Twenty-seven Days in Full Sunlight by Moon71
SUMMARY: After his night of "exile" and his dinner with Mika, Shuichi comes home to a remarkably mellow Eiri. Will this be his most perfect moment with his lover so far?
TIMELINE: Based on a scene in anime Track 6 – "Shady Scheme"
RATING: K-T (a bit of kissing, bit of hanky-panky, nothing very rude…)
DISCLAIMER: The scene in question is definitely not mine. Don't recall saying it was…
DEDICATION: Well I could dedicate this to the makers of the anime, for creating one of my absolute favourite scenes that wasn't already in the manga, but instead I will dedicate it to Eiri-chick for such nice reviews on Gurabite!
NOTE: As already noted, this little story is based on the early morning scene where Shuichi returns home to Eiri after being kicked out and having dinner with Mika. It has to be one of my absolute favourites – the golden sunlight, Eiri's unexpected tenderness and the slightly lost look on his face; above all Shuichi with his head in Eiri's lap – took the anime well beyond my expectations. (I have many favourite scenes, but most have their roots in the manga. I know most of this did happen in the manga, but it's this particular scene, as opposed to the manga version, which really won me.)
WRITING NOTE: Though of the two Shuichi for me is the hero, (No Shuichi, no Gravitation. End of story) I really do find Shuichi a lot more difficult than Eiri, when it comes to POV. As a result, I'm not quite satisfied with this story. Do tell me what you think!
FINAL NOTES: (SUSHI BARRRRRR) - Another huge thank you to everyone who read or reviewed the story! I don't usually post another one this quickly, but I am on holiday so what the hell? I am planning a follow-up – not a new story, just a "conclusion." There were originally more scenes at the party, but I couldn't get them to work so I dropped them – mainly because I simplified the plot quite a lot. Don't quite know when it will get written, but it's on the list! (LJ) – I hope to post a quick rundown of what I'm working on at the moment on my LJ, more for my own reference than anything else, but will include notes on the next Grav stories etc.) It isn't restricted to Friends at the moment so you're all welcome to have a look… assuming I get it done…
Shuichi could hardly breathe. The moment seemed so special, so fragile, something as clumsy as an indrawn breath might shatter it. He stayed perfectly still as Yuki's hand slipped down from his hair to the back of his neck. Skimpily dressed as he was, he had grown chilled just from the short walk from Mika's car back to Yuki's flat, but wherever Yuki touched, heat spread over Shuichi's skin. Yet it wasn't desire – not in the usual sense. It was something far more precious.
The early morning sun, streaming in through the windows, turned Yuki's yellow hair to gold and seemed to reflect against his pale skin. He was gazing into the bright light as if dazzled by it. Or was it that the shock of hearing himself apologise to Shuichi for chasing him – and Mika – out of his flat the night before had temporarily stunned him? Whatever it was, Shuichi found himself falling under the same spell, willingly sharing Yuki's enchantment.
Very slowly Shuichi shifted downwards to lay his head in Yuki's lap, feeling the warmth of Yuki's body penetrate through the thin fabric of his trousers. After several heartbeats he allowed himself to adjust his position, resting his hand on Yuki's knee. For a moment there was no movement. Then Yuki's hand settled upon Shuichi's hair once more and began a slow, absent stroking. Shuichi drew in a deep breath, releasing it very slowly.
Could this be his most perfect moment with Yuki so far? Shuichi considered the mental list he kept, a private database of Perfect Yuki Moments which he referred to whenever he felt lonely, troubled or insecure. The list had actually grown surprisingly long since he had moved in with Yuki; their first night together remained in a section of its own, immune from challenges, but this moment might well replace the one when Yuki had allowed him to stay, and even the one when Yuki had fetched him home from the park after throwing him out the day before.
At any rate this moment deserved a high rating just for the relief it brought. Everything was still all right. He hadn't ruined it all. His time was not yet up, whatever Mika thought.
Poor, naïve Shuichi…
"Where did you go?"
The question surprised Shuichi so much he had to think before he answered. "Oh – Mika-san took me out for dinner… to a really nice restaurant…"
He didn't add that he had been too nervous of Mika and too worried about Yuki to eat much. He had even refused dessert, despite Mika describing in great detail the quality of the Italian ice creams on offer. It wasn't just Mika herself who had ruined his appetite, though she had the same ability as the brother she closely resembled to either enchant or stupefy Shuichi with a single glance. It was that peculiar look she gave him when she thought he wasn't watching, a look he didn't understand. Maybe she was just wondering what her Eiri could possibly see in someone like him. But it didn't seem quite that simple.
Poor naïve Shuichi. You don't know anything about my brother, do you?
Yes, and her words. Her words troubled him more than anything.
Shuichi sighed again. Twenty-seven days. He had been staying with Yuki twenty-seven days. When had he stopped counting? When, more to the point, had Yuki stopped counting? It was supposed to be a week. He had pushed it out of his mind, told himself it was best left alone. Why question such good fortune? Those twenty-seven days had been better than he ever could have imagined.
Not that Yuki was the perfect boyfriend… not that Shuichi had quite gathered the courage to call him his boyfriend, at least not outside the privacy of his own thoughts, though Yuki had said he was his lover... the writer spent hours shut away in his study, often working late into the night and sleeping through the morning, so that there whole days when Shuichi only ever saw him working or asleep. He was tolerant rather than affectionate and – most surprising of all – not as rampantly lustful as Shuichi would have expected. If his writing was in full flow, sex was completely off the menu.
But there were many things which compensated for these shortcomings. For one thing, Yuki was an excellent cook and he never seemed to mind feeding Shuichi was well as himself. And though he never said so directly, he did seem to appreciate it when Shuichi praised his efforts. He liked cooking programmes too and, boring though Shuichi thought them, they usually offered his best chance of a cuddle on the sofa.
Shuichi had not actually shifted permanently into Yuki's bed, but when they did make love Yuki allowed him to stay there all night – and, after some hesitance and several awkward moments, even let him snuggle up. He seemed to have a downright aversion to sleeping on his back, so Shuichi's fantasy of sleeping with his head upon Yuki's breast was out of the question, but there were a few precious nights when Yuki had fallen asleep in Shuichi's arms with his head upon his shoulder.
Then there were the times he permitted Shuichi to sit beside him as he worked, as long as he kept quiet and didn't fidget too much – for Shuichi, who could hardly ever keep still, such moments were unexpectedly soothing. He would just slip into a dream, composing tunes in his head as he watched Yuki's long, elegant fingers dancing over the keyboard and imagined their two minds working in synch, stimulating one another to greater heights of creativity.
All these little things had suddenly become more important than ever when Mika had remarked how unusual it was for Yuki to keep anyone that close to him for such a long time. As she had said it, fear had grown in Shuichi; the thought of it troubled him far more than the disturbing hints she had made about her brother's shadowy past. It had suddenly occurred to him that he might already have been stretching Yuki's patience to the limit before he had got so overexcited during Mika's visit. What if he returned home to a furious Yuki demanding he pack his stuff and leave? Perhaps Yuki was at home doing the same calculations Shuichi had just done for Mika, coming up with the same total and realising Shuichi had overstayed his time?
But instead he had come home to a Yuki who… said he was sorry.
"What did you two find to talk about?" he heard Yuki ask. His lover's voice was slow and distant, as if he was speaking from a dream.
Shuichi kept very still for a moment, but quickly realised there was no point in pretending. Yuki already knew – that was why he was asking.
"You, of course," he answered finally. Then he sighed. "Mika-san told me I don't know anything about you. She sort of suggested things… about your past, you know? But I want you to know that I didn't ask her about it. I want to learn more about you on my own. Whatever it is, I want to hear about it from you!"
He didn't add how lonely he had suddenly felt when Mika had said what she said – he had really managed to kid himself he knew Yuki, that they had some sort of understanding, that if they carried on just as they were things would be fine and Yuki would eventually come to see he was the perfect boyfriend and grow to love him. But though Mika seemed surprised he had been allowed to stay this long, she did not seem impressed. If anything it sounded as though she was trying to warn him that things were not nearly as simple as he thought.
His mind protested that Mika didn't know how it was with them, that she hadn't seen how kind Yuki could be to him and how well he managed to cope with Yuki's volatile moods. He had acted like such a little idiot when they had been in Yuki's flat, upset by the mention of Yuki's engagement to Ayaka and even more so by the fact that Mika talked about it in front of him. She probably thought he was just some bimbo Yuki was amusing himself with on a whim, thought him completely dominated by her brother, a kickable little puppy-dog. But it wasn't like that. It just wasn't.
But Mika was Yuki's sister. She had to know Yuki – Eiri - better than anyone. She knew his past.
The "Yuki Eiri" you think you know… is an impostor.
There was faint contempt in the emphasis she placed on her brother's penname, as if she was dismissing the Yuki Shuichi loved as a cheap forgery. Who had Uesugi Eiri been? What had he been? Anything could have happened to make him the way he was. It could be something horrible, something Shuichi would not know how to deal with. Yuki could have been ill or in some terrible accident, broken the law, gone to prison, joined a cult, been in an asylum… but then again, perhaps it was something far simpler…
Yuki could once have been in love with someone else.
"I wonder why Mika said that," Shuichi whispered, unable to stop himself. Yuki's mood was so gentle, maybe this was just the right time. "It's like there's stuff I ought to know that I don't know… What is it, Yuki…?" Shuichi's hand tightened on his lover's knee. "I want to know everything about you…"
"What would be the point in finding out?"
Yuki's tone, unexpectedly harsh in this quiet moment, startled Shuichi into indignation. Didn't Yuki understand? Should he have just let Mika tell him everything? He could have done. But those stupid love advice columns Maiko loved to paw over and which he had skimmed when she wasn't looking always said that good relationships were based on trust. Yuki would surely be hurt if Shuichi betrayed him like that – there were plenty of embarrassing things Shuichi knew he would hate for Maiko to tell Yuki, and this was on a totally different scale.
But that sense of isolation persisted. He still felt he was on the outside looking in. It made his claim on Yuki seem fleeting and brittle. Was Mika offering to tell him things because she was inviting him inside, or because she guessed he would never be invited in and so what she told him didn't matter? Or… was she trying to scare him off?
What would be the point in finding out?
Why had Yuki said that? Because he didn't expect their relationship to last any more than Mika did? Or because he just didn't care about his past? One way or other, Shuichi longed to know, longed to be on the inside, a permanent, undisputed part of Yuki's life.How could he convince Yuki that he wasn't just being obsessively inquisitive? That he really wanted to make Yuki happy?
"Of course I want to find out!" he protested. "Don't you see, Yuki – the point is for us to get to know each other! I feel lonely when I think there's something I don't know! Just tell me…"
"Enough!" Yuki snapped, his golden eyes flashing dangerously.
All at once, he took Shuichi's face roughly in his hands and kissed him. It was a harsh, aggressive kiss, intended to silence. Shuichi held still, torn between the urge to protest and the equally powerful urge to respond.
He knew he had a stubborn streak – his mother had complained of it years before Yuki had begun calling him a brat. He hated not getting his way when he was fixed on something. He had admired Seguchi Tohma since he was a boy; had thought it a dream come true when NG had signed Bad Luck. Yet he had not hesitated to fight Seguchi over Fujisaki joining the band.
But he had been wrong about little Suguru, precocious little irritant though he was. And for a while he had thought that mistake might have cost him Hiro's friendship. Not to mention his new relationship with Yuki. Was getting his own way here and now really worth the risk of alienating Yuki again?
Yuki drew back sharply. "Stop it."
"Huh - ?" Shuichi blinked. "Stop what?"
"Thinking. Whatever Mika said, forget about it. She can't help you. If you want to get to know me, get to know this. I'm Yuki Eiri. I don't have a past or a future, just a present. And that's all that matters."
Shuichi turned his head away, saddened by Yuki's words. They seemed truthful enough – Yuki lived for the day; whatever he wanted he got. He suited himself and no-one else. A nice flat, flash cars, cool clothes, luxury food, beautiful women… sex, without commitment. He was warning Shuichi not to make plans, not to get too comfortable with the way things were. Just as Mika had. And perhaps in that abrupt, outspoken manner they shared, both brother and sister thought they were trying to protect him.
How could he follow their advice? His dreams, his longings and ambitions were what made him who he was. He could no more settle for an casual relationship with Yuki than he could a mediocre music career.
But then he remembered something Hiro had said to him the day Sakano had told them they would open for Ask at Zepp Tokyo. Shuichi had been almost overcome by nerves at the very thought of it, but Hiro had reassured him. It's you, he had said, his hand upon Shuichi's shoulder, it's your faith… in yourself, in me, in our music, in Bad Luck… that's what got us this far. See how unstoppable you are when you really want something?
And wasn't that also true of his relationship with Yuki? After all, Yuki might know himself; Mika might know his shady past. But neither of them knew Shuichi as Hiro did.
As Yuki reached for him again, Shuichi did not fight him off. As with Fujisaki, it was sometimes necessary to lose a battle in order to win a war…
And, after all, Yuki's kiss was really, really delicious…
Shuichi allowed himself to melt into Yuki's embrace, to return his kiss with enthusiasm. His sudden submission seemed to surprise his lover; his grip softened, freeing his hands to wander in surprisingly gentle, eager caresses. Yuki might have kissed him only to silence him, but that didn't mean he was immune to the effect himself.
At last they broke the kiss, panting softly. The morning air was still fresh, not even yet polluted with Yuki's cigarette smoke. The early light still filled the room, sparkling, turning what it touched to gold. Shuichi wanted to make love to Yuki right here, in this room bathed in yellow light. He wanted to tell Yuki that he was like the sunlight, golden and beautiful and irresistible. He wanted him to understand that in spite of those dark moods and that cold reserve, in spite of the uncertainty remaining between them, these last few weeks had been like twenty seven days in full sunlight. But he was too shy to say such things, remembering how Yuki had mocked his lyrics, so he stored the thought away in a separate corner of his mind where his songs were kept, and allowed Yuki to lead him towards the bedroom.
The sheets were fresh and cool against Shuichi's skin. Had Yuki not slept last night? It was possible he had worked all the way through. It was even possible – just possible – that he had been kept up worrying about Shuichi's whereabouts. As he lay down upon them Shuichi told himself to let go. He hadn't ruined everything. He was back where he belonged, in Yuki's bed, and Yuki still wanted him.
He smiled up at Yuki as he watched the other man undress. His Yuki. His Eiri. Overflowing with love, he stretched out his arms to welcome him.
But Yuki hesitated, his eyes narrowing, a faint frown creasing his brow.
Shuichi's smile faded. It was that look; the one Mika had given him. Only on Yuki's beloved features it was easier to read. It was a searching look, the kind a person might give if they were trying to put a name to a face.
"Yuki…?" Shuichi called uncertainly.
In the blink of an eye, the look was gone and Yuki was in his arms. There was no more room for thought.
Shuichi stretched luxuriously and opened his eyes. The morning light had brightened to midday intensity, losing its shimmering golden qualities. But it didn't matter – he felt he could easily outshine the sun, the way his body seemed to sparkle with energy. As he felt his companion stir beside him, he reached out a hand.
"Don't get up yet, Yuki…!"
Yuki turned to him. "Aren't you supposed to be at work?"
Shuichi giggled and threw his arms about him, kissing him playfully. "It's my day off, remember? Come on; don't tell me Yuki Eiri's getting too old for a second time?"
Yuki scowled at him, but then his expression softened. His grip was remarkably gentle as he pulled Shuichi's arms from around his neck. "Unlike you layabout musicians, writers don't get a day off. I've got to get back to work."
"Didn't you get any work done last night?" Shuichi asked innocently.
"Don't push it, brat."
"Ohhh-kay, Yuki…" Shuichi gave a theatrical sigh and flopped back onto the bed. "Would you like me to bring you in some coffee later?"
Again, just for a second, there was that odd look. Then Yuki nodded. "I suppose so. But make it stronger this time – unlike you I don't have caffeine for blood. Oh – and if you destroy the percolator, you're buying a new one."
"Oh, that's okay," Shuichi answered cheerfully, "we finally got paid for that quiz show, so I can buy you all the percolators you want!"
Muttering something under his breath, Eiri disappeared into the bathroom. Shuichi lay where he was, not tempted to follow this time. He'd get up in a while, but right now he was comfortable where he was, here in Yuki's bed.
So Yuki didn't believe in the future? Maybe Shuichi could change his mind. Yuki had said one week, yet it had now been twenty-seven days. Maybe he would be able to convince him there could be a future – for the two of them.
Or maybe he could become just a little more like Yuki himself and learn to enjoy what was put before him instead of worrying so much about what might come next.
Or maybe, maybe… the two of them could meet somewhere in the middle.
The "Yuki Eiri" you think you know… is an impostor.
Those words still discomfited him, but he would not let them scare him off. It did not matter how many Yukis or how many Eiris were hidden in that beautiful body. Shuichi would learn to love them all.