Chapter the last- If at First…

In which Eiri finds himself at his wits end from being constantly stalked by Shuichi, and we find out why Shuichi is so determined to win his photo of Eiri.

…………

In the days that followed Eiri couldn't turn a corner without finding Shuichi around the bend.He would always shout at the kid and Shuichi would vanish, only to return sometime later pretending nothing had ever happened.

Those guerrilla tactics really wore on Eiri's frazzled nerves. How had someone who was normally about as subtle as a giant panda robot suddenly become a stealthy super ninja?

One minute he was nowhere to be seen or heard and the next he was popping out of nowhere, camera in hand. He was everywhere. Eiri couldn't even step out of the bathroom without being bombarded. Save for when he barricaded himself in his office, Eiri couldn't escape his new paparazzo.

He tried changing the locks while Shuichi was at NG one day but guilt, and a threat of eviction if he couldn't get his 'pet' to stop wailing on his doorstep, made him cave in by giving Shuichi brand new keys the next day.

Apparently Shuichi's single-minded obsession was beginning to affect him at work as well. Eiri's answering machine was flooded with pleas and cries and threats of "Why don't you just let Shuichi have his picture already?", "Please, I can't stand one more day of Shindou-san's whining", and "If this goes on much longer, you're going to find yourself staring down the business end of my magnum!" from Hiroshi, Suguru, and K, respectively.

One afternoon when a bit of writer's block, and the fact that he had run completely out of food, sent Eiri outside to clear his mind and stock up on provisions, Eiri found himself being stalked by Shuichi and his cohorts. Great. It wasn't bad enough that Eiri had to deal with Shuichi at home, now he had to deal with the Moron Rangers as well.

Shuichi even had the nerve to sneak the camera into the bedroom and use it while they were in the middle of 'it.' Eiri, outraged, tried to delete the shot, but Shuichi pleaded with Eiri to let him keep it. He promised he would never, ever show it to anybody and only wanted it for 'personal' use.

Eiri knew he was falling into a trap, but how could he resist Shuichi's begging? Besides, he made sure Shuichi paid him dearly for it and wore a self-satisfied smirk when Shuichi walked kind of funny the next day.

Not that it mattered, Their truce was temporary and Shuichi was back to troubling Eiri in no time.

By the end of the week, Eiri was so jumpy that he made that nervous freak Sakano look like the picture of calm, cool collectedness.

He couldn't take it anymore!

When he woke up after yet another night of being seduced out of confronting Shuichi about his latest round of insufferable idiocy, he was relieved to discover that Shuichi had already left for the day. Now he had time to prepare. As soon as Shuichi came home he would finally put a stop to this. No more distractions! Even if Shuichi came home wearing nothing but a leather harness and a sign that said "free pony rides", Eiri wouldn't allow himself to lose focus.

He rolled out of bed and grumbled to himself, he felt achy from last night's wild, passionate lovemaking, and irritated that it had accomplished nothing. Frustrated, he decided to take a shower to calm himself and the hot water running down his body enabled him to relax for the first time in days.

'Why is this picture so important to Shuichi anyway?' Eiri thought, then remembered an old worn out photograph that he had shared with Shuichi. It had meant so much to him at one time, but he had long since torn and scattered it to the winds.

Eiri reached for his shampoo but found the bottle empty. Damn, if he hadn't had to avoid Shuichi's idiot friends the other day he might have remembered to replace it. It looked like he would have to use Shuichi's.

The sweet scent of Shuichi's flowery herbal shampoo made Eiri want to gag at first, but as he massaged the lathery suds into his scalp it conjured up fond memories of times spent with the annoying chimp.

The kid's smile.

And his laughter.

All the times he had presented Eiri with lyrics he'd written in hopes of Eirigiving them his nod of approval.

The sensuous moans he made while being pounded into the mattress.

And those times that Eiri gently held Shuichi close, tucked his head under his chin, and deeply inhaled the sweet scent of his freshly washed hair.

Maybe Eiri could understand why Shuichi wanted his picture after all, but damn it, he had gotten a little carried away.

And 'a little' was by far an understatement. Shuichi never did anything by half measures.

Eiri closed his eyes and moved under the spray of the shower to rinse the foamy bubbles out of his hair. He stiffened when he thought he heard a noise, but quickly dismissed it.

'Damn brat is making me paranoid,' he thought.

He groped blindly behind him to grab the soap only to accidentally knock it off the tray. Shit! He couldn't believe him own clumsiness. Why did he suddenly get a prison movie vibe? He stepped out of the stream of running water and opened his eyes to look for it. He found it lying in the corner and bent over to pick it up.

"Ah-ha!" a familiar cry sounded followed by a loud 'whoosh' as the shower curtains were flung open. Coherent thought flew away and all Eiri could manage to do was peek to look behind him right before…

Flash!

The camera went off and Shuichi instantly opened up the menu to view his latest picture.

Had he finally done it? Had he finally captured his perfect shot of Eiri? He wiped off the fog that was clouding the screen to see.

Ooh… not quite, but it was a very nice shot. It wasn't every day he got to see Eiri from that angle. Wow, his ass looked exquisite, and the adorable shocked expression on his face was simply priceless.

Shuichi started to drool a little bit over that image when a drop of water landed on the screen and abruptly woke him from his snowballing fantasies.

Funny, he didn't hear the water running anymore, so what was dripping on him?

He used his shirt sleeve to wipe off the screen once again, then looked up to see where the water had come from and let out a squeaky "Eep!"

Towering over him was one very wet, very angry, very naked Eiri Yuki.

"Give me that!" Eiri snarled.

He lunged for the camera but Shuichi scrambled out of reach.

Oh, shit!

Oh, Shit!!

OH, SHIT!!!

Shuichi had really managed to piss Eiri off this time. Looking back on it though, he realized he was lucky that Eiri had put up with it for this long.

Shuichi fled the bathroom. He had to escape the apartment. Now.

He made a mad dash through the hallway, grateful he had the foresight to put on his running shoes before trying to ambush Eiri. He heard a flurry of curses behind him but didn't dare look back. There was also a thundering of footsteps which only ceased for a moment when Eiri slipped in a pool of water and skidded into the wall with a loud crash.

Shuichi screeched to a halt, momentarily concerned for his lover, but Eiri's increasingly creative threats assured him he was fine so he took off running again. Shuichi did wish that Eiri would leave his synthesizer out of it though. The things Eiri was suggesting sounded not only incredibly painful but also physically impossible.

Shuichi reached the living room shortly and leaptover the L-shaped sectional to get to the other side of the room.

There were only two of them living here; why was this place so big?

It felt like it took forever to reach the front door, especially knowing that Eiri was in close pursuit. Yay! There was the door, a few more feet and he was free…

Thud!

"Oww!" Shuichi hissed and pulled himself off the ground. He had been running so fast in his adrenaline fueled terror that he was unable to stop in time and crashed into the door blocking his way out.

'Why is this damn door so much stronger than the other ones?' Shuichi thought as he frantically tried turning the knob. 'And why is this so slippery all of a sudden?'

Could it have anything to do with his nerves, or how sweaty his palms were?

Nah.

Success! After what felt like an eternity of fumbling with the doorknob, Shuichi was able to open it

Freedom! Hooray!

Shuichi felt relief wash over him as he tried to swing the door open, but it was quickly replaced with dread when he was able to open it no more than a crack before it was suddenly and violently slammed shut.

Shuichi looked to the left and the right and saw Eiri's hands firmly planted on the door about level with his head. He slowly turned around to face his infuriated lover.

The dumbfounded vocalist tried to think up an excuse, or an apology, or anything that could help him out of his predicament, but was silenced by Eiri's basilisk stare.

Damn! He was trapped between Eiri and the closed door, the proverbial rock and hard place.

He had to think of a way out. Fast!

Eiri smirked wickedly, convinced that there was no way his foolish idiot was getting away this time.

Good thing for Shuichi that a fool's ingenuity is so easily underestimated.

Shuichi collapsed to the floor, which caused Eiri to stagger back in surprise, and Shuichi seized the opportunity to slip between Eiri's long legs and make an escape…

Right back to the place he had been running away from.

Crap.

Shuichi reached the living room and ducked behind the couch in an attempt to put something, anything, between Eiri and him.

A second later, Eiri stormed into the room.

"Get out of there!" he demanded.

"Are you mad?" Shuichi asked, peeking his head over the back of the couch.

"You bet I am! Now give me the fucking camera!"

"B-but, what are you going to do with it?" Shuichi whimpered, clutching the precious item protectively against his chest.

"I'm gonna delete every picture on it and shove it up your ass!"

"NO! Yuki, be reasonable!"

"Reasonable?" If Eiri hadn't already snapped, Shuichi was sure he would have done so then. "Reasonable?! You've been stalking me in my own house for over a week and you want me to be 'reasonable'?!"

Shuichi could practically see the smoke coming out of Eiri's ears.

"How the hell can you expect that?" Eiri continued ranting. "You've driven me to the brink of insanity-- which you should have known would be a very short trip!"

"Wah!" Shuichi cried. "I'm really sorry! I didn't mean to make you so mad."

"Sorry? Not gonna cut it this time! I'm sick of accepting your apologies only to have you turn around and do the same old shit."

"But- but- but-" Shuichi had seen Eiri angry many times before and it was always terrifying, but couldn't remember ever seeing him in such a state of blind rage.

Shuichi tried to sneak around the couch so he could make another break for the door, as he still believed that his best bet was to allow Eiri some time to cool off, but Eiri easily blocked his path.

Eiri made a mad grab for Shuichi and managed to grasp his hooded sweatshirt, but all Shuichi had to do to release himself from imprisonment was lift his arms over his head and slip right out of the oversized garment.

"Grr…" Eiri growled as his prey eluded him. He leaptforward to try to nab him again.

"AH!" Shuichi miraculously managed to scramble out of reach.

He started to circle the couch, leading Eiri in a most annoying game of 'ring around the rosy' in a desperate effort to stay one step ahead of him. He almost pushed himself to the brink of exhaustion in the chase and wondered which would wear out first, him or the floor. He slowed down when he finally put the couch between him and Eiri and suddenly realized he had made it to the other side.

Now the couch was between them and there was nothing between him and the door.

All right!

All he had to do was beat Eiri to the door and he'd be free.

Or so Shuichi thought until Eiri realized what he was planning and easily hopped over the couch to land in front of Shuichi, blocking his only hope of escape.

Shuichi tumbled backward in surprise and would have hurt himself if he hadn't landed on the soft cushions of the couch.

Eiri saw his opening and pounced, but Shuichi recovered quickly and rolled out from underneath him to make another run for it.

His mind was occupied solely with survival and didn't notice until too late that he'd run back down the hall.

He was trapped.

Eiri followed right behind him, leaving only one place to go.

Shuichi ran blindly in his panic. He reached the end of the hallway and without any other option hastily opened the door and jumped through.

Into the bedroom.

He slammed the door and turned the lock, hoping to stall Eiri for at least a little while.

Bam! Bam! Bam!

"Open the door!" Eiri shouted furiously, pounding on the door to emphasize his point.

"But…" Shuichi's fear-stricken mind struggled to think up a plan.

Well, he was in the bedroom…

No!

'That won't work, you idiot! You've already tried to seduce Yuki too many times.'

Eiri suddenly kicked in the door and stood fuming on the other side of the threshold.

For someone who sat on his ass typing all day, it was amazing that when enraged Eiri could possess a strength that would make Bruce Banner turn green with envy. Shuichi would have been impressed if he wasn't so busy being scared shitless.

Eiri advanced closer to Shuichi, who was huddled on the bed quaking, and took a deep breath, visibly trying to calm himself.

"Give me the camera," Eiri ordered, reaching out his hand, palm up, as soon as he stood in front of Shuichi.

"NO!" Shuichi had come too far to give up now.

"I'm not playing games," Eiri warned. "Give me the damn camera."

"Nuh-uh," Shuichi protested.

"That's it!" Eiri roared. He was obviously exasperated beyond the point of being able to take any more.

He reached out to forcibly take the camera away from Shuichi, but Shuichi tucked himself in to a defensive ball. Eiri tried to reach in and pull the camera away but yelped and recoiled when he felt a sharp pain jolt through his fingers.

"You bit me," Eiri stated incredulously.

"And I'll do it again!" Shuichi boldly declared, un-tucking his head from the rest of his body which was still curled up like a frightened armadillo to challenge Eiri with a determined glare.

"Go ahead, but you'll be the one who's sorry when I won't be able to prep you anymore."

"You'll still have your other hand."

Shuichi met Eiri's narrowing eyes without flinching but shuddered and gulped when Eiri's expression morphed into a mischievous grin.

Switching tactics, Eiri pounced again. Instead of trying to steal the camera, Eiri ran his hands up Shuichi's sides and began wiggling his fingers.

"Yuki!…St-stop!" Shuichi gasped between riotous fits of giggles and squeals. "It- it tickles!"

"Ready to give up yet?" Eiri continued mercilessly tickling Shuichi, who was trying his best to keep his death grip on his camera.

"Never!"

Unable to reach under Shuichi's arms or his neck and collarbone areas where he was most vulnerable, Eiri pressed Shuichi flat to the mattress and swung his leg over Shuichi's prone body and straddled him facing toward Shuichi's feet.

"Mmph… You're heavy." Shuichi whined and Eiri scooted forward to sit on Shuichi's thighs, right behind the bend of his knees, then grabbed Shuichi's lower legs.

"Not that!" Shuichi begged as Eiri firmly held both his legs with one arm and used his free hand to remove the shoes Shuichi was still wearing.

Eiri gently peeled of Shuichi's socks while Shuichi continued to squirm underneath him.

"No, please, Yuki! Don't" Shuichi cried but Eiri ignored his pitiful pleas.

Firmly holding on to both legs so that Shuichi couldn't kick, Eiri lightly ran his fingernails against the soles of Shuichi's feet.

"Eeeek!" Shuichi screamed. It was so unfair of Eiri to exploit his weaknesses like this.

"I- I can't breathe!" Shuichi complained between outbursts of laughter.

Shuichi continued to writhe under Eiri and Eiri was barely able to keep his grip but fortunately he was very accustomed to holding onto a struggling, squirmy, Shuichi.

"Wah!" Shuichi couldn't take much more. He pulled his arms out from under him and began furiously pounding his fists against the bed. He was starting to reach his limit when Eiri abruptly ceased his tormenting.

"Huh?" Shuichi's mind went blank when Eiri stopped for no apparent reason and climbed off of him.

He was winning, why would he..?

"Thanks, Shuichi," Eiri leaned in and whispered into Shuichi's ear as he reached under his chest.

Shit! The camera!

While struggling, Shuichi had let go of and forgotten about it. He tried to grab it but Eiri already had a hold on it and pulled it out from under him. Shuichi made a desperate plunge for it, but Eiri held it aloft with one hand and kept Shuichi at bay by keeping him at arm's-length with the other one.

"That's enough," Eiri scolded to get Shuichi to stop trying to climb over him to regain the camera and win the absurd game of keep away.

"But…"

"But nothing. I've had all I can stand of your childish games. It's time it ended."

Shuichi slumped back down, defeated. Despondencyquickly enveloped him and the sting of tears started to blur his vision. Lost in his overpowering emotions, Shuichi hung his head, unable to look up at Eiri.

Shuichi heard a small clatter as Eiri set the camera on the nightstand. He was sure Eiri was still furious with him and now he would finally have to face the music.

"Hey," Eiri whispered, but Shuichi didn't dare look up at him and continued to stare down at bed sheets.

Eiri gently placed his hand under Shuichi's chin and tilted his face up. Tears flowed freely down Shuichi's cheeks and Eiri tenderly wiped them away as he caressed his face.

"Why is this so important to you?" Eiri asked.

"Because…"

"Because?"

Shuichi pulled away from Eiri slightly and held the hand that had been caressing his cheek. He laced his fingers between Eiri's and stared down at their joined hands.

"Never mind," Shuichi mumbled, barely loudly enough for Eiri to hear. "It's stupid. You'll only make fun of me for it."

"Probably, but after all the stress you've put me through lately, don't I at least deserve to know why? Why does this mean so much to you? And what on earth made you think you could 'surprise' me into smiling? That's flawed logic even by your standards."

Shuichi looked up at Eiri's face. Despite his slightly teasing words, his expression showed no signs of mocking.

"Well," Shuichi began hesitantly. "It's just that you… you seem so happy these days."

Eiri's eyes widened for a moment in disbelief and Shuichi felt Eiri's hand squeeze his a little tighter, but Eiri remained silent, so he continued his explanation.

"Believe it or not, I catch glimpses of you smiling all the time. Like the other day, when you were making dinner. I don't think you're aware of it, but you kind of get absorbed in what you're doing and it isn't unusual for you to hum or start smiling while you work."

Eiri's brows knit together in that puzzled thoughtful look that Shuichi found terribly adorable. He was probably wondering if he really did what Shuichi said he did.

"You do it while you do a lot of other household chores too. Like the laundry or the dishes. Even when you're working. If you're writing something you like, you kind of get this dreamy, content look on your face, but whenever you catch me looking it always fades."

Shuichi sighed.

" I know it was silly of me to keep trying to steala picture of you, but I thought if you knew I was trying to take one, you wouldn't smile like I wanted…" Shuichi was silent for a moment but soon he continued, despite having a hard time keeping his voice from cracking.

"I- I guess I just wanted proof that you were happy. That I wasn't imagining it… that… that…" Shuichi choked down a sob and let go of Eiri's hand. He had to look away form Eiri's face. He wiped away the tears that were threatening to spill from his eyes and nervously wrung the hem of his shirt in his hands before quietly making one more confession. "I wanted to pretend that I make you happy."

Shuichi withdrew into himself. He was always very open about how he felt about Eiri, but Eiri rarely returned his affection equally openly. Deep down, Shuichi thought he knew what Eiri's feelings for him were, but Eiri almost never expressed those feelings verbally, and sometimes it filled Shuichi with doubt. It hurt to be so vulnerable when hewas never certain his love was reciprocated.

Shuichi kept crying, unable to hold back the flood of emotions that swept over him, until he felt a pair of strong hands pull him against a warm, comforting chest.

Eiri silently held Shuichi close and Shuichi nuzzled his face against Eiri's shoulder while Eiri soothingly ran one hand down Shuichi's back and idly combed through Shuichi's soft hair with his fingers.

They remained like that, silently holding each other, for what seemed like a blissful eternity, until Eiri finally spoke up and broke the spell with a quiet whisper.

"Shuichi, I… I am happy," he confessed.

Shuichi pushed himself away from Eiri's chest enough to look into his eyes and see the sincerity there. He opened his mouth to respond but Eiri silenced him with a small shake of his head.

"I'm happier than I've been… in a long time," Eiri continued. "And, as aggravating as you can be sometimes, I have you to blame for it. Do you still need proof?"

Shuichi carefully studied Eiri's face, but could find no signs of anything but sincerity and adoration.

"No," he replied, wrapping his arms around Eiri's neck and leaning in for a kiss. "I think I know the truth."

Eiri pulled Shuichi in for another kiss, which he quickly deepened. The whole world seemed to fade away as Shuichi entered into a dreamlike place of sensation.

It barely registered with Shuichi that he had been flipped on his back and that Eiri hovered over him, running his hands under his shirt and against his skin. At some point he did notice that the garment had been removed as Eiri's lips found their way down his neck, then chest, then paused briefly as he darted his tongue inside his navel. Shuichi giggled at the ticklish sensation and Eiri playfully nipped him before kissing him even lower down.

Overcome with yearning, Shuichi threaded his fingers through Eiri's hair while Eiri's hands confidently worked on removing his pants.

Everything became a sea of foggy pleasure and the last coherent thought Shuichi had as he floated away on it was that maybe he was glad Eiri didn't always express himself verbally. If he did, Shuichi might miss how he tried to convey his feelings physically…

The dream did eventually fade, but long after the afterglow had worn off, Shuichi sat up watching Eiri as he slept.

Maybe he gone overboard. Okay, there was no 'maybe' about it. Shuichi decided he would stop harassing Eiri so much, but couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed.

He hated to lose and he still wanted his picture of Eiri.

Shuichi looked down at Eiri again, letting warmth and contentment overcome him.

He was so cute!

Eiri always looked so relaxed when he slept. Shuichi loved the way Eiri's bangs fell over his face and the way his expression softened. He somehow looked so young and sweet in slumber. It was sometimes the only thing that made him think that Eiri's scowl wasn't a permanent feature.

Eiri must have been having sweet dreams too, because the corners of his lips were turned up the slightest bit into a--

Shuichi's heart skipped a beat with the realization.

Eiri was smiling!

Now was his chance. He glanced over at the nightstand, then nervously licked his lips and turned his attention back to Eiri.

Could he grab his camera without waking him? Shuichi fretted over the consequences of waking Eiri, then suddenly laughed and rolled his eyes at his own silliness.

Of course he could get his camera. If he had just fallen asleep, nothing was going to wake him up for a while.

Shuichi leaned over Eiri to reach for his camera and almost started when he heard Eiri mumble something about desserts, but let out an audible sigh of relief when he realized Eiri was only talking in his sleep.

It was adorable when Eiri babbled nonsense, but Shuichi couldn't help but wonder, what exactly is a J-pop tart?

He sat back after grabbing his camera and looked at Eiri again. It would have to be his little secret, Shuichi thought as he pressed the button, but he had finally captured Eiri's smile.

The End.

………….

And there you go. I did warn for gratuitous amounts of fluffy sap, but some saccharine fluffiness at the end was necessary to make up for the game of naked tag a few pages earlier. Hope it didn't give any of you tooth decay. Shu-chan did put Eiri though a little bit of hell, but it all turned out well in the end (after all, I couldn't not let Shuichi have his picture, right?)

I hope you all enjoyed my very first multi-chaptered fic, thank you very much for reading.

Lawless, thanks again for your help, I hope you are happy with the final version.

To my reviewers: Thank you so much, for your kind input, I hope the final chapter left you all satisfied.

Well, that's all folks; reviews appreciated, please feel free to drop one on your way out.