Hey everyone! After the end of my piece Armor Ultio Est I took a breather from writing, but I've been getting back into it, no Mikan/Natsume as such recently, but at the moment I'm trying to play around with canon settings instead of doing too much AU.

And I'm playing around with Yaoi...


Anyway. Trying to be In-Character and this is yaoi, so if you don't like it gtfo, or flame me and I'll laugh about what a close-minded prick you are.

The cold silence.


The cold silence.

This was a familiar friend to Ruka – Ruka or anyone else who spent enough time around the master of the mood; it was familiar to anyone who knew Natsume.

While he could often be a talkative, intelligent and cruelly witty person, the kind that didn't need to talk endlessly to entertain you, but somehow you were captivated by his company all the same; sometimes, without any warning, he would go absolutely deathly silent, his expressions totally unreadable. Sometimes within the time it took to finish a sentence, he could go from being a serious but reasonably open person, to being in a mood as foul as tar. It could drag other people in, it could suck them under. It was absolutely hellish, but there really wasn't anything anyone could do about it. He just shut down.

You generally just had to avoid him, or ignore it.

The silence was a weapon, or, perhaps more accurately, a wall. The cold silence cut everyone off from the truth of what he was feeling. On the inside there was Natsume, with all his issues and the all-consuming darkness, and outside were all the people who were normal; people filled with light, who had no need to be confronted by this horrible thing inside him. Or at least that was how he saw it.

"Hey, Natsume" said Ruka, always his shadow even through these times. He attempted weakly to breach the mood this time, on this occasion, which could've been one of many, but this was a particular mood on an too-ordinary-to-be-true day. Natsume just stared at him like he didn't know how to talk. "Natsume," Ruka said again, emphasising the name heavily as if he was trying to remind Natsume it was his. He was always patient, he knew these were not pointless moods, but he knew that being gentle wouldn't always work.

"Oi," Ruka said sharply after a short pause, his usually soft voice with an ever so slightly nasty edge. "I'm talking to you."

"What?" Natsume replied eventually; sulky and petulant. Although he might have spoken words, this was still not an honest conversation – the real Natsume was not connected now, Ruka could tell.

"What's wrong?" he asked. They had been in lessons, but in the middle of class – for no discernable reason – Natsume stood up and walked out. So now they were slowly wandering down a path that led into the outskirts of the Northern forest: no explanation, no nothing. Natsume often skipped classes in these moods, and Ruka was not about to abandon him, so he'd followed, but it wasn't going to sit well with the teachers later on.

"Nothing," was the long-repeated answer, and it had yet to sound even remotely convincing to Ruka's keen ears.

"Okay," Ruka said coolly, but no more than a few steps further down the path he said, "What is it?"

"I told you," Natsume hissed, his hair hanging over his eyes and cutting them off from Ruka's line of vision. "Nothing."

"Is it something someone did?" Ruka suggested, and he caught just a flash of Natsume's eyes as he glared at him. "Is it something someone said?"

"It's nothing," he grunted again. Ruka knew this could go on for hours, days sometimes if he didn't do something now, and for some reason, this one time, he didn't keep batting the issue around shyly, as he had in the past.

"That's a load of shit, Natsume," he said calmly, and sensed his friend reacting to his tone. He wasn't in the mood to fuck around, and the fact that Natsume had made him walk out of class, and probably gotten them both in trouble, was enough of an irritant today. "I'm not doing this," he groaned impaitently.

"What?" Natusme snapped.

"This," Ruka sighed. "This mood, Natsume. Don't act like it's not happening, or that I can't tell, because I've known you about long enough to recognise them. What... what the fuck is wrong with you?"

Natsume snorted.

"You wouldn't understand."

Now that really pissed off Ruka, because if there was one person in the whole world who could understand Hyuuga Natsume, it was going to be him.

"Don't give me that shit!" he snapped, and grabbed Natsume's arm. "I know, I can tell you're suffering, Natsume. I'm your friend and I... I care about you... and don't do this to me."

"Do... what?" Natsume said sulkily.

"Shut me out," Ruka said. "You're shutting me out over this, this whatever-it-is. I want to help, I want to try at least." What was bothering Ruka so much, what had provoked all this, was the awful feeling it gave him when Natsume pulled the mood on him. Sometimes he would get the hump with everyone else, but with him he'd still be Natsume; he'd still be normal.

So when Natsume gave him the cold shoulder too, he felt like he was losing him, and it made him panic. He couldn't afford to lose him, and that was why he could rarely ever keep his cool. Like now. Perfect example of not keeping his cool

"I don't know what you're talking about," Natsume grunted, and now Ruka stopped the both of them and grabbed his friend tightly by the shoulders; staring willd and angrily into his eyes.

"No." He didn't ask, say or plead. He simply stated it. "No, Natsume," Ruka said. "I'm not taking it anymore." Natsume scoffed; even if he was listening, he wasn't really listening.

"Taking what," he said snarkily. Ruka's temper finally got the best of him; he was usually so calm, but when he snapped he'd snap fast and furious, then be back to gentle, golden Ruka

"Fucking look at me, Natsume!" he screamed, screamed as loud as he could; birds fled from nearby trees, and the shockwave disturbed animals all around them. Even Natsume, for he was just an animal like the rest of them somtimes, and Ruka could feel the shudder through Natsume's body in his arms

He shook again, but Ruka did not let go, and slowly, the barrier began to crack; Ruka could see it in his eyes, as Natsume timidly raised them to his.

"...What, Ruka?" he almost whispered; soft, broken, and sounding very scared of something that was very big and dark, but no one else could see. Ruka simply took his hands off Natsume's shoulders and pulled him into a hug. It didn't matter if they were too old, or both boys, or if Natsume got awkward when Ruka tried to be emotional with him before: he needed a hug. They both did.

"Just... talk, Natsume," he murmured. "I don't care if you feel stupid... or sad... or angry at me or... anyone, or no-one. Just... talk." He could feel Natsume's warm breath against his neck, and it felt almost too good.

"But..." Natsume mumbled quietly against Ruka, and his grip – or perhaps even embrace – only got tighter.

"We're not moving until you do," he insisted, but still Natsume didn't talk. "Natsume?" he pleaded, holding him still, but wondering if he'd crossed the line. However, his doubts faded as one of Natsume's arms suddenly jerked up and curled around Ruka's back; scaredly hugged him back. Natsume buried his face further into Ruka's frame, and shuddered again.

"I...can't..." he breathed. "I'm... I... can't..." Natsume coughed once, and grabbed for Ruka a little tighter, a little more desperately.

Ruka understood. At last he understood.

"It's okay," he said comfortingly, raising a hand and cradling the back of Natsume's head; his fingers sifting through his hair. "I... think I understand."

It wasn't that Natsume didn't want to talk to him. It was because he couldn't. There weren't words for the moods; the moods were irrational, thick and dark like tar. Trying to talk it out was like trying to get blood from a stone, or money from Hotaru Imai.

But this could work. It was base, and simple, and stupid, but Natsume didn't havesomeone to just hold him if he felt like shit. It wasn't one of those soppy romantic things, but sometimes a fucked-up person like him only needed a shoulder to collapse on for a bit. When the darkness felt like it was too much for one person. Ruka understood what he needed, but had been too proud, scared, or whatever to ask for.

Natsume was stupid. He tried to do it all on his own all the time; however, Ruka always made damn sure that when Natsume did crack he was there for him.

"Just breathe, Natsume," Ruka whispered. "Just... breathe..." As if on orders, slowly Natsume and Ruka's breathing patterns matched each other, until they could've been one person they were so in-sync.

"Um... uh, thanks," Natsume mumbled awkwardly into the collar of Ruka's shirt a little while later, and Ruka shrugged.

"It's what I'm here for, Natsume," he said tenderly. "Is... there... anything else I can do?" At last Natsume picked his face up off Ruka's shoulder, and they met eyes right in the middle of this embarrassingly intimate moment. "Anything I can..." he trailed off, as something foreign passed between them.

Natsume swallowed, then exhaled. He realized exactly how compromisingly they were arranged – they were embracing, and then he realized just how comfortable he'd felt. Now, yes, it felt very strange, but that was now they'd noticed. Noticed that before it was all so... natural.

It happened because Ruka closed his eyes, Natsume swears, but Ruka always maintains it was Natsume who made the first move – whether he'd closed his eyes or not was irrelevant; although Natsume begs to differ if they come to blows over it.

As it was, something happened suddenly, and before they knew it Natsume's mouth was against Ruka's mouth in what was very commonly identified as a kiss. They backed away right after, as if they'd been shocked by it.

"This is just..." Ruka blurted as they stared at each other in something between confusion and terror. "I mean... it's if you... I don't..." He crumbled; useless, speechless, and as if by a power not their own their mouths met again. If a hug was one alleviation to the cold silence, a kiss was ten times more effective.

Perhaps Natsume was thinking of Mikan, it occured to Ruka; perhaps they both were, but this moment was about comfort and not people. so it didn't matter.

Although truth be said, Natsume could probably only be this unguarded with one person, and that one person was the one whose tongue Natsume's was now gently tussling with inside his mouth.

When they returned to class some fifteen minutes after he'd left, best friend in tow, people marvelled at how normal and calm Natsume was. He was almost smiling, and he even displayed his sense of humour once or twice by the end of his day.

"Ruka-pyon!" Mikan gushed after class; while Ruka was blushing tomato-red every time Natsume so much as looked his way, now. "Natsume's completely cheered up! What's your secret?!"

"My secret?!" Ruka yelped. "I don't have one.. I mean... I don't... I never..." he stuttered, flabbergasted, until he felt a hand settle on his shoulder.

"He knows when to shut up, Polka-dots," Natsume said coolly from behind him, and Ruka tried very hard not to go so red his head exploded, although things seemed to be heading that way.

"Oh well bog off, Natsume!" Mikan said. "He has to be doing something right if you're in a good enough mood to call me names." Ruka kept his mouth firmly shut as Natsume's hand lingered on his shoulder, like it was proposing something to him in secret. "Knowing when to keep his mouth shut can't be all there is to it," Mikan sassed.

"Now," Natsume interjected. "I never said that." Ruka felt Natsume's hand tighten and squeeze his shoulder briefly, then he removed it and walked away.

"What's that supposed to mean? Uh, Ruka... are you sick? You've gone awfully red," Mikan said cautiously, to which Ruka made a sound that roughly sounded like.


And then he promptly disappeared out the door; hot on the heels of Natsume.

"Feeling warm, Ruka?" Natsume teased as they fell into step and began to tread the well-practiced route home.

"Shut up," he hissed, slapping his cheeks with his hands to try and force his blush down. "S'your fault...."

"I know," said Natsume with a smirk.

"Hn," Ruka grunted. "At least you're better now."

"Better?" Natsume said with an inquisitive lift of his eyebrows.

"You know; the mood, it's gone," Ruka explained sulkily.

"Hn, so it has," he said quietly, but with an undercurrent of suggestion, and Ruka could tell what happened in the forest had changed something very drastically between them forever. For some reason, though, he wasn't scared. "Maybe you should do it more often, eh," Natsume suggested, and Ruka nearly chocked on his own spit in surprise. "When I'm in bad moods, of course," he added forebodingly, and behind his newly red cheeks Ruka nodded.

"I think I feel one coming on now, you know," Natsume said offhandedly, as he looked out a passing window, and Ruka didn't really register it at first. Then in no less time than it took to blink Natsume had Ruka's hands in his, and in no more than a second after that their lips had met once more, with a kind of rushed desperation neither had ever felt. Ruka may have been blushing, but Natsume was red hot and his tongue inside his mouth was no cooler.

The heat ran all the way up Ruka's neck as Natsume crushed him with the kiss, and when one of Natsume's hands tore away from Ruka's to clutch his fingers around the base of his neck Ruka shuddered and pulled him harder against his own body.

As soon as it had started it stopped again; they were both more than aware of the consequences of being caught doing something like that. They carried on walking as if nothing had happened.

"Did that even help?" Ruka said awkwardly, and Natsume gave him a confused look. "You know... you said about a mood coming on and..."

Natsume now shot Ruka a truly sinful smirk, and Ruka was forced to drop any pretence of that kiss being for anything but desire.

"...Cheater," Ruka muttered with a smile, which he hid from Natsume by turning his face away. So even though he wasn't watching his reaction, Ruka heard him laugh all the same.

It was still a sound that never failed to warm his heart.

Well? I know yaoi isn't very popular in this fandom, but what did you think? We need more of it, and I tried to keep these two in character and in canon.