Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. Konomi Takeshi does. I'm merely playing with them for the moment.

A/N: This is a future fic based on the RyoDan in the TeniCamp RP over at LiveJournal. You don't need to be familiar with the game to enjoy the fic; however, to understand it, you should know two things: First, Dan almost drowned as a little kid and has ever since been aquaphobic; second, Ryoma developed an allergy for grapes and almost died of anaphylaxis.


Pulling to the Surface

There weren't many things that could wake Ryoma up before the absolutely last minute. After surviving too many attempts by his father when he'd been younger, he could sleep through even a load of freezing cold water most of the time, and a cat's claws digging into his skin hadn't drawn any reaction from him since he'd first let Karupin into his bed all those years ago. Loud noises usually didn't do anything unless it happened to be his alarm clock, nor did any other disturbance short of Momo-senpai bouncing on his bed and landing on top of him. He could literally sleep through an earthquake, provided it wasn't big enough to shake him out of his bed.

However, there were some things even his considerable talent for sleeping right through, well, everything couldn't allow him to ignore. As he found himself shaken awake in the middle of the night, his sleep-fuddled brain barely even able to comprehend what was wrong, he figured this was one of those things.

For a moment he just lay still, blinking as he stared up at the ceiling in the darkness of the bedroom, trying to figure out what was so very chaotic that it required him to be awake. Slowly, he recalled a sharp sound, almost like – almost like a muffled scream or a cry... Right about as he remembered this, he realized he was alone in the bed, the warmth still lingering by his side where before there'd been a warm body pressed close to his, an arm around his chest.

Pushing himself into a sitting position in the bed, he looked around. His companion couldn't have gone far, the bed was still warm and the memory of that sound fresh in his mind... Blinking rapidly, he noted the ray of moonlight peeking in from a gap between the curtains. When he'd gone to sleep, the curtains had been closed.

Dropping one foot over the edge of the bed and onto the floor, he shivered at the feeling of the cold surface under his bare foot. He really had to figure out where the new puppy had hidden the small bedside rug... Forcing himself to slide down another foot, he finally stood up, ignoring the coldness as best as he could as he walked through the room towards that single bit of light.

The glass doors behind the curtains weren't closed properly, not quite enough to let the wind in but enough that he felt a bit of cold air flowing through as he let his fingers slide over the crack. He could now see the dark figure at the balcony. Drawing a deep breath, he slid one of the doors aside, stepping outside. "...You all right, Tai?"

"...I will be." Turning towards him from where he'd been half leaning over the railing, Taichi gave him a smile that even in the dim light of the moon looked anything but happy. "I'm sorry if I woke you up desu."

"Don't." Walking closer, Ryoma was unable to suppress a shiver. The balcony was even colder than the floor of the bedroom. Reaching his lover's side, he leant closer to look Taichi in the eye, even his sleepy eyes recognizing the traces of tears trickling down from the deep brown eyes. "...What's wrong?"

"Nothing desu." Turning again to look at the view of bright lights scattered throughout the dark silhouette of the town, Taichi shook his head, the dark locks brushing against his bare shoulders, escaped from the tie he usually wore at night to keep his hair from tangling up too badly. Though Ryoma usually loved the contrast between the soft black locks and the smooth skin, right now it seemed almost... painful in its starkness. "I just... needed some air."

Ryoma nodded quietly. He had heard that phrase from his lover's lips before, or something close enough at least. It sounded calm enough, perhaps, if one didn't know the whole truth behind it. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Ryoma did.

"...How bad?" he asked, taking the last step forward, reaching his arms around Taichi. The other fell almost frighteningly easily back against his chest, a hand rising to his arm, holding on almost painfully. "You haven't had one in a while..."

"Bad. It's... it's always bad." Taichi closed his eyes, worrying his lip as he'd done just about as long as Ryoma had known him whenever he felt afraid or thoughtful or insecure. "I... I don't think I can ever forget it, how much it hurt... How afraid I was desu."

"...I know." Ryoma pulled him even closer, the heat between their bodies comforting in the cold breeze of the night. He wasn't good at this whole comforting thing, it just wasn't his field, but at least he could be there and hold Taichi, remind him he wasn't a kid about to drown anymore. "...It's okay."

"I'm sorry desu," Taichi murmured, sighing. "I wish I could just get over it..."

"You almost died," Ryoma murmured. "You couldn't breathe, you were panicky and hurting. I know it's impossible to forget. I've felt it, remember?"

Taichi chuckled, though he didn't sound too cheerful. "...You're really not helping, love."

"Sorry, Tai." He snuggled his lover's neck in apology. "...Just breathe."

For some time they just stood there, Ryoma holding his lover, making sure not to hold on too tight – now wouldn't that be a great idea when his dear dataist was basically trying to remind himself he could still breathe. Finally, though, Taichi seemed to relax, his grip on Ryoma's arm loosening just the slightest bit.

"...It's getting cold," said Ryoma, who had been just about freezing the entire time. "Let's get inside."

"...Right." Taichi's voice was hardly more than a murmur. "I'm sorry for making you come out here. I just... needed air."

"I know. Believe me, I know." Ryoma recalled someone – probably his big brother – once saying that breathing was something far too many people took for granted. It wasn't until you'd felt the burning need to draw air that you could really appreciate the delight of a deep breath of fresh air. "But if you stay here much longer, you'll get sick."

Taichi didn't resist much as Ryoma drew him along, taking them both in from the balcony. Closing the sliding doors behind himself, he let the curtains stay ajar, focusing on getting his lover back to bed and warmed up. Taichi felt freezing, and he wasn't exactly burning up, himself, either.

Exhibiting almost wondrous selflessness for himself, Ryoma didn't protest as Taichi snuggled close to him in bed. Instead, he pressed a light, sleepy kiss on those soft lips, an arm reaching out to draw his lover closer. "Try to sleep," he murmured. "Don't worry... I won't let you sink."

Again, he gained a joyless chuckle, though this one sounded slightly more genuine. "Echizen Ryoma, my personal life jacket," Taichi teased him half-heartedly. "I'll be sure to hold on to you tight, then."

"Yeah," Ryoma murmured as sleep approached him again, waiting to reclaim its firm grip on him after the rather unusual event of him waking up unexpectedly. "You do that and it'll be all right..."

He didn't hear Taichi's response, the words muffled in his ears, but he did feel the slowly warming body pressed against his.