Title: Little By Little

Disclaimer: I am in no way afilliated with the owners of Gravitation and I make no money in writing fanfiction. I just like to borrow the characters to make them do silly things.

Warnings: C'mon, It's Gravitation, so you know it's boyxboy. If you can't deal, read something else. Also a bit of language; Eiri has a potty mouth.

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He just wouldn't budge. Stubborn bastard. Oh well, sometimes it couldn't be helped, so instead of pestering 'The Great Eiri Yuki' to spend just a few short measly minutes with him (was that really so much to ask?) and in the process starting a fight he couldn't win, Shuichi Shindou decided to entertain himself.

An entirely foolish decision to make.

He stepped out of The Bastard's office. A loud grumbling protest from his stomach reminded Shuichi that all he had eaten the whole day was vending machine snacks. He wished K would schedule more time for lunch and fewer appointments and interviews which seemed to have less and less to do with his music career and increasingly more to do with asking obscenely personal questions about his love life.

Shuichi crept as quietly as he could into the kitchen,wanting to avoid the pissy romance novelist bitching at him "to get the hell out of my goddamned kitchen before you cut yourself or burn the whole place to the ground".

'Jeez,' Shuichi thought. 'Yuki acts like I can't even boil water!'

Which was exactly what he set out to prove he could do. Humming quietly to himself, he sought the kettle; however the poor strawberry-coifed brat nearly tore the kitchen apart before he found it. Shouldn't he know where everything was by now? He sometimes wondered if Eiri moved stuff around just to mess with him.

'Nah,' he thought dejectedly, 'I'm just bitter at being left to my own devices.' But it had been forever since Mr. Romance had pried himself away from his keyboard long enough to make and share a meal with him, and Shuichi was sick of eating takeout by himself.

"What the hell are you doing in my kitchen, you damn brat?" Eiri snapped from the open doorway.

"J-just looking for the kettle," Shuichi sheepishly replied, startled by the author's sudden appearance. "You see, I was kinda hungry so I thought I'd make some ramen, you know, the three minute instant kind that comes in a cup, but I couldn't find the kettle. I suppose I could use a regular pot to boil the water in, but the kettle is easier to pour so I figured I probably won't spill any. It took me awhile to find it though, but I finally did. I couldn't remember where we keep it. Was I making too much noise? I'm sorry."

Even Shuichi thought his explanation sounded a little long-winded, but he had been quiet for far too long. It had been almost seven minutes since he left his boyfriend's office.

A new record. Woo-hoo!

"It's always in the same place," Eiri said in a flat monotone, but the amused glint in his eyes made Shuichi wonder if he really did move everything around to mess with him.

It only took about three strides for Eiri to close the distance between him and the refrigerator, and once there he began his several times a day ritual of pulling out a can of beer, popping it open, and then leaning against the appliance as he knocked back his first sip.

'So that's why he came out of hiding.'

"Be careful."

Shuichi's heart swelled at the seemingly sweet and beautiful words that poured from his normally aloof and disinterested lover's sensuous lips. Until, crestfallen, he realized that his Darling Yuki wasn't too worried about him after all: he was only gathering provisions before cloistering himself in his study.

Shuichi would have to face another meal all alone.

Again.

"Don't make too much noise," The Recluse said over his shoulder as he strode out of the room, beer in one hand, bag of pretzels in the other.

Shuichi sighed and sincerely hoped Eiri would eat something more sustaining than that before going to bed.

'Oh well, back to work.'

Shuichiset the water on the stove to heat up and once again found himself rummaging around in the kitchen; this time the object of his quest was the instant ramen he was sure they kept around here…somewhere.

"Pantry. Third shelf up," shouted His Crankiness, making no attempt whatsoever to hide the irritation brought on by onslaught of noise generated by his energetic lover's overly exuberant search.

"Sorry 'bout that. Thank you," Shuichi hollered back in response, and sure enough the item he sought was right where Eiri had said it would be.

After tearing off the packaging, Shuichipeeled the paper lid half way off the Styrofoam cup that encased the noodle-y goodness. By the time he was finally able to set the microwavetimer (it only took about five tries), so that all he had to do was press 'start', the water was at a steady boil, so Shuichi turned off the burner, grabbed the hot pad (wasn't making that mistake again), and picked up the kettle so he could empty its steamy contents into his soup.

'Ha! Even an idiot could make instant ramen.'

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Shuichi's sudden and very loud yelp caused Eiri's hands to slip on his keyboard and forced him to run to the source of it at a speed that would make the Shinkansen jealous (not because he was worried about the boy he convinced himself, but rather because now the sentence he was working on had been ruined), only to stop dead at the scene that lay before him.

Shuichi had held the lid out of the way with one hand while he poured the water with the other. Unfortunately the water had come gushing out much faster than he hadexpected and the resulting overflow spilled over and burned the fingers holding the cup in place. This, in turn, startled Shuichi and caused his other hand to release the kettle, dropping it right on top of his stocking-clad little toesies.

All of which resulted in one rather indignant foolish pink-haired brat hopping around on one foot holding his abused toes in one hand while he sucked on the burned fingers of the other, all the while muttering curses as best he could with a full mouth.

"I thought even an idiot could make instant ramen," Eiri quipped, suppressing a chuckle at the spectacle.

"Oh, yeah!? Well --"

Shuichi's defense was rapidly cut short when he was unexpectedly picked up bridal style and carried over to the sink. Eiri then gingerly set the singer back on his feet and began running his fingers under the cool water of the tap.

"You're such a klutz. I doubt you can even pour milk onto cereal without causing some sort of major catastrophe," Eiri teased.

'At least he doesn't seem mad,' Shuichi thought, but the humiliation he had suffered almost seemed worse, and after what had happened he didn't have any ground left on which to argue.

"I guess so," he mumbled in reply.

"Hmph," Eiri grunted. It was no fun when his baka wouldn't play along. "At least it doesn't look bad."

Indeed it wasn't bad. After all, now Eiri was finally paying attention to him, but Shuichi briefly wondered how badly injured he would have to be to milk an even sweeter response from the usually stoic novelist. Shuichi leaned against the comforting assurance of Eiri's broad chest and tilted his head back so he could gaze up at his lover's beautiful face.

"Are you almost done with work yet?" he asked quietly.

"No, not even close."

"Oh," Shuichi's heart dropped as his hope was crushed by the unintentionally cruel reply.

Eiri turned off the water, then spun Shuichi around to inspect the damage to his fingers. They were red hot, but they wouldn't blister or even sting for very long.

"Good thing Tohma had the wisdom to get someone else to do your instrumentals," mocked The Cynical Bastard, dealing a low blow to Shuichi's pride as a musician.

"Hey! I'll have you know --"

This time Eiri shut down the flustered attempt to argue with his favorite tactic: locking his lips over Shuichi's. It was so much more fun when the brat played along.

"Cheater," Shuichi accused him after being released from the unexpected kiss. He was well aware of Eiri's game to get him all wound up.

"Clean up this mess. I'll start on dinner."

"What? But I thought you weren't done with work yet."

"Finished."

"Huh?"

"I'm not finished with work yet."

"That's what I said."

"No, you -- never mind. Anyways, I could use a break, and I don't remember the last time we actually ate together. Besides --"

Eiri's explanation ended abruptly as his ass suddenly made unexpected contact with the floor. This was the inevitable effect of an overly enthusiastic Shuichi. The scrawny runt couldn't weigh much more than a hundred pounds, so why did he have a tackle that would make a professional linebacker jealous?

"Jesus, Shuichi, can't you tone it down a little?" Eiri griped.

The somewhat indignant blonde tried to slip out of Shuichi's rib crushing hug but his unfortunate slip of the tongue only made the boy cling tighter at the mere utterance of his own name in his lover's voice.

Realizing his resistance was futile, Eiri finally relented: the only apparent way out Shuichi's death grip was to reciprocate. It was funny, Eiri mused, how the kid resembled one of those novelty finger traps:the harder you pulled the tighter he squeezed. Eiri held Shuichi close and ran one hand soothingly down the kid's back while the other tousled the locks of his bubblegum mop-top (this being as close to an actual hug as the man ever got) and like magic Shuichi loosened up and Eiri could breathe again. He was convinced these super glomp attacks would be the end of him.

'If he acts like this every time I do something nice or mention his name, should I do it more? Or less?' Eiri pondered.

"All right!" barked the novelist. "Get off me so I can cook. Unless you would rather have takeout?"

"NO!!"

Shuichicouldn't stand one more night of pizza, or Chinese, or any other food delivered by some kid who had probably not been on the job for more than a couple of days and who always gave him the wrong order fifteen minutes late.

Besides, Shuichi liked to watch Eiri cook. Although the grumpy man would never admit it, he actually seemed to enjoy the task. Shuichi loved the way the man's expression would soften while he went about his business. Occasionally, Shuichi would even hear him softly humming as he concentrated on his work.

And, although he would never admit it for fear of being clobbered with one of the many heavy-looking cooking implements, one time Shuichi had even heard him hum the tune of a Bad Luck song.

Eiri stood up, jarring Shuichi out of his thoughts and causing him to slip off his lap like the half cooked noodles sliding off the kitchen counter.

"Then clean up this mess. I'll get started." Eiri had finally reached his limit and couldn't stand any more 'cuddle time' on the hard, cold tiles of the kitchen floor.

Shuichi scrambled up, rubbed his sore ass, which seemed to have collided with the ground much faster than it should have, and surveyed the surrounding damage. A small curse escaped him as he gazed at the wreckage before him.

First Shuichi took care of the ramen, then he placed the now empty kettle in the sink to be washed and began mopping up the puddles he found all over the place. Lastly, he wiped off the counter top. Finished, he stopped to watch his partner.

It was almost funny watching Eiri trying to hold everything all at once. Shuichi had to suppress a fit of giggles unless he wanted to be rewarded with Eiri's angry glare.

'If I tried to do that he would yell at me, but damned if Eiri Yuki has to make more than one trip,' thought Shuichi.

After fishing out the desired ingredients, Eiri pushed the refrigerator door closed with his foot and dumped everything unceremoniously on the counter. Still, it seemed kind of amazing to Shuichi that he was able to fish anything out of the refrigerator at all. When he first moved in all that could be found in there was condiments, beer, and the occasional cake or other sweet.

When Shuichi got up the nerve to ask Eiri about it, all he received was an evasive "well, it seemed kind of pointless to cook for just myself."

"Can I help with anything?" Shuichi asked as he watched Eiri lay out the ingredients in front of him.

"Hell no. Go watch anime, or write more of your crap lyrics, or whatever the hell it is you do to keep yourself occupied."

"B-b-but, but Yuu-kiii!"

'Great, here come the waterworks,' thought Eiri. He braced himself for the inevitable onslaught of tears, but when the floodgates failed to burst curiosity overcame his common sense, and Eiri peeked over his shoulder to see why his little baka had yet to break down into hysterical dramatics.

'Shit! Not the puppy dog face! He knows damn well I can't stand it. I won't give in. I won't give in. I won't…Ah, shit!'

"Grr, fine! You can stick around, but don't get in the way."

"Really?! Yay!" Shuichi exclaimed, doing an emotional 180, and instantly dropping the kicked puppy act. He then dashed out of the kitchen, leaving a very confused Eiri wondering when he had become so soft.

'Where is he going? Wasn't he begging to stay a minute ago?'

The peculiarity of Shuichi's behavior was way too big of an enigma to wrap his already deadline stress-induced mind around, so Eiri refocused on the task at hand. However, he got no further than deciding where to begin before Shuichi came bouncing back in the same manner in which he had left, only this time carrying a cloth bundle under one arm.

"Here," he said, offering the strange object to Eiri with both hands.

"What is it?"

"It's the gift I gave you last week. Remember?"

"No."

"You don't? Well --"

"No, I'm not putting that monstrosity on."

"Oh, come on, Yuki."

"No way."

"B-but you'll ruin your favorite shirt if you don't."

"Will not."

"Will too."

"Will not."

"Wi --"

"Look, I'm not nearly as clumsy in the kitchen as you, so I'll be just fine!" Eiri snapped, which made Shuichi recoil and clutch the bundle to his chest.

"Okay, I understand. I- I just thought maybe… but never mind." Shuichi stared, as if fascinated, at the floor tile while he wrung the now abused fabric between his hands.

"Fine," Eiri sighed begrudgingly.

"Huh?" Shuichi looked up, his expression an oddly cute, if slightly confused, teary-eyed pout.

"Fine. I'll put the damn thing on. After all, I do like this shirt," Eiri said as he wiped tears out of the corners of Shuichi's eyes, "and it would be a shame if you had to mop up twice in the same day."

"Yay!"

The object in question was a large novelty apron with the words 'kiss the cook' written on the front in big, bold, black English type. Shuichi, who barely spoke a word of the language, must have been told what it read by someone. Nakano, maybe? Or perhaps that damned crazy-assed American manager of his?

Shuichi thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Eiri thought it was about the most tacky, awful, pointless, stupid example of bad taste ever.

But it could have been worse: it could have been frilly.

Or pink.

Eirileaned forward so the diminutive little pop star could put the apron on over his head and was surprised when after doing so Shuichi stood up on his tippy-toes and gave him a kiss on the lips.

Should have seen that one coming.

'Damn! Tatsuha's right: I am whipped.'

Blushing slightly, Eiri straightened up, glared at Shuichi, and tried to tie the apron strings behind his back. Unperturbed, Shuichi continued to giggle in such an annoyingly adorable fashion that, had Eiri's hands not been otherwise preoccupied, he would have been throttled.

Or ravished.

"Argh!" After about the third attempt, Eiri's patience ran out, so he gave up and wrapped the strings around himself to tie them in front.

"Here, let me," offered Shuichi. Having seen enough of the boy's mood swings for one night, Eiri thought it wise to turn around and oblige him.

"What's so funny?" he asked when he heard Shuichi's barely contained laughter behind him.

"Nothing, just thinking."

"About?"

"Umm…"

"Umm?"

"Well, normally you're so good at everything, so it's kinda funny for you to need help with anything. That's all."

"First of all, I do not need your help, and, secondly, you can't expect me to be too good at this girly crap. Maybe it's escaped your attention, but I'm not a woman."

"Oh, believe me Yuki, I have noticed that."

Eiri grinned and was unable to prevent the chuckle he made at Shuichi's rebuttal.

"Good. I'm glad not everything escapes you."

"Of course not. I'm not as dumb as you think I am."

"No, but that would be impossible."

"Hrmph. Meanie."

"Wash up. You're pretty much dead weight in the kitchen, but you might as well at least try to make yourself useful."

Shuichi stuck his tongue out at Eiri but did as he was told, and soon Eiri joined him at the sink after the author had rolled up his shirt sleeves. Eiri noticed the boy's cheeks turn pinkand thought it amazing that he could still have such a reaction to such small things; even the simple act of sharing a sink together seemed like an incredibly intimate thing for the couple to do.

"Do you think you can at least manage to wash rice, Baka?"

"Hmn? Oh! Yeah, of course I can!"

"I doubt that," snorted Eiri. "Please don't hurt yourself trying to prove me wrong. I haven't restocked the bandages from the last time."

Undeterred, Shuichi enthusiastically began his assigned task. Eiri, meanwhile, pretended to ignore the little monster under the pretence of slicing vegetables. In short time the vocalist's ordeal was completed without mishap despite the fact that his companion was watching him so intently that he might as well have done it himself. Did Eiri really think Shuichi wouldn't notice he was watching over him like a hawk?

"I'm finished now, so you can stop staring."

"I was not staring."

"You were too! You were waiting for me to screw up, weren't you? Admit it, you bastard!"

"No, I wasn't."

"Then how come you don't have any veggies cut up yet? Hmn?"

"Maybe I couldn't help being distracted because it's been so long since I've had such a nice piece of ass doing anything so domestic in my kitchen."

"So… you were staring."

"…"

"Yuki, that's so sweet! Do you really think I'm 'a nice piece of ass'?"

"As troublesome as you are, do you think I would keep you around if you weren't?"

"Hey!"

"Put that rice in the cooker so we can start on something else."

"Okay! …Um, Yuki? I don't know how to use this cooker."

"'This' cooker? I only have one, and they're all pretty much the same anyway."

"Nuh-uh! Hiro's is different."

"Hiro lets you anywhere near his kitchen? And here I thought he was supposed to be the smart one in your band of merry men."

"It's Bad Luck!"

"What?"

"My band! It's called Bad Luck."

Eiri let out a heavy sigh.

"Never mind. Come on, I'll teach you how to use the rice cooker. It would be a shame if I got called out of town and you starved while I was away."

"You sure you wouldn't be glad to be rid of me?"

"Not at all. Then I would lose my nice piece of ass."

Shuichi grunted in response but decided to let it slide. After all this time, he was finally learning to pick his battles, but he wondered if Eiri was capable of giving him a compliment that wasn't backhanded.

The rest of the meal preparation went by smoothly. Eiri did most of the work while Shuichi helped out as best he could. Which meant that he mostly followed the older man around like a second shadow, as he was not allowed to handle anything sharp.

Or hot.

Or heavy.

Or messy.

Or at all.

But still, it felt good for both men to simply enjoy each other's company. Life had a funny way of running away with them, and it wasn't until they paused for a moment that they realized that small, but important, things were often left by the wayside and how sorely they were missed. At last Shuichi got to have his sit down meal with Eiri. He couldn't help the goofy smile plastered on his face, and even Eiri was unable to stop the easy grin that came from how easy his fool was to please.

Most of what needed to be said had already been said. While Eiri had made the food Shuichi had chattered on and on about anything and everything he could think of, and for all that he claimed to be contrary, Eiri reveled these opportunities to listen to the boy. He had more than a slight knack for storytelling: he was a natural at captivating his audience and even moody romance novelists were not immune to his charms. Soon the pair slipped into a comfortable silence as they began to eat.

That is, until the peaceful reverie was broken by the loud and irritatingly cheerful ringing of the telephone.

"Don't answer it."

"But Yuki --"

"There are only a few people who know this number and not one of them is anyone I would like to talk to."

"But what if it's important, or an emergency?"

"The machine will get it."

Ring…

Palpable tension hung heavily in the air.

Ring…

Ring…

They really needed to shortenthe amount of rings it took before the machine picked up.

Ring…

Click.

Finally! The damn answering machine did its job. A polite voice told the caller to leave a message after the beep, while Eiri thought of some not-so-polite messages the person ought to 'beep off' to.

"Mr. Yuki, sorry I missed you," the sweet feminine voice poured into the room, invading it like any other unwelcome guest. "I'll call back later, but about your latest chapters…" Mizuki continued to ramble on, seemingly intent on leaving history's longest recorded message.

"Pick that up, brat. If we don't shut her up now she'll keep calling back all night long."

Shuichi rushed to pick up the phone before the message got cut off.

"Hello," he spoke into the mouthpiece, trying hard to maintain some civility even though he was frustrated at having a rare special moment with Eiri interrupted by the man's work. It was Eiri's work keeping him holed up in his office all the time that made these moments so rare to begin with!

It wasn't fair.

"Oh! Good evening, Shuichi," Eiri's editor responded on the other end of the line. For the most part Shuichi liked this woman, but she always seemed to be the bearer of bad news. "Can I speak with Mr. Yuki, please?"

"Yeah, sure. Just a minute," Shuichi walked over to where the writer sat with a somewhat surly expression already marring his normally handsome features and handed him the phone.

"What is it this time, Mizuki!?" Eiri all but shouted at the hapless woman as soon as he snatched the phone away from the pipsqueak.

Shuichi sat back down in front of his plate. Maybe, if he was lucky, Eiri would wrap things up quickly and they could go back to finishing dinner. He idly pushed his food around with his chopsticks and listened to Eiri's half of the conversation.

"I know… I'm working on it… Just go tell the publishers to go fuck off!" Eiri stood up and continued his tirade as he began to pace the room; not a good sign, and it escalated from bad to worse. "What do you mean, my deadline has been pushed up!? …I don't see what that has to do with anything… Can't I just email you a copy?…"

When Eiri started smoking a cigarette that appeared as if magically out of nowhere, Shuichi realized his hopes were shot to zero. Heartbroken, he lost what remained of his appetite.

Eiri kept ranting into the phone while Shuichi cleared the table. He scraped the leftover food into a Tupperware container; at least the food wouldn't go to waste, and Shuichi would enjoy Eiri's homemade cuisine at work tomorrow. After he put the food away, he then rinsed off the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Eiri didn't let him start the appliance because of the ione/itime he accidentally used the wrong kind of soap, so Shuichi shut the door and left it for Eiri to run later. Task completed, he was able to catch the tail end of Eiri's conversation.

"Alright, I'll have the finished manuscript in your hands tomorrow… No, don't worry about it… Enough already! I'll see you there!" the novelist fumed and hung up.

Eiri hated cordless phones. It wasn't that he was opposed to modern technology, or that he disliked convenience, hell, he could even deal with the fact that Shuichi kept losing the damn thing, but there was something incredibly unsatisfying about pressing the 'end' button instead of cutting off unwanted conversation by rudely slamming the handset down as hard as possible.

As if the whole day hadn't been irritating enough for him, Eiri noticed his cigarette was burned down nearly to the filter. Why was it that they disappeared fastest when he was agitated, or needed them the most? Dismayed, he looked around for something to discard the charred cylinder in.

"Here."

Eiri turned around to find Shuichi holding up an ashtray as though he had been summoned. It was mildly disconcerting how good the kid was getting at reading him. Still miffed over his prior chat with his editor, Eiri vigorously stubbed out his cigarette in disgust.

"I gotta get back to work," he declared.

"Yeah, I know," Shuichi tried, with little success, to keep the bitter undertones out of his voice. "You'll probably be up late, so I won't wait up for you."

Shuichi set the glass tray down on the table and, staring once more at the fascinating tile, headed for the door.

To say that Shuichi can, at times, be extremely overemotional is a gross and extreme understatement, but despite Eiri's cool exterior and rather gruff façade he truly couldn't stand to see the little twerp cry. Before Shuichi could retreat into the next room Eiri grabbed his wrist to stop him.

"What?" Shuichi asked, puzzled by the unusual behavior.

"Tomorrow," the writer answered.

"Huh?"

"Tonight was really… nice," Eiri confessed, pulling out each word with willful determination. "Would you like to do this again tomorrow?"

"Really?"

"Yes."

"Can we?"

"Of course."

"You're not kidding me?"

"Shuichi," he said. Calling him by name never failed to get the brat to halt his otherwise never-ending assault of questions. "I'm completely serious, but it's only going to happen if you let me get back work so I can have the time tomorrow. Okay?"

"Okay, but, um… Yuki?"

"Yeah?"

A small blush spread across the singer's adorable cheeks, but Shuichi managed to look up levelly at Eiri with his beautiful, pleading amethyst eyes and ask, "Before you go can I, maybe, get a good night kiss?"

It was a small request, and one that Eiri was more than happy to comply with. He pulled the boy close and met those soft pink lips with his own. Passionate as it was, the kiss seemed to end much too quickly, and the pair found themselves still holding each other afterwards. Both men wanted to continue, but knew they would pay hell later if they did, so reluctantly the couple parted although both were loathe to do so.

"Well, back to the grindstone for me," Eiri stated. He ran his fingers through his lover's silky, soft tresses and patted him on the head in the same way one might do to a pet before he retreating back to his computer.

Soon the apartment was once again filled with the furious clattering of keys being pounded rapidly. The break he had taken gave him a second wind, so Eiri was able to return to his story with renewed vigor. Time quickly slipped away from the author as he became immersed in his characters' world, but eventually the hours took their toll on his body and brought him back to the world of the living.

Eiriscooted his chair out from under the desk so he could stretch out and relieve the ache in his legs and arms. These all-nighters were hell on him; he was already exhausted and his work was still nowhere near complete. There was no way he was going to make it without a caffeine hit. Eiri glared at the doorway as if doing so would will the coffee to him, but as past endeavors had sufficiently proved, his efforts were futile.

If Eiri wanted anything done he would have to do it himself. Suppressing a yawn, the man decided to get up after all; however, before he was able to cross the room to the door, Shuichi appeared on the threshold.

"It's late. What are you doing up?" the author queried.

"Yeah, I know. I was about to go to bed right now."

Eiri noticed the shorter man was in the tank top and boxer shorts he frequently wore as nightclothes, but was carrying something with both hands.

"Here, I brought you something," Shuichi announced as he crossed the room over to Eiri. He held out a mug filled with a steamy, strong-smelling, dark liquid. How had the kid known this was exactly what he needed?

"Thanks," Eiri said as he graciously accepted the gift. The coffee machine was one of the few household appliances Shuichi had yet to be banned from using. Not that the kid couldn't screw up coffee; what he made was awful stuff, but it had a kick like a mule and Eiri found it to be precisely what he needed when he was low on energy.

Eiri cradled the cup in his hands, letting the warmth leech into his sore and tired muscles, and sat down carefully, not daring to waste even a single drop of the much needed drink. The ancient gods who quenched their thirst with nectar obviously didn't know the benefits of good coffee.

"Good night, Yuki," Shuichi stooped down and kissed Eiri on forehead, then, quicker then the older man could respond, trotted out the door toward the bedroom.

Listening to the sounds of Shuichi getting ready for bed -- Can't he even do that quietly? -- Eiri took his first sip. As expected the drink hit him like a punch to the gut. Eiripulled the cup away from his lips and examined it closely. He wondered how the foul substance had not managed to dissolve the bottom of the mug. Inspecting the poisonous liquid, he noticed the dopey-looking caricature adorning the mug.

It was Shuichi's favorite mug.

Eiri smiled to himself, a small, rare, but genuine smile that he at one time had thought he had lost forever. Shuichi often came off as nothing more than a selfish, spoiled brat and Eiri had a whole laundry list of his own problems. In a thousand years nobody would have thought this thing between them would work, but every day Shuichi proved he could be quite thoughtful and little by little Eiri began to soften.

Such realizations sometimes terrified the author, but also comforted him as he found himself discovering feelings that he had all but abandoned.

Eiri glanced at the vacant doorway, now absent the source of his constant annoyance and continual healing. The room was empty and he was safe. Eiri continued to smile and whispered quietly across the empty void.

"Good night, Shuichi."

The End

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Thanks for reading everyone. I hope you all enjoyed my story. This was the first bit of fanfiction I wrote, so I was a bit reluctant to post it on such a big website, but after the kind response I received on Gurabite, I finally decided to bring my stories here. Please tell me what you think, and if you're interested in any of my other stories please feel free to check them out on where I go by the pen name KusoGaki.

Thankies to my beta, lawless523, for not allowing me to abuse the English language.