Disclaimer: I don't own Gravitation!
BTW, if you haven't read Look Around, I strongly recommend that you do. It will be pretty confusing otherwise. I hope everyone enjoys reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Yuki squinted his eyes against the bright afternoon sun as he watched the familiar yet foreign city fly past. Waves of negative emotions washed over him every time he recognized something familiar. I hope Dr. Kinjo is right about this. He felt a thump on his chest and looked down at his exhausted little lover. Everything they had gone through, the break ups, the times he would disappear leaving Shuichi in anguish, and the reluctant reconciliations were nothing compared to that one awful night. Yuki had abruptly fled to Germany at that time in an attempt to heal the deep psychological scars that Kitazawa had left on his psyche. The six months he'd spent with Dr. Schlucter had been pure hell, but it had helped him realize how much he loved the annoying little brat snuggled comfortably in his arms. It had been two years since they had been reunited. During that time, he'd spent many hours in therapy with Dr. Kinjo. Now he was back in New York again. The thought of visiting Kitazawa's grave and going to his special place in Central Park made Yuki's stomach twist into knots, but Dr. Kinjo had assured him that this was a journey he had to make in order to fully heal his deep emotional wounds. He felt something warm slowly spreading on his chest pulling him from his dark musings.
"Hey, cut it out," Yuki said louder than he'd intended. "You should have taken a nap during the flight like I suggested."
"Huh…what?" Shuichi groggily replied. "Are we there yet?"
"Idiot," he chuckled affectionately. "No we're not there yet. You're drooling on my chest!" Yuki wiped at the wet spot with the cuff of his jacket.
"I'm sorry. I just couldn't keep my eyes open anymore." Shuichi said yawning and stretching unintentionally striking a provocative pose.
"That's why I told you to sleep on the plane," he admonished trying in vain to ignore Shuichi's lithe body. "If you go to sleep now, you'll never be able to adjust to New York time."
Yuki watched Shuichi in fascination. The small catnap he'd taken had somehow completely revived him. He energetically looked out the cab window marveling all the while at the differences between New York City and Tokyo. A sudden pain stabbed Yuki's heart. At one time he had been as genuine and naïve as Shuichi, but that was before… He attempted to drive those thoughts out of his mind, but being in New York again with so many familiar sights, sounds, and smells, it was impossible to completely block them all out. With random precision, they floated at will in and out of his consciousness. Coming back here was a bad idea. Yuki couldn't explain it, but he had a feeling in the pit of his stomach that something very bad was going to happen.
"New York is really huge! Do you think there are as many people here as there are in Tokyo?" Shuichi waited patiently for a response unable to tear his eyes away from the amazing sights beyond his window. After several minutes of silence, he reluctantly looked to his distracted lover. Shuichi gasped at the sight of his pale face. "Yuki…are you alright?"
"Yeah," he answered trying desperately to calm his rapidly beating heart. "I'm just tired. Ah, here we are." Motioning out the window, Yuki pointed out the large, opulent hotel in which they would be staying for the next week.
"Whoa! K's really outdone himself this time." Shuichi commented as he scrambled out of the taxi.
While Yuki checked them in, Shuichi walked around the lobby completely awestruck by the luxury and splendor of the place. The walls, which were paneled with dark, polished mahogany, dramatically contrasted the cream and tan colored marble floor. Dark brown chairs and sofas lining the walls were beautifully accentuated with gold patterned throw pillows. There were several large windows covered by sheer, white curtains and simple but elegant electric sconces hung from the dark pillars throughout the room. This place looks like a palace!
"Let's go, Shuichi," Yuki called breaking him out of his reverie.
Throughout the long ride in the elevator, Shuichi wondered curiously what their suite would look like. If it was as nicely decorated as the lobby, it would be absolutely perfect.
Shuichi's eyes widened in surprise as he looked around the suite that K had booked for them. It had a large living room with two chairs and a sofa situated next to a large picture window at one end of the room and a stylish but functional desk at the other. In the corner at the other side of the window there was a small, round, marble table with two matching chairs. On the right hand side of the room, there was a door that led into a spacious bathroom with an enormous, old-fashioned, pedestal tub, a generously sized shower, sink, and vanity. At the back of the room, facing the entrance was the bedroom with a comfortable looking king sized bed and a large wardrobe. The entire suite was decorated with varying degrees of dark browns and rich tans which gave it a cozy atmosphere. Off the bedroom, there were large sliding glass doors which led to a balcony. There was another marble table and matching chairs out there as well. The view from our balcony overlooking Central Park was breathtaking. This is even better than I'd hoped for!
"How do you like…" Yuki began as he joined him out on the balcony.
Shuichi looked at him questioningly and was surprised to see his normally cool countenance etched with alarm. "What's wrong?" He asked worried by Yuki's suddenly pale face.
"It's nothing," he answered evasively as he hastily backed into the bedroom. Why did K have to book us a room that overlooks Central Park, Yuki wondered fighting the dread that was flooding rapidly into his heart. He'd always loved Central Park as a child. It had been his favorite place to visit, but it had been Kitazawa's favorite as well. This was where they had met, and, when the weather was nice, Kitazawa preferred to tutor him in his favorite spot – under the large oak tree in the southeastern corner of the park. Yuki fought his masochistic urge to look in that direction as he retreated quickly into the bathroom.
Following rapidly in Yuki's wake, the dread Shuichi had sensed from him since their arrival in New York had suddenly become palpable. "Stop telling me nothing's wrong. I know something is bothering you."
"Would you just drop it and leave me alone," he yelled anger flashing wildly in his golden eyes. Looking at the shocked and hurt expression on Shuichi's face, Yuki instantly regretted his harsh remark. Although it had been months since he'd spoken to Shuichi like this, he couldn't quell the horrible memories that were assaulting his psyche or quiet the negative emotions they were churning up. "Just give me a moment alone," he asked in what he hoped would be a more gentle voice.
"Alright," Shuichi answered fighting back his tears. "I'll go unpack our clothes." I've got to remember that this is not a vacation, Shuichi berated himself. This is going to be a very difficult week for Yuki, and I've got to do my best to support him. He's been trying so hard to undo the harm that Kitazawa inflicted upon him. He quickly set to work arranging their clothes in the wardrobe and stowing their luggage in the corner of the living room. Their toiletries still needed to be put away, but since Yuki still hadn't come out of the bathroom, he placed them all on the table. He had begun to pace nervously in the living room, when Yuki finally joined him.
"You must be starved," Yuki said in a forced pleasant tone. "Let's go get something to eat. There used to be a good Italian restaurant near here. How does that sound?"
"That sounds great," Shuichi answered trying his best to sound cheerful. "Just let me put the rest of our things away." He grabbed an armful of their toiletries and took them into the bathroom.
Yuki watched Shuichi gratefully. Throughout his long road to recovery, Shuichi had eventually learned to back off when he snapped at him or treated him coldly. It had been at Dr. Schlucter's suggestion that Shuichi began seeing Dr. Kinjo as well. Since he will be living with you and dealing with your emotional baggage, Shuichi needs to have counseling too. Dr. Schlucter's voice echoed in his ears. During their relationship, Shuichi had matured a great deal and yet somehow he still managed to keep his youthful, hyperactive personality. Although he still hadn't voiced his feelings aloud, he loved Shuichi more than anyone – including his once beloved tutor Kitazawa. Actually, that wasn't entirely true. The last time they had reconciled, Yuki had incoherently mumbled those terrifying three little words. He'd hoped that Shuichi hadn't heard it, but of course he had, and of course he wanted Yuki to repeat it. He didn't know why he had been so reluctant to say "I love you" to Shuichi. He just knew it wasn't something he could vocalize just yet. So he'd denied that he'd said it, and he's vehemently denied it ever since. So much so, in fact that he'd even convinced Shuichi that it never happened.
"I'm finished," he happily announced pulling Yuki back into the present.
We walked through the halls and rode the elevator in silence. Although Shuichi loved to visit new places and try different kinds of food, he was still very worried about Yuki. I wish he would share his burdens with me. It's not like I haven't experienced the pain and humiliation of being violated. He had made that observation with Dr. Kinjo and was promptly reminded that he hadn't been betrayed by someone he loved and trusted. Shuichi knew he had a point, but he still wished there was something he could do.
"That's interesting," Yuki mused. "There used to be a book store in here." He pointed to what was now a beauty parlor. "I'm glad the restaurant is still here." He opened the door for Shuichi and followed him into the building.
The moment they crossed the threshold their noses were rewarded with the delicious smell of freshly baked garlic bread. The décor looked like a hip version of an authentic Italian restaurant. The walls were eggshell white trimmed with red and the floors were covered with glossy black tile. There were tables of varying sizes from small square tables for couples to large tables for families all covered with red and white checkered table cloths. Several pictures of what Shuichi assumed were various scenes from famous Italian cities graced the walls.
An attractive woman with dark hair, fair skin and dark brown eyes asked Yuki a question. Shuichi had never successfully learned English when he was in school, and had forgotten the few words and phrases that he had managed to learn. He could tell by the look on Yuki's face that she was trying to flirt with him. He felt the heat rise within his cheeks. This was something he hadn't anticipated about coming here. At least when they were back in Japan, he could understand everything that was said. This new turn of events was beginning to make him decidedly nervous.
After a brief verbal exchange, she led them to a small, intimate table for two at the back of the restaurant. She gave Shuichi a large, blatantly fake smile as she handed out their menus, glanced longingly at Yuki and walked briskly away.
"What was that all about?" Shuichi asked trying to keep the tension out of his voice.
"She asked 'what are you and your brother doing later this evening?' I told her that we had just arrived from Japan and would probably be going back to our hotel room to sleep. She said 'that's too bad because I have a friend who would love to go out with your brother. He's just her type.' At that point I grew tired of playing games so I politely asked her to find a table in a private little corner for me and my lover." He nonchalantly picked up his menu and began perusing its contents.
Shuichi exhaled a sigh of relief. I love you so much! Then he began to wonder, did Yuki rebuff her advances because he thought she was annoying, or did the thought of her fixing me up with another woman bother him? He opened up his menu and realized instantly that it was a wasted gesture. "Ah, Yuki I can't read the menu. Would you order for me?"
Yuki had been right about the food here. They had certainly enjoyed their meal. He ordered lasagna for Shuichi and chicken cacciatore for himself. Although They shared a decanter of wine, Yuki would only let Shuichi have one small wine glassful. He had always been a lightweight when it comes to alcoholic beverages and Yuki didn't want to carry him all the way back to the hotel. During their meal, Yuki really started to relax and act more like himself. It made Shuichi happy to finally see the smile that always turns his knees into jelly.
"I'm really stuffed," Shuichi said as he rubbed his bulging stomach. "I'd better use the bathroom before we walk back to the hotel."
He walked into the bathroom and immediately began to tend to his business. Two large men walked in a minute later and began talking loudly. He glanced questioningly back at them. They were looking at him menacingly. Have I done something wrong? One of them shoved Shuichi into the urinal as he was zipping up his pants.
"Sorry," Shuichi said bowing politely as he tried to walk around them.
"Look Emmet, d'ya think the little faggot's trying ta pick us up? What d'ya reckon he's tryin' ta say?" The fat one with greasy blonde hair spat out his voice heavily laced with disgust.
"I dunno, but he's gonna regret tryin' ta pull that homo shit here! Fuckin' foreign faggot, why cain't ya just crawl back in the closet where ya belong!" The other one growled. He was even larger than the fat one, but he was all muscle. His face was flushed as if he'd been drinking too much and it extended into his semi-bald head. He pushed me hard against the wall and drew back his arm to punch me. "I'm gonna make ya sorry ya ever set foot in our country!"
Shuichi put his hands up to protect his face. "What have I done?" He asked in a panic. "I don't even understand what you're saying!"
Shuichi felt a blinding white flash of pain as his fist slammed into the side of his face. His knees buckled out from under him and he would have slid down the wall, if his assailant hadn't had a death grip on his shirt. Through his blurred vision, he could see that the bald one was about to hit him again. Please Yuki come and save me! He closed his eyes and willed this living nightmare to end quickly.
Shuichi slumped to the floor as he was abruptly released. He opened his eyes just in time to see Yuki slamming the bald guy's head into the wall next to him. He shoved the behemoth into his friend and they both crashed to the floor.
"You're a couple of cowards! Are the two of you so weak that you have to attack a person, who is less than half your size?" Yuki yelled at them in English.He acted like he was going to continue his physical onslaught, causing his cowering victims to flinch. "Neither one of you had the balls to confront him on your own! You're pathetic! The two of you came in here when one of you would have been more than enough!" He grabbed Shuichi's wrist and helped him to his feet. "Let's go, Shuichi," he spoke in Japanese. "The sight of this garbage is making me sick to my stomach!"
Shuichi's legs were shaking so badly, he could barely walk. It wasn't because of the punch in the face. he'd had worse than that before. Being attacked like that again, it reminded him of that awful night. They'd even gone to an Italian restaurant that night too! Yuki hailed them a taxi and held Shuichi close all the way back to the hotel. He couldn't stop shaking. For some reason, he felt very cold and just couldn't get warm. By the time they got to the hotel, his legs were so weak, he couldn't even walk. Yuki had to carry him all the way to their suite.
Yuki took him straight to the bathroom and deposited him on the chair next to the vanity. "Will you be alright if I let you go for a minute?" Yuki tenderly asked concern etching his flawless face.
"I…I think so," Shuichi answered weakly.
Yuki began filling the tub with warm water. While he waited for the tub to fill, he helped Shuichi get undressed. Gingerly picking him up, Yuki set him down in the warm, soothing water. After shutting off the faucet, he got undressed and climbed into the tub behind Shuichi.
"I was right," Yuki said quietly in his ear. "This tub is big enough for two people." he gently began massaging Shuichi's shoulders. "That must have brought back a lot of unpleasant memories."
"Yes it did," Shuichi answered feeling more at ease now that they were safe in their hotel room. "I feel awful. We're supposed to be here to help you deal with your past."
"Don't worry about it." Even though he couldn't see his face, Shuichi knew he was smiling. "I would rather help you deal with your past than try to deal with mine."
Shuichi pulled Yuki's arms around him and leaned against his warm chest. "Thanks for sticking around this time!"