Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Shugo Chara! are property of Peach-Pit. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.
Not my usual fandom. Please treat me kindly! :) Amuto overtones.
By Nanaki Lioness
Amu had to wonder whether she'd ever find anything strange again. The presence on her balcony that knocked the glass window gently enough to wake her yet not cause a nuisance didn't frighten her, after all, and nor did it surprise her. Instead she simply wrapped herself in her dressing gown and gently slid the door open, yawning sleepily, offhandedly wondering at what point during all these changes to her life had she stopped caring about what was normal and what wasn't.
"Ikuto," she uttered. "It's the middle of the night."
Ikuto stood before her, leaning back against the balcony rail with Yoru sitting on his shoulder. He nodded at her but didn't move from his post, causing Amu to pull the balcony door closed with a soft click.
"Ikuto?" She tried again, questioning him this time.
"I'm tired," was the only response she received.
"That's because it's the middle of the night and you're standing on my balcony," Amu told him, putting her hands on her hips and glaring at him. He'd woken her for this?
"I'm tired," Ikuto repeated, closing his eyes and looking at the floor. His hair covered his face and he brushed it away, causing Amu's heart to skip a beat. Why was it Ikuto could do the most natural things and still cause her to feel weak at the knees?
She recognised what Ikuto was asking- and yes, it was a question- was a request to spend the night. She just didn't recognise why and she had a feeling she wasn't going to get an answer. However she wasn't about to let him in with open arms- not at the risk of her parents finding out and also because she wanted some sleep tonight and wouldn't get any with the overgrown feline sneaking his way into her bed as he always did.
"You can sleep anywhere," she argued instead. "Why do you want to sleep here?"
"It's cold out."
"It was cold out yesterday."
"Let me in, Amu."
Amu shook her head, pointing a finger at him accusingly. "What kind of perverted trick are you playing on me, Ikuto?"
Ikuto finally looked up at her, sighing heavily and fixing her with a look Amu couldn't place. "Amu..."
"Fine, fine!" Amu yelled, putting her hand on the sliding door handle. "You can stay but you have to leave before my parents wake up, got it? I can't risk them finding you."
She pushed the handle and frowned as she met resistance. She tried again harder, colour draining from her face as she realised what she'd done.
"You locked us out didn't you?" Ikuto said after a moment as Amu pulled and pushed at the handle.
"Shut up Ikuto!"
Ikuto responded by jumping up onto the edge of the balcony, clearly holding every intention of leaving. Amu shook her head and grabbed his arm, pulling at it.
"Ikuto, you can't leave! You got me locked out! I'm not going to stay locked out on my balcony all night because you wanted to-"
She stopped abruptly as Ikuto coughed, turning away and attempting to hide his face. Amu ran round the other side of him, eyes widening as she saw how red his cheeks were. Sweat beaded across his brow, giving Amu the answer she needed.
Amu shook her head firmly, pulling on his arm again. "You are not. You're sick, Ikuto."
She turned and tapped urgently on the glass door, hoping one of her Guardian Characters would hear it and wake up. She could get them to unlock the door, but unfortunately it seemed they were fast asleep or possibly ignoring her knocking if they presumed Amu would deal with it. Either way, she received no help, leaving her to lean back against the door and try to work out the best way to deal with this. Short of getting Ikuto to carry her downstairs and ringing the doorbell- which wasn't the best plan as she'd then have to explain how she'd managed to lock herself out in the middle of the night- she was out of ideas.
One glance at Ikuto told her that he wouldn't be in any state to carry her down anyway- he looked as though he was about to fall off the balcony edge he was precariously balanced on.
"Get down!" She told him, tugging on his arm once more. "You'll fall!"
"She's right," Yoru told Ikuto, pawing his shoulder. "You can't leave like this."
Yoru received a flick to his forehead for his trouble, yet Ikuto heeded their warnings and got back down onto the balcony. He sank to the floor, eyes closed in pain and a hand raised to his forehead.
"What's wrong?" Amu asked, kneeling down with him. "What hurts?"
She wasn't surprised when she didn't receive a reply.
"Ikuto..." she murmured, thinking fast. She put a hand out to his forehead and gently touched it, ignoring Ikuto's flinch from her touch.
"Stop fussing," Ikuto eventually spoke, pushing her hand away.
"Stop being so stubborn!" Amu yelled at him crossly. "You came here because you wanted my help, so I'm giving it to you!"
"That's not why."
"Then why, Ikuto?"
Ikuto didn't reply, bringing his knees to his chest and burying his head in them. He clenched at his hair with his hands, alarming Amu- she shook his shoulder, aware of how ragged his breathing was.
"I don't know what to do!" She told him truthfully. "Why did you come here? How can I help you?!"
Amu hadn't been expecting the response and she almost hadn't heard it, but it prompted her into action. Pulling her dressing gown off and ignoring the cold chill that hit her, she wrapped it around Ikuto tightly and sat back, glancing around for Yoru in the hope of more details. He wasn't in sight it seemed, leaving Amu with the hope he had gone for help in some way.
"What's wrong?" She tried again.
Ikuto glanced up at her, eyeing the pink fluffy dressing gown draped around his figure with disdain. "I'm tired. Let me sleep."
"Not until you tell me what's wrong!"
"Ikuto!" Amu yelped, shaking his shoulder violently. "Don't you dare sleep! You'll get worse if you sleep in this cold."
"I'll get worse if I'm awake in it too, and that's how it's going to be isn't it?" Ikuto pointed out, the admittance that he was indeed sick not passing Amu's notice. "This is what wounded animals do, you know. They go to a comfortable place when they're sick or dying."
"You're wounded?!" Amu gasped. "You're dying?!"
"It was a metaphor," Ikuto sighed. "I meant I'm comfortable here, Amu. You always feel better when you get home when you aren't feeling well."
"But you don't live here."
"You live here."
He refused to elaborate, simply lowering his head back into his arms and curling up even tighter. Amu moved herself slightly closer to him, feeling him shiver as she did so. She reached out and lightly touched his forehead again, earning another flinch and the knowledge he was burning up.
"You're running a fever," she told him. "You can't stay here, we need to get you to the hospital."
"I don't know. I can't character transform without my Guardians- I'll try climbing down?"
"Amu," Ikuto said firmly, silencing her. "Just... Stay with me."
He reached out and clasped her hand, pulling at it to indicate she come closer. Amu stared at their hands, wanting to scream at him to keep his perverted limbs to himself- yet, she found herself being drawn closer until she was curled up against his side with his arm wrapped tightly around her.
"You're going to get sick yourself," Ikuto eventually spoke. "If you stay sitting out here in nightclothes."
He pulled at the dressing gown, wrapping half of it around Amu's shoulders and pulling her closer. His body was radiating enough feverish heat to keep her warm and Amu gladly accepted it, hoping Ikuto wouldn't be able to feel her heart pounding as she curled up against him.
"Ikuto..." She said quietly. "You're sick because you sleep outside in the cold, aren't you?"
She felt him shrug but she was sure of her diagnosis, poking him firmly in the side.
"You need to rent a hotel or something. You can't keep sleeping rough when it's so cold out."
"Stop fussing," Ikuto scolded lightly, closing his eyes and leaning his head back against the balcony surround.
They both looked up in surprise at the sound of the balcony door being tapped from the inside, Amu panicking for a moment in case it was one of her parents. Being out on the balcony in the middle of the night was one thing- attempting to explain being out on the balcony with a guy and curled up with him wasn't something she wanted to attempt trying to explain away.
Fortunately it was Yoru, who Amu smiled widely at and jumped up, indicating the catch on the door.
"Pull it!" She called through the glass, which Yoru did. A distinct click and the door was open, a gust of warm air pouring out onto the balcony as Amu pulled it wide open. "Ikuto! Come inside"
"Your parents left a small window downstairs," Yoru explained. "You're not going to turn Ikuto away, are you?"
"No," Amu told him quietly, watching Ikuto as he failed to move from his spot on the balcony. "Ikuto, come on inside."
Ikuto glanced up at her and pulled himself forward to his knees, breathing still ragged. Amu stepped forward to help him but he held a hand up to halt her, shaking his head.
"Go and warm up the bed for me," he told her, earning an indignant look from Amu.
"You're not sleeping in my bed!"
Ikuto pulled himself to his feet, putting a hand out to the wall to steady himself. Stepping inside, he let Amu shut the door behind him and unsteadily made his way across to her bed.
"I said you're not sleeping in my bed," Amu repeated.
Ikuto collapsed down onto the bed, pulling the covers around him and pointedly ignoring Amu. Amu scowled and pulled the covers off of him, pushing him off the bed onto the floor.
"I said no! You'll have to sleep in the closet."
"Closet?" Ikuto echoed sleepily, looking up at her with half lidded eyes.
Amu opened the door in question and held her arm out, pointing into it sternly. "Get in. If you're not feeling better in the morning you're to go to the hospital."
Ikuto opened his mouth to argue but closed it, yawning and apparently giving up the argument. He crawled inside and leant against the wall, Yoru floating inside to join him. Amu threw a pillow in with him, which was ignored, before closing the door and clambering back into her bed.
She laid there for a while, aware of how awake she now was. She could hear Ikuto's heavy, steady breathing and it was provoking guilt from within her. He was sick, and she'd shoved him in a closet?
"I had no choice," she said to herself quietly. It was for the best. Even if Ikuto was sick, if her parents discovered him there would be big trouble- they would argue he could have gone to a hospital, or rather that he should have gone to the hospital.
No matter how hard Amu tried to get to sleep it still evaded her, Ikuto's words flying around in her head. He'd said he was comfortable here and as much as Amu tried to deny it, having Ikuto here made her comfortable too. She felt warm and protected- like she was invincible, capable of dancing through the stars if only she had Ikuto beside her to guide her.
Before she even registered what she was doing she was getting out of the bed, grabbing the cover and padding over to the door. Her feet propelled her forward and guided her into pulling open the door, waking up Ikuto up as she did so.
He glanced up at her, confused and sleepy, and Amu's heart almost leapt out of her chest. Ikuto was unusually adorable when he was tired, she decided, laying the cover over him.
"What are you doing?" Ikuto asked, his voice thick with sleep.
"You're sick," she told him softly. "You need it more than I do."
She attempted to close the door again but something stopped her, leaving her standing in the doorway conflicted. Ikuto eyed her without a word, still staying silent as she eventually made her choice and got inside the cupboard with him. She sat on the other end of the cramped space, pulling the rest of the cover up around her as she quietly pulled the door closed from inside.
"Shush, Ikuto," Amu replied, closing her suddenly tired eyes. "Go back to sleep."
She was thankful her Guardians were eary risers and would surely wake her by calling out for her in the morning- she wouldn't sleep heavily inside an uncomfortable closet, after all. Even if she did stay asleep her parents would open her door and find her missing, assuming she'd gone out early and not that she was inside her closest asleep with Ikuto.
She let her mind run away with itself, feeling the heat radiating from Ikuto. The closet was small and slightly cramped and didn't leave much room for their own space, after all. She didn't let it bother her, finding it slightly comfortable in fact.
Comfortable, she realised, was a very good word to describe her and Ikuto. For all the other emotions she felt in his presence, comfortable was always one of them. As she drifted off into sleep she came to understand exactly what Ikuto had meant when he had said what he did- the closet was cramped, dusty and the furthest from comfortable she'd ever known but with Ikuto there to share it with her it could have been the biggest, fluffiest bed lined with silk. It was comfortable, and therefore it was perfect.
Author's Note: Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it! :)