Well, here it is - the final installment of my 'tragic one-shot,' which is no longer tragic, nor a one-shot! As you might have noticed, I've changed the rating of this story to mature due to this chapter. It contains one of the longest love/sex scenes I've ever written. If you prefer fluff, this may not be your 'cup of tea.' Sorry about that, but after going nearly a year without sex, Yuki simply couldn't control himself. ;)

I hope everyone enjoys this rather lengthy ending to my much longer than intended story. As always, I do not own Gravitation. That honor belongs to Maki Murakami.

Shuichi nervously watched the city fly by. This should have been a happy occasion. Finally after being in the hospital for nearly eight months, he was going home, but at this point it was little consolation. Perhaps if Yuki had come back to visit him just once, he could have been happy, but now, he was simply terrified. What if he got home and found the apartment empty again?

No, I can't allow myself to think like that, Shuichi reasoned trying in vain to stay calm. Yuki will be there. He has to be. He couldn't kiss me like he had, and then just leave me. Unfortunately, Shuichi knew better. If any one person could personify the "love 'em and leave 'em" type, it would be Yuki.

"You alright over there," Hiro asked trying his best to sound nonchalant.

Shuichi suppressed a fresh wave of guilt. Ever since he'd made that awful mistake, everyone had treated him… differently. As if he would break at the slightest touch. Even Yuki had acted unusual. Of its own volition, his mind drifted back to that kiss. Never had Yuki ever kissed him like that. It was simply the best, most remarkable kiss he'd ever experienced. Just thinking about it again sent tingles throughout his entire body. That kiss had been his inspiration. It had helped him get through the pain of all those grueling hours of therapy, as well as all those hours of abject boredom. That kiss had also been his life line and ultimate source of hope. For the first time in their relationship, Shuichi had actually been treated like a lover. That's not to say that Yuki had never been tender or passionate, but this time the emotions behind that kiss had actually felt like love.

"Hey Shu, you awake over there," Hiro repeated this time giving his best friend a gentle nudge.

"Huh… oh, yeah, I'm fine," Shuichi lied unconvincingly.

At this Hiro merely chuckled and shook his head. Once again guilt tormented Shuichi's soul. Normally Hiro would have confronted such an obvious lie. It made Shuichi feel like screaming. He was so sick of everyone treating him this way. Instead he crossed his arms sullenly and stared at the one person who was supposed to know him better than anyone else. The years had been kind to Hiro. In fact, he was even more handsome now than he had been in his youth. His dark red hair was still long, but most of the time, like today, he kept it tied back in a low ponytail. Although he'd been forced by his profession to wear a suit, he still somehow managed to look sexy. Today he was dressed entirely in black with the exception of a cherry red tie and handkerchief. Neither the pressures of his career, nor the responsibilities of being a husband and father, had marred his still perfectly sculptured face.

Shuichi turned away and continued to watch the buildings fly past the speeding car's window. He caught a glimpse of his reflection in the side mirror. This last fiasco had definitely left its mark. Fine lines had been etched around his eyes and at the corners of his mouth, and a few silver hairs had begun to form at both of his temples. If he still had his pink hair, they probably wouldn't be as noticeable, but against his natural black hair, they stood out like a sore thumb.

'Maybe I should color my hair again,' Shuichi mused. Before he'd even had the chance to think about hair colors, they arrived at their destination. He looked up at the apartment building as if it were an evil leviathan poised to devour him. Will Yuki really be here, he wondered trying in vain to slow his wildly pounding heart.

"Do you want me to see you to your door," Hiro whispered playfully into Shuichi's ear.

"Cut it out you idiot," Shuichi exclaimed taking a swipe at Hiro's face.

Dodging the blow easily, Hiro feigned a wounded expression. "So, this is the thanks I get for driving your sorry ass home?"

"Thanks Hiro," Shuichi replied gratefully as he got out of the car. Deep in his heart, he knew he shouldn't have doubted his best friend. Hiro always knew exactly what to say to take Shuichi's mind, if only for a moment, off of whatever was troubling him. As he retrieved his belongings from the back seat, he noticed that Hiro had gotten out of the car as well.

"You gonna be alright," Hiro asked awkwardly.

"Yeah, of course I'll be fine," Shuichi answered, though he wasn't sure he who he was trying to convince more – himself or Hiro.

"Seriously, I don't mind going up there with you," Hiro repeated his voice filled with concern.

"Would you just go already," Shuichi scolded. "You've wasted enough time with me today. I already told you, I'll be fine." Groaning inwardly at Hiro's skeptical look, he added. "I promise."

"Alright," Hiro conceded reluctantly, "but if you need anything… anything at all, you'd better call me."

If I get the urge to kill myself again, you'll be the first person I'll call, Shuichi thought sarcastically, but the sincere expression on Hiro's face kept him from blurting it out.

"I promise," Shuichi sighed in defeat. "Now get back to work, you slacker before Seguchi-san fires your lazy ass."

"Alright," Hiro laughed in relief. "I can take a hint." He flashed Shuichi a smile that could still make school girls go weak in the knees. "I'll see you later."

Shuichi watched him drive away before slowly making his way into the building. Once again he was consumed by fear. He still hadn't gotten over the time Yuki had left him. The way it had felt, when he walked into that empty apartment, it was simply the most devastating thing that had ever happened to him. Even being raped and beaten had been pale in comparison. Now, as he tentatively ascended the stairs toward the apartment, all of those emotions assaulted his soul mercilessly.

I'm being silly, Shuichi reasoned with himself. That happened a long time ago. Surely, Yuki won't do that to me again, especially after that kiss and… Shuichi's heart skipped a beat as the last statement Yuki made to him echoed through his mind.

'Rest and regain your strength. You're going to need every ounce of it when you get home.'

Shuichi's heart beat wildly at the implications of those words. It ignited his passion sending his libido into instant overdrive. Shuichi paused clutching the railing as wanton thoughts of being seduced by Yuki twisted tantalizingly through his head.

Yuki is home waiting for me, Shuichi heart sang as he raced the rest of the way to the apartment.

Shuichi opened the door and breathed a sigh of relief at the furniture that greeted his arrival.

"I'm home," he called out happily kicking his shoes off. The silence that followed his lively greeting damped his spirits slightly.

Maybe he's taking a nap, Shuichi mused as he silently headed toward the bedroom. When he neared Yuki's study, however, his heart sank at a most unwelcome sound. Peering quietly through the door, his fears were confirmed. Yuki was at his desk and focused so intently on his work, he never even heard Shuichi's greeting. It was as if the past several months had never happened. Nothing had changed at all.

"I'm home," Shuichi repeated timidly.

"Obviously," Yuki answered barely acknowledging his presence.

Shuichi fought back his tears. The one person he'd been longing to see, the one he'd dreamt about every night, had obviously never missed him at all.

"I… guess I'll put my stuff away," Shuichi murmured dejectedly.

He walked listlessly into the bedroom and tossed his bag onto the bed. Normally, he would have carelessly tossed his stuff on the floor, but after being berated constantly by the nurses at the hospital, Shuichi had unwillingly been transformed into a tidier person. He hung up his bathrobe, and placed his slippers next to the bed. After retrieving the iPod that Hiro had given him, he tossed the now empty bag into the corner. He flopped on the bed, fixed the ear buds snuggly into his ears, put the iPod on shuffle, and hoped he'd be able to get lost enough in his music to sooth his lonely heart. By the tenth Nittle Grasper song, he'd fallen fast asleep.

When Shuichi awoke, he was surprised to find himself bathed in the deep golden rays of the quickly fading sunset. His stomach growled at him angrily. He'd been too excited and anxious to eat much of his lunch earlier, but now he was ravenous.

Maybe Yuki will take a break and treat me to dinner, Shuichi thought optimistically as he quietly walked into the study.

Yuki was still sitting at his desk his fingers flying furiously across the keyboard.

"Would you like to take a break and get something to eat," Shuichi asked hopefully.

"I've already ordered some take-out," Yuki replied pausing momentarily to retrieve his wallet from his back pocket. "Here," he said pushing it into Shuichi's hands, "the delivery boy should be here soon."

"Alright Yuki," Shuichi replied trying valiantly not to let his disappointment show as he turned and headed for the living room.

"And don't forget to give him a tip this time," Yuki called out after him.

Shuichi tossed Yuki's wallet on the coffee table, grabbed the remote, and slumped on the sofa. He really didn't want to watch television, but anything was better than the oppressive silence that seemed to amplify his empty, aching heart. After flipping through only a fourth of the available channels, the delivery boy arrived. He was very young, very handsome, and he appeared to be very disappointed to be making his delivery to someone other than Yuki. Shuichi paid for their meal and grudgingly handed the overly enthusiastic youth a tip before pushing him unceremoniously out the door.

Shuichi's mood brightened slightly when he realized that Yuki had ordered his favorite meal.

Maybe now Yuki will take a break and come eat with me, he mused as he quietly entered the study.

"The food's here," Shuichi announced cheerfully.

"Great, I'm starved," Yuki answered. With great effort, he peeled his eyes away from the laptop and looked expectantly at Shuichi. "Well, where is it?"

"I thought… you might want to take a break and eat at the table with me," Shuichi answered timidly.

"Damn it you don't understand…" Yuki took a deep breath. "I've got to get this done tonight," he explained using as much tact as he could muster. "Would you just bring it here?"

"Oh, I understand perfectly," Shuichi exclaimed bitterly as he stomped dramatically out of the room. Fighting against the angry tears that threatened to spill over his cheeks, Shuichi reemerged a moment later with Yuki's meal. In that short amount of time, Yuki had already resumed his work and was so engrossed; he hardly acknowledged the food that was set before him.

Completely crestfallen, Shuichi left Yuki to his work and went to get his meal. Not wanting to eat at the table alone, he brought it over to the sofa and picked at it while he watched one of those predictable chick flicks on the television. It was the kind sappy love story that Shuichi had loved as a youth. Movies like this had always reinforced his belief that no matter what, love could conquer all. After living with Yuki for so long, however; Shuichi now knew there were some things that love just couldn't mend. Of course this movie also had an obligatory 'happily ever after' ending.

If only reality could be that simple, Shuichi wished as he watched the happy couple on the screen embracing and gazing lovingly into each other's eyes. Ah, but my reality is simple, Shuichi realized laughing humorlessly. I spend my time like this, quietly waiting for Yuki to finish his work in the hope that he will make love to me for a few hours before he goes off to start his next project.

Shuichi turned off the television, shut the containers of his half eaten dinner, and put the left-over's in the refrigerator. I have no reason to complain, he berated himself. There are people out there who aren't able to live with the person they love. He paused on the way to the bathroom to glance into the study. This time, Yuki was on the phone. I guess I should consider myself lucky, he mused as he gazed longingly at his distracted lover.

I hope he finished everything, Shuichi thought as he continued into the bathroom. Maybe, if he finished everything the way he wanted to, Yuki will make love to me tonight, he hoped as he slowly got undressed to take a shower. While waiting for the water to get warm, Shuichi resigned himself to the fact that he would never be more than Yuki's occasional plaything. After all, he reasoned as the warm water cascaded soothingly over his body, being embraced every once in a while is better than never being embraced at all. Although that logic made perfect sense, it still wasn't enough to stop his bitter tears.

Shuichi stepped under the shower letting it completely envelop his body. Leaning against the wall pressing his forehead against the cool tile, he wished he could lose himself as easily as his tears which mingled effortlessly with the crystalline water. He watched the water flowing through the drain at his feet and wished for one brief moment that he could merge with it – just follow it down the drain and disappear. No, he chastised himself; I can't let myself think like that. No matter how bad it gets, I can't put my loved ones through that again.

A strong pair of arms pulled Shuichi abruptly out of the water.

"Mind if I join you," Yuki whispered seductively into Shuichi's ear.

"Of course not," Shuichi gasped as Yuki's hands began to tenderly caress his chest and stomach. So everything worked out the way you wanted, he mused sadly. For a split second, Shuichi wished he could be strong enough to walk away from all of this, but in his heart he knew it was no use. He'd given himself, heart, body and soul, to Yuki. Regardless of how neglected he was, Shuichi knew he could never leave. If only you loved me, Shuichi wished as he yielded to Yuki's embrace, this would all be perfect.

Yuki embraced him tighter leaving a trail of light kisses across his shoulder until he found that spot just at the crook of Shuichi's neck. When he felt his captive lover shudder, Yuki bit down just hard enough to make Shuichi cry out in pleasure.

Desire swept through Shuichi's body like a wildfire. It had been so long since he'd been touched like this – every kiss, every caress, even the slightest flutter of Yuki's breath, added fuel to his pent up passion.

Shuichi gasped when he felt Yuki's hands leave his skin, but before he could protest, they reappeared this time ladened with soap.

"Yuki… what… ah," Shuichi's mind went blank as Yuki's hands massaged the soap over his shoulders and arms.

"Just relax," Yuki whispered soothingly into his ear.

Oh God I'm in paradise, Shuichi thought as Yuki began to bathe every inch of his body. Yuki's hands lingered longer than necessary when they got to Shuichi's nipples. His voice reverberated through the bathroom as Yuki pinched and twisted them relentlessly. He groaned in disappointment when Yuki's hands trailed slowly down his stomach, but blatantly bypassed his throbbing erection. Instead, Yuki cupped and squeezed his ass, which to Shuichi's immense embarrassment, made him arch his back and cry out again like a shameless whore.

"It sounds like you missed me," Yuki murmured lustily in his ear before running his hands in tantalizingly slow increments up and down both of Shuichi's quivering legs.

"Yuki please," Shuichi begged pitifully.

"Is this what you want," Yuki asked as his hands finally wrapped around Shuichi's passion.

"Ah yes," Shuichi exclaimed grasping at the wall to keep from completely collapsing under the sudden, intense onslaught of pleasure.

While he fondled Shuichi's manhood, Yuki pressed against Shuichi's back and started to rub his hardened member along the cleft of Shuichi's ass.

"Yuki stop," Shuichi wailed torn between thrusting his hips against Yuki's talented hands or pressing back against his lovers well endowed cock. "If you don't stop… I'm… I'm gonna come!"

Yuki's licentious laughter sent shivers down Shuichi's spine. "Do you think you're gonna get away with only coming once?" He caressed the tip of Shuichi's cock with his thumb. "It's useless to hold back."

"Ah… Yuki… AHHH," Shuichi screamed as his body tensed in response to his sudden, vigorous climax.

Dizzy and disoriented, Shuichi thought at first he was actually floating. When he realized he'd collapsed into Yuki's arms, he quickly struggled to regain his footing.

"How long was I," Shuichi mumbled in embarrassment.

"Only for a moment," Yuki chuckled affectionately. "Here, let's get you rinsed off."

Taking the initiative, Shuichi stepped into the water stretching lithely to pull his wet hair away from his face. As he looked into Yuki's intense, hungry eyes, Shuichi caressed himself suggestively. That was all the incentive Yuki needed to pull Shuichi into another crushing embrace. Their lips met in heated passion. Yuki's hands slipped down Shuichi's back and once again cupped his ass as he rubbed his achingly hard member against Shuichi's quickly reawakening desire.

The taste of Yuki's lips, the heat of his body, and the intensity of his passion sent Shuichi's senses reeling. So much so in fact, that he never noticed when Yuki turned off the shower. He barely acknowledged it when Yuki maneuvered them out of the tub. Only when a large, soft towel landed suddenly on Shuichi's head, was he jarred forcefully from his pleasure induced trance. While Yuki gently rubbed the moisture out of Shuichi's hair, a wicked idea popped into Shuichi's mind. He waited until Yuki was distracted similarly drying his own hair before dropping silently to his knees.

"Just what do you think you're…" Yuki's demand was cut short as Shuichi's sensuous mouth engulfed his cock.

Shuichi groaned unabashedly as he sucked at Yuki's organ, swallowing it until he felt the tip graze the back of his throat and then running his tongue along the sensitive skin as he pulled his head slowly back. When his lips grazed the tip, he swirled his tongue around it and sucked at it hard. Yuki fingers caressed Shuichi's hair in encouragement as Shuichi continued his ministrations. Moments after Yuki's breath started to hitch, Shuichi felt himself being yanked abruptly to his feet. Once again his lips were captured and devoured by Yuki.

"You'd better get into the bedroom," Yuki cautioned after pulling reluctantly away from Shuichi's lips, "or I'm going to take you here!"

The thought of Yuki pounding into him on the cold, hard tile floor spurred Shuichi quickly toward the bedroom. As he neared the door, Shuichi turned and gave Yuki his best 'come hither' look. In the blink of an eye, he found himself once again locked in Yuki's strong arms and tasting his hot, hungry lips. Yuki's hands slowly worked their way back to Shuichi's ass, but this time he slid a finger between Shuichi's cheeks and teasingly began to caress his tight entrance.

Shuichi arched his back and cried out in a combination of pleasure and need.

"Offer yourself up to me," Yuki commanded his voice thickly laced with desire.

Shuichi shuddered and complied instantly with Yuki's sexy, dominating voice. As he crawled seductively across the bed, he considered the many ways in which he could offer himself. Lying back against the pillow, he hoped this position would be satisfactory, because he wanted desperately to be able to look into Yuki's eyes. He spread his legs wide, and tempted his lover by fondling a nipple with one hand while the other slipped slowly down to his eagerly twitching entrance.

Yuki retrieved a small bottle of lube from the nightstand before following Shuichi onto the bed. The feral smile that graced his lips sent a surge of electric anticipation into Shuichi's groin That look could only mean one thing; tonight he was going to be fucked senseless.

Yuki positioned himself between his quivering lover's legs. His feral smile grew as Shuichi enthusiastically pulled his knees toward his chest.

"That's a good boy," Yuki purred encouragingly as he poured a generous amount of lube over Shuichi's entrance. Slowly he pressed a finger into Shuichi. "Is this what you want," he asked curling it just enough to teasingly graze Shuichi's sweet spot.

"Ah, yes please," Shuichi begged unable to stop his hips from writhing at his lover's touch. His feet dropped back to the bed when a second finger joined the first. Lifting his hips off the bed, Shuichi arched his back in a desperate attempt to force those fingers deeper inside him.

"Your ass is awful hungry tonight," Yuki growled lustily as he added a third finger.

"Yuki, please stop teasing me," Shuichi wailed plaintively. His hips bucked uncontrollably while Yuki's fingers twisted and stretched his tight hole.

Yuki slowly removed his fingers. "Do you want me," he asked seductively as he nudged Shuichi's entrance with his member.

"Yes, please," Shuichi pleaded his heart pounding wildly. Although he was just as dominant as ever, Shuichi noticed a subtle change in his lover's demeanor. "I want you."

Yuki's eyes locked into Shuichi's as he slowly worked his way inside. Shuichi struggled to return his lover's intense gaze, but it felt too good. Finally, after waiting for so long, they were one again. As he wrapped his legs around Yuki's waist, he envisioned their bodies entangled so much so that it would be impossible to tell where one person ended and the other began.

Settling down on his elbows, Yuki once again captured Shuichi's lips. It was such a deep, passionate kiss; it nearly took Shuichi's breath away. When Yuki started to gently rock his hips, Shuichi wished he could get lost forever in the waves of pleasure that coursed rampantly through his body. He grasped Yuki's shoulders and hoped that he somehow would be able to keep himself from coming too quickly.

Breaking their kiss, Yuki rose up on his hands again and started thrusting harder and faster. Shuichi arched his back and cried out in ecstasy. Each thrust collided perfectly into his 'g' spot bringing him closer to that sweet release.

"No… Yuki, I… I can't hold back," Shuichi gasped tearfully.

"I told you it was useless to hold back," Yuki replied with a vainglorious smile. "Come for me, Shuichi."

Just hearing Yuki say his name was enough to send Shuichi over the edge. His heated passion splashed across his stomach and chest as his body seized in fruition. Clearly affected by Shuichi's dramatic climax, Yuki's pace and the force of his thrusts increased until he at last released his passion. Bearing a large, self-satisfied grin, Yuki claimed Shuichi's lips with another long, passionate kiss. Shuichi's heart swelled with love as he hungrily returned his lover's affection.

Oh God, I've died and gone to heaven, Shuichi mused as he reveled in the sublime comfort of Yuki's embrace. A subtle throb in his posterior, however, indicated that Yuki was far from satisfied. Although he would have sworn that it was impossible, Shuichi also felt his member coming back to life.

"Yuki, stop… it's too much," Shuichi pleaded breathlessly as Yuki pulled him onto his lap.

"You're body doesn't agree with you," Yuki replied erotically teasing Shuichi's quickly swelling manhood.

"Yuki please, not like this," Shuichi begged in vain as Yuki grabbed his hips and started thrusting into him. Despite being fatigued and sore, Shuichi couldn't stop his hips from crashing soundly into Yuki's thrusts.

Shuichi arched his back crying out in ecstasy after one of Yuki's well aimed thrusts, leaving his chest open and vulnerable. Yuki welcomed the opportunity to attack one of Shuichi's tantalizing nipples sucking and nibbling it greedily.

"No Yuki, y… you're gonna make me come again," Shuichi wailed as he buried his fingers into Yuki's hair.

"Let's come together then," Yuki whispered passionately into Shuichi's ear.

"I… I love you," Shuichi screamed as their passion simultaneously erupted. "I really, really love you!" As he collapsed against Yuki's shoulder and the darkness enfolded him, Shuichi swore he heard Yuki utter softly, "I love you too."

Once again Shuichi was floating. Nestled in the comforting darkness, he was dimly aware that his body was tenderly laid back against the bed. Gentle fingers swept his hair from his eyes moments before a soft kiss graced his lips.

Yuki… Shuichi mused as his eyes slowly fluttered open. But by the time they fully came into focus, Yuki was walking back into the bedroom carrying one of their carelessly discarded towels.

"Here," Yuki announced before tossing the towel onto Shuichi's stomach. "You'd better clean yourself up before you fall asleep."

"Oh, yeah… thanks," Shuichi stammered. I should have known it was only a dream; he berated himself as he shakily rose off the bed. Grabbing the towel, and a clean pair of boxers, he walked sullenly into the bathroom.

When Shuichi walked back into the bedroom, the lights had already been extinguished. At least this time he didn't go straight back to work, Shuichi reasoned as he desperately tried to cling to the euphoric bliss he'd experienced earlier in Yuki's arms, but it was no use. He'd had his allotted attention. Undoubtedly tomorrow Yuki would start another project, and he would once again be just another nuisance for his lover to tune out.

Quietly he slipped into the bed and maneuvered his body as close to Yuki as he dared. Although Shuichi knew it was a bad idea – one that would surely get him kicked out of bed, he just couldn't stop himself.

"When do you start your next project," Shuichi asked trying his best not to sound like a nagging wife.

"I don't know, and I don't care," Yuki answered calmly.

"What," Shuichi exclaimed sitting up abruptly.

"That's exactly what my publisher said," Yuki replied chuckling humorously.

"Yuki you can't," Shuichi wailed tearfully. "You love to write! You can't just give it up like that!"

"Why are you getting so upset about it," Yuki asked genuinely intrigued. He sat up and looked intently into his lover's frantic face which was perfectly illuminated by the moonlight that spilled profusely over the bed. "Don't you hate it when I'm working all the time? Wouldn't it be better for you if I quit?"

"I hate it when you ignore me," Shuichi agreed, "but you can't quit doing what you love. You don't know how awful it feels. Not being able to use your creativity… watching other people who aren't nearly as talented as you succeed." He fiercely clutched Yuki's shoulders. "Please Yuki, don't quit. I can't bear to see you suffer like that!"

Shuichi's sincere concern shook Yuki to his core. Every once in a great while, this annoying little brat would do something to completely catch him off guard, and this was definitely one of those moments.

"I never said I was going to quit," Yuki responded good-humoredly in an attempt to hide his shock. "You're crazy if you honestly believed I would give up my career for a brat like you."

Shuichi winced as if Yuki's words had physically slapped him across the face.

"That's good," Shuichi mumbled through his tears. "I didn't… I mean… I never thought you would quit… for someone like me."

"Shuichi wait, you don't understand," Yuki moaned instantly regretting his harsh words. "Over the past several months, I… well, I've had a lot of time to… take stock of my life, and I realized… that I was spending too much time and effort on something that was no longer all that important to me. So I decided to go into semi-retirement and focus my attention on…" he turned away blatantly avoiding Shuichi's eyes, "what I truly cherish."

Shuichi was utterly dumbfounded. He stared at his obviously embarrassed lover for several long seconds before tentatively muttering; "are you trying to tell me… that you love me?"

"I never said anything about love," Yuki retorted, lying down abruptly pulling the covers over his shoulder.

"But, I'm the one you cherish… aren't I," Shuichi asked flopping enthusiastically next to him.

"I don't recall ever mentioning names," Yuki countered impatiently.

Shuichi desperately wanted to pursue this outstanding revelation, but he knew from experience it would only earn him a cold, lonely night on the sofa. Instead, he decided to change the subject. "So, now that you've taken some time off, what are we going to do," he continued unperturbed.

"I haven't decided yet," Yuki snapped. "And if you don't shut up and go to sleep, I'll call my publisher, and tell her I've had a change of heart."

"No, please don't," Shuichi replied contritely as he cuddled up to Yuki's warm body. "Good night Yuki!" He whispered before giving him a quick peck on the lips.

Despite his embarrassment, Yuki couldn't stop himself from wrapping his arms around Shuichi and pulling him into a firmer embrace.

Nestled securely in his lover's arms, Shuichi fell asleep looking forward, for the first time in years, to whatever awaited him tomorrow.

Long after Shuichi fell asleep, Yuki continued to gaze into his lover's beautiful face marveling at the intensity of emotions that coursed mercilessly through his heart. He'd hated having to be so cold to Shuichi earlier, but he knew, if he lost his focus, he would never be able to finish his project on time.

He'd known that his decision to go into semi-retirement would be met with resistance. Therefore, when he approached his publisher with his decision, he came armed with a compromise. Instead of writing another novel, for the next five years, he would write a series of novellas which could be sold to the highest bidding romance magazine. Naturally, his publisher readily agreed. How could she possibly refuse? It was, after all, a most ingenious proposal – one in which everyone got what they wanted. His fans would still get a regular dose of Yuki's brilliant love stories via monthly installments, his publisher would still be able to profit from Yuki's unrivaled talent and best of all, it would free up more of Yuki's time so that he would be able to give his adorable, little lover the attention he deserves.

"Mmmmm Yuki, you feel so good," Shuichi mumbled blissfully in his sleep.

You feel good too, Yuki hesitantly admitted instinctively pulling his lover closer. The novella he'd just finished was six chapters long. That meant he would have roughly four months of free time before he'd have to write his next installment. What am I going to do with you, he mused as he brushed a stray lock of hair off his lover's cheek. Maybe we could take a vacation, he thought drowsily. That sounds like a good idea. We could go far away to a place where we'll both be completely anonymous – where relationships like ours are more accepted – where we can freely act… like lovers. The thought of walking hand in hand with Shuichi out in public made Yuki decidedly uncomfortable, but he knew, after everything he'd put Shuichi through, it would take much more than this to atone for his sins.

Alright, Yuki continued fighting against a sudden onslaught of fatigue. After our vacation, what should we do? An unexpected bolt of inspiration pierced Yuki's consciousness. We could buy a house in the country. It would be the perfect place for me to work. And maybe, I could convince Shuichi to take up gardening, or fishing as a hobby to keep help keep him busy during the time I have to work.

These and countless other ideas swirled around Yuki's head until his exhaustion finally regained the upper hand. I can't believe I almost lost this; he contemplated, as he protectively held Shuichi's warm body. He realized this second chance he'd been given was an awesome gift and that he'd be a fool to let it carelessly slip through his fingers.

I promise, Yuki vowed silently to Shuichi, no matter how much you irritate me; I will cherish you for the rest of my life.