make love to me, Yuki Eiri? Make the last of the hurt go away?"

Eiri answered in the language they both spoke best.

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At the foot of the bed, two large golden eyes gleamed in the early morning light.

"Hello, Demon Cat," Eiri murmured, and the rest of Yushu appeared over the edge to perch, calmly watching. Then, as if deciding it was safe, padded his way up Shu's far side. At Shu's back, he began clawing at the covers.

Shu, muttering something inarticulate, but welcoming, shifted in Eiri's arms to face the cat and lifted the covers. Yushu wormed up and around and down into the cavern, where he settled, pressing close to Shu's chest, just above Eiri's arms, his round head finding the pillow in front of Shuuichi's nose.

His place in their family bed, as it had been since that first night.

Shuuichi murmured approvingly, wrapping his arms around the cat.

Eiri chuckled and tightened his own hold on his own kitten.

"G'night, Yuki," Shu mumbled and Eiri pressed his lips to the back of Shu's head.

"G'night, Shu-chan."

And from the far side of Shuuichi, rose a deep rumbling: Yushu's approving purr.

FIN

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A/N: That's it, folks. I hope you all like it.

My humble thanks again to everyone for the enthusiastic support of this story. I didn't know what to expect when I put it up and you've all been absolutely terrific. Big big big Shu-hugs to you all.