Rustle of sheets. Creek of wood. Exhale against my neck. You're right here next to me. At least, you were. Now I only grasp cold sheets. Pull a fluffy but lifeless pillow into my arms. I inhale your scent, or what's left of it after so many nights.

I love you.

You love me.

So why the hell aren't we together?

Say what you will. Tell me the wait will end 'soon'. Know that every second that my senses aren't taking you in are seconds that I inch closer and closer to death. My fingers flex unconsciously, wanting to massage your sweet, succulent flesh. As I stare at the ceiling, my breath comes and goes without any sense of rhythm. Much like it would if your tongue traced a path down my chest...

Is it so wrong to want you? To relish every moment we spend in each other's arms? I want to feel your cool fingertips glide across my cheek. Your lips tease mine as you smile. I want you to whisper into my ear, letting me soak in the sweet nuances of your voice. You're mine, all of you. To think someone else is seeing your smile, hearing your laugh... it kills me inside.

I sit up in bed, looking around in dejected bitterness. My phone glows in the immediate darkness. No missed calls. You said you'd call me 'later'. When you weren't busy. But that's a trick phrase. You're always busy. If you're not busy, you're fast asleep, recharging for the next round of work. I can hardly call first. I'm always being intercepted. As if you don't own your phone. Random assistants answer my texts and insist you're busy, busy, always busy. But they're free, not speeding up the process. How can I tell you how much I ache for you... when you're not the one on the other end? I'm tired of trying. It's your turn to take responsibility.

Yes, yes, I know. Your work pays for our home, your flights back to me, presents galore. And those are important, yes, but you're more important. The most important. When do you enjoy the spoils of war? When... will you next come home and enjoy me?

A chill runs up my spine and makes me jump. The phone is ringing.

It's three in the morning. And it's you calling.

I pick up the phone.

=====*====*====*====*====*====*

"Ah, Rei-chan? I was going to leave a message. Did I wake you?"

"No... no, you didn't." Rei sighed and smoothed back her hair. "How's the tour going?"

"It's going as expected. Which is good. No reports of threats, full house for concerts, it's great. It could be better though. I miss you."

"I miss you, too." Rei was loathe to admit just how much. She reached over and grabbed a stuffed bear off the night table and hugged it to her body. Minako had gotten it for her during her last trip.

"So why are you up at three in the morning? I just got out of the bath after a few of my friends took me out for some drinks. You were in my thoughts the whole time though. I wanted to call earlier. Forgive me?"

Rei watched her hand pinch and release the bear over and over again. In a soft voice, she answered, "Of course I'll forgive you. It's not your fault. I probably wouldn't have been able to hear you with the noise in the background anyway."

There was some silence, as if Minako expected her to continue, and when she didn't, the idol prompted, "Rei? Is something wrong? You're really quiet."

"It's three in the morning, Mina."

"I know, sorry I called so late. I forgot about the time difference."

"Nevermind. It's fine. When are you coming home?"

"We're scheduled for the last concert back home in two more months. See? Not too far now."

Rei scoffed. Before she could stop herself, she muttered, "Only because it was a year-long tour."

"It's been bad on me too. I can't wait until I'm home again. What do you want to do when I get back? Anything you want. Expenses on me."

"...Cancel all your appointments for a whole weekend."

"Oh? Do you want to go somewhere? A whole weekend, huh... I could think of a few places..."

"Just come home. Take care of yourself and come home."

Rei could hear her smiling through the phone. "You too, baby. I love you."

Rei closed her eyes and nodded. Softly, she answered, "I love you, too."

"I'll let you sleep now. Wake up just as beautiful as ever, all right?"

"Mm. Make sure you get your rest too."

"I will. Good night."

"Good morning."

Minako laughed on the other end. "Good morning, Good night, whatever. I'll talk to you later."

"Mm. Yeah."

====*====*====*====*====*====*

A click. The connection is gone. Spirited away as if it never were.

I sigh and curl up underneath the blankets. I cuddle the bear you gave me wishing to Kami-sama above that it was you.

I sleep. I dream. I sleep even more, knowing you won't be there even if I wake up.

*====*====*====*====*====*====*

TBC?

If you want it.

A/N: I didn't particularly go through any effort to make this long, as it's a bit harder on me when writing this way. I may or may not have a Mina/Rei plot to go with this... Review if your interest is piqued...