Title: 4:13
Author: Hawk Clowd
Disclaimer: You know what, I own everything. Everything! That chair? That's mine. That computer? Mine. That light fixture? Still mine. Gravitation? Well... Not mine. We'll go with 'not mine' on Gravitation. Just to be safe.
Blood Type: Saline.
Warnings: Nada.
Author's Notes: I don't remember writing this, but apparently I did. My draft is dated mid-January, and I found it while looking for my notes on another story. I'm kind of glad I did. Ash, thanks for the encouragement and the serendipity; if I hadn't gone looking for the cancer notes, I never would have found this!


Eiri woke up to the feel of fingertips skimming over his cheek and down his neck, and he let out a deep breath and reached up to catch Shuichi's wrist in his hand. Shuichi didn't even try to pull away, and instead he shifted and pressed a light kiss to Eiri's lips. When he eased away, Eiri's lips stung of salt.

"I'm going," he said, voice almost too soft.

Eiri didn't open his eyes. "What time is it?"

"Four-thirteen," Shuichi answered quietly, and when Eiri didn't feel him reach away and over him for the alarm clock, he furrowed his brow.

"Evening?" It wouldn't be the first time Eiri had slept so late, although such lengths had grown progressively more rare.

"In the morning."

That was even stranger, and Eiri at first said nothing as he tried to puzzle it out. Was Bad Luck touring? Traveling? Filming? Shuichi always took care to email the writer copies of the band's schedule, and Eiri sometimes bothered to look at it. It had been a while, but he didn't remember seeing or hearing about any major events, and certainly nothing that required Shuichi be out of the apartment -- or awake --this early in the day.

Eiri opened his eyes. "Going where?"

When he smiled, Shuichi's lips tugged downward, fighting the effort. He didn't look Eiri in the eyes, and instead looked anywhere but -- at the rumpled bed sheets beneath the writer, and at the smoother sheets on the other side of the bed, where no one had slept; Eiri could practically see Shuichi lying there motionless, counting seconds and minutes and waiting for sleep, however restless it was.

"Away," Shuichi answered, and his voice broke at the tail end of the word.

Eiri frowned. "Why?"

Shuichi didn't answer that, and tears welled in his eyes, threatening to spill over. "It's just..." He choked on what Eiri knew to be a sob, and Eiri reached up, easing him down to lay beside him on the bed. Shuichi buried his face in the writer's shoulder, and though Eiri could feel the hint of moisture under the brush of Shuichi's eyelids, there weren't any tears.

Not trusting himself to say anything that might frighten his lover away, Eiri said nothing, opting instead to run his fingers lightly down the other man's back, along the all-too evident ridges of his spine. He couldn't remember the last time they'd done this -- lain together just for the sake of holding and of being held. It wasn't often Eiri was willing to put up with it and it was even less often that Shuichi dared press his luck. He knew that Eiri saw little point in extraneous physical contact; Eiri knew that Shuichi craved it nearly constantly. It was difficult to find a steady medium outside of sex, and they tended to err toward Eiri's preferences rather than Shuichi's.

Somewhere in a less sleep-addled part of Eiri's mind, he wondered if that was why the singer had made up his mind to leave. If so, he was even more stupid than Eiri had suspected.

If Eiri really bothered to entertain the thought any further, he could very possibly match the other idiot IQ point for IQ point. He knew the reason, of course. It was the same reason it always was -- or at least the same reason it always was recently.

Eiri sighed and tightened his arm around Shuichi's waist. The singer let out a strangled sob, but miraculously there was still no trace of tears. "Hey," he murmured against the top of Shuichi's head. "I'm not letting you go anywhere."

This time, Shuichi's sob sounded suspiciously like laughter, but Eiri wasn't surprised by it at all. The laughter had a cynical edge to it, and the tears finally fell.

"I don't think you can stop me," the singer choked out. Eiri felt eyelids flutter shut, and Shuichi moved upward to rest his face nearer to the writer's neck. "I don't think you can stop it. It's going to --"

"I'm not letting you go anywhere," he repeated, and he let Shuichi break down a little more, wondering all the while where Shuichi had planned to go and why he believed Eiri wouldn't follow right after him.

When Shuichi fell asleep against him, barely out of tears, Eiri decided it wasn't important -- not just yet. Nonetheless, he lay awake until morning, careful not to disturb Shuichi.