Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the wonderful story Gravitation by Maki Murakami. She owns the characters and the milieu. I'm only borrowing them so I can give Yuki and Shuuichi an attitudinal cat.
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Epilogue: All the Answers
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The post-concert engagement party died early, a tacit acknowledgment to the guests of honors' desire to be alone on this special night. The invited guests, 'family' all, bade the host a quiet farewell, begging him to remain on the couch, careful not to disturb the small figure snoring softly in his lap.
Hiroshi was the last to leave.
He knelt beside the couch and bent to kiss Shuuichi's temple. "Congratulations, buddy," he whispered. And looking up at Eiri, "You're a lucky man, Yuki Eiri."
Those dark grey eyes held nothing of jealousy, though there was, perhaps, a hint of sadness. An era was coming to an end for the lifelong best friends. Hiro knew it, even if Shuuichi hadn't yet realized it.
"This would never have happened without you," Eiri answered softly. Long before the fans who changed a law, there'd been Hiro. Hiro's unwavering support and gently wise counsel had kept Shuuichi sane, even before Eiri had entered the picture. After, well, Shu hadn't been the only one who'd benefitted. During Eiri's time in rehab, Hiro had been his only touchstone to the life he wanted so desperately to achieve.
And now, thanks to one small question, Hiro was about to be alone in a way he'd never been in his adult life.
Ayaka hadn't worked out. Neither had the several other girlfriends Hiro had cultivated over the five years he'd known him. They all seemed to realize Hiro's heart lay...elsewhere, that there was more truth in those long established games of sexual innuendo between the two old friends than either had ever admitted.
More, at least, for Hiro.
"Do you resent me?" he asked softly, and to Hiro's rather surprised look: "You've every right to, you know."
Hiro gentle smile surfaced. "No, Yuki-san, and that's the truth."
"I'm not at all certain the best man won."
The smile faded. "There was never a war. —I'm honestly happy. For both of you. I...could never be for him what you are."
"And I could never replace you." Eiri fingercombed the pink strands away from the sleeping face. "Needy little bastard, isn't he?"
"Not surprising, considering how much he gives."
Silence, then, companionable and thoughtful, as they both stared at the oblivious little love-sponge.
"This doesn't really change anything, not between us," Hiro remarked, still in that low voice. "He was always yours, from the day you met. It just means one very big worry is gone from his life. It terrified him, you know. Those nurses keeping him out of that room scared him more than Aizawa's attack ever did."
Eiri stared at the sweetly sleeping face, recalling a devastating sense emptiness, and an earthly angel's song lifting him out of a bottomless pit. "I'd have died without his voice to call me back."
"And he'd have followed you."
"He'd never commit suicide."
"His spirit wouldn't have the choice."
"Neither would mine, without him." Eiri realized, aloud.
"There's your answer, then." Hiro storm-grey eyes left Shuuichi's face at last to meet Eiri's. "I never thought you had it in you."
"What? To ask him to marry me?"
"To do it so publicly. Tell me, was that your idea? Or K's? Touma's?"
"Mine. Well, the media hype and the PM's overtime pay...that was Touma's."
"Yours, huh? That...surprises me. It seems so..."
"Out of character?"
"It was the only way I could be sure I'd do it right. I'm...not the most romantical of people, Hiroshi. Oh, I write that crap all the time, but doing it—that's something else. Having a script to follow, an inescapable time and place...was the only way I could think of to make certain it was special. The way he deserves. If I'd opted to do it in private, I'd've carried that damned ring around for a month, waiting for a right moment that conveniently never came, then I'd've tried to plan something and had too much time to think about how dumb I was going to look and chickened out at the last moment. Eventually, I'd've thrown the ring at him and told him we were getting married tomorrow."
Hiro smiled gently, his eyes returning his best friend. "And he'd've said, how 'bout tonight."
Eiri chuckled softly. "You're probably right."
"He wouldn't care how you did it, Eiri-san. Just the fact that you asked him, rather than the other way around, that was enough."
Which only confirmed his own suspicions. Asking tonight had been, more than anything else, a preemptive strike. Because Shuuichi wouldn't have waited. Shuuichi wouldn't have agonized over the perfect setting. He'd have heard the news that the bill had been signed, and said, let's go pick out rings. Still...
"I hope you're right."
"If you need the reassurance, just ask him. He won't lie." Hiro sighed and stared at his oblivious friend for several more minutes, than asked, without looking up: "Do you mind?"
Somehow, Eiri knew what he was asking. "Of course not."
"Love you, buddy," Hiro whispered and leaned to kiss Shuuichi again, lightly, on the lips. "Be happy." He rose reluctantly to his feet and put his hand on Eiri's shoulder. "You, too, Eiri."
He nodded, unable to meet Hiro's gently accepting eyes, yet more grateful than ever before for Hiro's essential goodness. He listened to the soft sounds as Hiro went up the stairs to the main floor, the slight scuff as he slid on his shoes, the beeps as he set the alarm before leaving.
Hiro, like Yushu, who climbed out from under the couch to join them, now the guests were gone, was a reliable constant, would be a constant. Forever.
He stared out the vast windows of this glass-walled room that looked out across Tokyo Bay. They were lucky, he and Shu, to be able to afford such a dwelling. Every room had a spectacular view. He'd known, the moment he'd walked into the finished product, that every decision they'd made had been right.
He could imagine living here. Forever. Growing old here...
He stroked the pink hair, caressed the soft lips with his fingertips, smiled as the central finger got sucked into the greedy little mouth.
...with this man.
Shuuichi yawned. The Pocky stick in his mouth tried to wiggle free and he sucked it back in, finding not essence of strawberry, but essence of Yuki.
Ever so much better.
He suckled the finger, moving lazily to its neighbors while letting his own hand, which had been tucked to his chest, wander the contours of his hard, lumpy pillow, realizing, as the sleepy haze dissipated:
"Your snoring ran our guests off." Eiri's voice drifted over his head.
"Then how do you explain that we're all alone?"
Knowing full well their friends had left out of courtesy to the newly engaged and reunited couple, Shuuichi countered:
"Easy. Two words: snarky Yuki."
"Oh. Scared them off, did I?"
"Mmm-hmm." He explored some more, his rough fingernails catching a bit in the smooth fabric, tracing the folds, the hard muscle and bony knees beneath, reveling in the long-fingered touch echoing his own along his bare arm. Not seductively, either of them. Just...hungrily. "Can't say I'm sorry."
"You seem pretty tired."
"Better now." He rolled up to curl against Yuki's side, pulling Yushu into his lap, staring out across that beautiful view. "I've missed this."
Eiri's arm tightened around his shoulders, and Eiri's other hand caught his chin, urging his face around and up to meet his kiss. A timeless moment later, his beautiful fiancé murmured against his lips: "So have I."
He couldn't help giggling. "I was talking about the view." Though he couldn't deny he'd missed the kissing, too.
Eiri drew back, just enough to meet his eyes. "So was I."
Shuuichi felt the heat rush to his face at the look in those golden eyes, the look that said he was the most beautiful creature on the planet. Only Yuki could make him believe that he was anything other than a skinny, funny-looking fellow with a gift for making people laugh.
Those stupid post-tour tears that hovered just below the surface threatened. He tried to fight them back.
"It's okay, Shu."
Eiri leaned close to kiss the tears, stopping them before they fell. Yuki told him, every time, to ignore them, that the tears as well as the doubts were all an overload of chemicals in his brain, that his body's janitorial crew just hadn't been getting enough time to wash his brain out at night and it was just...garbage that would go away with a few nights' sleep.
And lots of fucking. He wasn't sure about that part of the cure, but he sure liked the theory.
"How did I get so lucky?" he whispered to the room at large, knowing there was no answer, even as he wished he could believe he truly deserved such happiness.
Eiri's hold tightened.
"I was just about to ask the same." Eiri's voice drifted above his head.
He sighed, thinking about something his mother had said about her and Dad. "Parallel thoughts. Just like an old married couple."
"Just like." Eiri murmured and lifted Shuuichi's left hand to kiss the ring.
Shuuichi sighed again, cuddling deeper into that welcoming hold, turning his hand to admire his priceless new treasure.
Alexandrite, a mysterious, changeable stone Eiri had introduced him to after he got his ear pierced last year, with sapphire and ruby chips to accent the colors hidden within the primary stone. Unique. Beautiful. Just like his fiancé.
"Would you rather have had diamonds?" Eiri asked, sounding worried.
"Never." He kissed the ring and tucked the hand into Eiri's. "It's perfect."
He waited, but the question seemed stuck in Yuki's throat. "Yeah?"
Shuuichi tipped his head in silent question. Disappointed? How could he possibly be disappointed?
"I should have asked in private. Just you and me, but—"
Understanding dawned. Shuuichi shut him up with a kiss. "At first...maybe, yes. But only for a second. It was perfect, just like the ring. Like you said, they made it possible. They deserved to be part of it and I..." He asked his conscience and decided it was really true: "Yes, I loved sharing it with them." He crawled into Eiri's lap, straddling Eiri's legs to face him, giggling and wiggling when he felt Eiri's instant response beneath him, but sobering quickly. "I'm...greedy, Eiri." he admitted. "I'd like to have it both ways. Public and private. I'd like to be surprised all over again, right here, in our house, with only Yushu as a witness, but if I could only have one, that was the right one." He giggled again. "And not just because I liked seeing you on your knees."
Long fingers traced his mouth.
"How'd I get so lucky?" Eiri asked huskily.
Shuuichi just leaned for another kiss, his mind drifting contentedly on the sensation of flesh on flesh and the rhythm of the familiar dance of tongues. Beneath him, Eiri's arousal grew increasingly insistent and he knew that one way or another that urge would be appeased before the night was through.
And he couldn't think of a better way to fall asleep than with—
He wrapped around Eiri as his lover heaved them off the couch. The touch of mouth on mouth never faltered as they made their way into the bedroom that was the other half of this lower floor.
The house was built on a stony cliffside. Below them was nothing but trees and wildlife and Tokyo Bay. They could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and as long as there wasn't a helicopter hanging outside their window, no one would ever see.
Without breaking the kiss, Yuki sat down on the bed, twisting to put Shuuichi down beside him.
Then, against his lips: "Got another present for you."
"No buts. And I've been planning this even longer than the proposal, so you can't object, got it?"
"But I've got nothing for you. I asked Hiro, and he said the fifth anniversary was wood, and I thought he was kidding, because, I mean, who would want a chunk of wood? but then, I looked it up on the internet and it was, so I thought it would be funny if I just gave you a woodie, and that that would be enough, but then you gave me the ring and proposed and—"
Lips stopped his babbling, thrusting the rising guilt away.
"I'm going to hold you to that, brat, but first—" He leaned across Shuuichi to pull something out of the bedside table drawer. It was wrapped in sparkly yellow paper and decorated with two strawberry Pocky sticks and a perfect Peace Rose.
"It's...beautiful," Shuuichi whispered, touching the rose.
"Going to open it?"
"Yeah." He eased the ribbon off, sniffing the rose before setting it carefully aside. He'd get it dried and encased with the one Eiri had left him before going into rehab. Yuki appropriated the Pocky and began feeding it to him a nibble at a time.
Which distraction delayed the unwrapping for several minutes. When the Pocky was gone, Eiri said, "Well?"
Shuuchi exchanged a final strawberry-flavored kiss and picked the package up off the floor, feeling guilty for not taking better care of his gift. Eiri pulled him onto his lap, arms around his waist, putting his chin on Shuuichi's shoulder to watch.
He folded the paper back to find...a book. A book bound in plain black leather with a title stamped in gold foil on the cover:
All the Answers
by Uesugi Eiri
He twisted to look up at Eiri, puzzled, and Eiri, with a smile, reached to open the book to the dedication page. There, in Yuki's flawless handwriting, it said:
For my Shu-chan,
If it's not in here, ask,
I'll never say no.
He stared at the dedication and again at the book, proper bound and beautiful. Complete with pictures. Photos of Eiri as a child. Photos of Eiri and his family. Photos of teenage Eiri looking very punkish and nasty, including police mug-shots. Photos of Eiri on tour. Photos of Eiri and...him. Photos he didn't know how Eiri could have gotten, some of which made him blush even as he couldn't look away, and on the last page, The photo, the one of him and Eiri on their first date.
"It's all there, Shu," Eiri whispered softly. "It's one of a kind. Written just for you."
The one thing he'd ever really asked for: to know all about the man he loved.
He sought the perfect response and came up with...nothing. Once again, Eiri managed to give him...everything he could possibly want. A public proposal for those dedicated fans; a private commitment like no other.
How did he get so lucky?
He closed the book and hugged it, hard, to his chest, full to overflowing, the tears refusing now to be denied.
Eiri arms closed around him, rocking him gently.
"Forever, Shu-chan," came a whisper in his ear. "Forever."
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A/N: To be honest, I didn't know this part existed. I wrote the majority of "Forever" long before I ever found fanfiction. Most of Yushu was written at the same time. Then, the core of Yushu, Eiri's therapy happened, and the book for Shu happened, and then Eiri set himself that deadline in the epilogue of Yushu, and suddenly, as I was posting "Forever" I realized there was an epilogue to the fifth anniversary proposal as well. Hence...this chapter.
Hope y'all like it. Please, R&R.