Author's Note: Sometimes you just have to strike when inspiration hits, even if it's at 4 in the morning while waiting for a plane. This story takes place in my "Dreams" universe, a couple days after Sleeping Angel.
One of the few lessons I remember my mother teaching me was that you always had to think through the big decisions in your life very carefully. All in all, it was good advice. It served me well when I had to figure out what to do about Shizuru's feelings for me when I learned about them, and also when I had to try to figure out my own feelings. The problems came when there just was no definitive answer, when things could really go either way, for quite good reasons.
The easiest answer is to just stick to the status quo. It doesn't require any action, after all, and it's what happens naturally as you puzzle things out in your mind. But that doesn't mean it's the right answer, especially if the only reason you're sticking to it is because your mind keeps coming to the conclusion that there are good reasons both for change and for keeping things the same. In the end, I just couldn't be satisfied with it.
My mental debate finally came to a head one day, after I'd been away from Shizuru for the last two days. We'd had a brief moment in bed two nights ago, when I'd gone over to see her but fallen asleep waiting, but no contact since I left for school the next morning. Two days really shouldn't have been that hard on me. I'd gone longer without talking to her before, such as when she'd gone to visit her parents for the weekend, but for some reason this time was just too much for me.
I tried to get to sleep for a while that night, but it just wouldn't come. Even clutching my pillow to my chest as a Shizuru substitute wasn't enough. I missed her, dammit! It didn't make sense, it wasn't rational, but it was. None of this was any good. I was going crazy for no good reason.
Did I really have to do this, night after night? Why should I, really? This just wasn't any good. But... the thing was... there were too many memories here. In this bed, even. I didn't want to leave them all behind. It was in this bed that Shizuru took care of me while I was sick with the flu, where we shared our first mutual kiss, where I finally realized that I was in love with Shizuru. And finally... where I first showed my love to Shizuru.
There was no way I could leave all that behind. But, life being what it was, I would have to eventually. I couldn't stay in the dorms my entire life. Even when fall hit, I'd have to share the room with someone. Life went on, and you had to leave these places behind, no matter how important they were to you. If I chose to go on my own earlier, so I wouldn't be missing Shizuru this much every night we couldn't be together, what was I really losing out on?
Dammit! I was doing it again, letting myself get lost in a maze of thought. Why was it so hard to admit to how I was feeling? The truth was... this dormroom just didn't feel like home to me. Granted, it had a lot of nice memories, but it wasn't my home. I hadn't really had any home since the accident that took my mother. My apartment was just a place for me to sleep, so it wasn't any big loss giving it up. This room had some more important memories, but it still didn't feel like a home to me.
It had been long enough. I had to listen to what my heart was telling me. Besides, all the good memories I had were just from this bed, on this mattress. Mattresses were easily replaceable. I could easily pick up another one to leave behind if I wanted to take my memories with me. Not tonight though. I could worry about that later. I needed to act now, before I started thinking again.
I didn't even bother to check the time, but I think it was sometime around 1 or 2 am. It didn't matter. I rifled around my room to shove a change of clothes and my toiletries into my duffel bag. I grabbed it and my backpack and I was off. Riding to Shizuru's house at night was really no problem for me. I knew the route by heart, so I could have driven it with my eyes closed if I didn't need to worry about traffic.
My brain started to nag me about this, but I quickly redirected its efforts into figuring out just what I should do when I got there. Many ideas ran through my head, but in the end, I decided to just keep it simple. I was never good at making things too elaborate, especially on short notice. Besides, Shizuru really just liked the simple gestures best, when it came down to it.
I parked my bike in Shizuru's driveway and made my way inside and towards her room. I hadn't made much effort to keep quiet, but she seemed to still be asleep when I entered. I hadn't been planning on this, but I realized that this was actually perfect. Just as she'd done for me two days ago when I'd fallen asleep in her bed, I crawled in behind Shizuru and delicately wrapped my arms around her in a hug.
Shizuru let out a gentle moan, and it was all I could do to stop myself from moaning as well when she pressed herself back into me and muttered out a sweet, "Natsuki...." I held back though, and I gently stroked Shizuru's side until I was able to rouse her from sleep. It still took her a bit to come to full consciousness and realize just what was going on. She wasn't one for questions though. She simply let out a yawn and cuddled back into me as she said, "Hi, Natsuki..."
"Hey Shizuru," I said, giving her a loving squeeze with my arms. "I'm home."
"Yeah," I said. I buried my face into the back of Shizuru's neck, giving her a soft kiss. "I'm finally home."