23 Days

"You're pale, Hiro-san," Nowaki commented. His voice was raspy like falling leaves rattling in the wind, barely heard over the loud beeping machines surrounding Nowaki's hospital bed.

"Not as pale as you, idiot…" Hiroki mumbled, shaking his head.

Neither could bring themselves to talk for a moment. The air that hung between them was stale and heavy. Hiroki gave a long, shuddering breath.

"Hiro-san, look at me," Nowaki said. Hiroki shook his head again, shutting his eyes tight.

"Look at me," Nowaki pleaded, "Please!"

Hiroki just shook his head, doubling over to hide his face. He massaged his temples, trying to get himself under control.

"Hiro-san, please!" Nowaki leaned over to feebly stroke Hiroki's hand. All of Hiroki's senses were trained to Nowaki's every move. A burst of emotion flooded through him at Nowaki's touch.

"I…I don't know what expression to show you…!" Hiroki finally said, voice trembling harder with every word. He tried not to break, not to let Nowaki see his composure crumble, but the cracks were growing larger and thorny vines were overtaking them.

"Just…smile, Hiro-san," Nowaki replied softly, "Smile at me."

Hiroki did as he was told, though his smile was completely and utterly false. A lame attempt. He bit down hard on his lip to stop it from quivering. His tears, on the other hand, were real, a constant flow from red, puffy eyes.

"This…this is as good as you're going to get." His voice was smooth and clear, but low.

"Oh, Hiro-san, you're beautiful…" Nowaki mumbled, but now there were tears on his cheeks too. They kissed and they touched foreheads. They held each other.

Hiroki didn't leave Nowaki's side that night. He couldn't.


Wrote this about a year ago, hence the angst. Beta'd by Kokiden~