just a bonus
we uncurl and unwind when we sleep side by side.

.

Touya Rima was having trouble sleeping.

This, of course, meant bad things. Like getting dark circles under her eyes and losing close-up model shots. Like falling asleep during class and getting detention because of it. Like becoming all short-tempered and feeling like lashing out at anybody who so much looked her way because she was constantly exhausted.

Like making somebody so worried that he took it to himself to try to help her sleep.

Keyword, of course, being 'try'.

In all honesty, insomnia was a new and foreign thing in Shiki Senri's life. It was a complication he never encountered before. He never had trouble sleeping, ever. Sleeping was like his hobby. He fell asleep everywhere, starting from his bed, in the class, on the stairs… everywhere. Sometimes he fell asleep with his eyes opened—it was an acquired skill, he liked to think—and sometimes he fell asleep standing up.

No matter the circumstances, Shiki had never had trouble sleeping.

Which, of course, was the only reason why Rima's little situation was more than interesting to him. In fact, he found it so bizarre that it became an enigma, a conundrum, and swore to himself that he'd help her sleep whatever it took. Despite how he seemed, Shiki liked puzzles, really; liked figuring out questions and deciphering mysteries and getting all the answers everyone never thought of before.

And if solving this one problem also helped his best friend, or the one girl he cared for the most?

That was just a bonus. A big, big bonus.

Honestly? Shiki had no complaints.


This, Rima concluded with just a little tinge of annoyance, was the worst.

Not only had Shiki taken it upon himself to figure out why she was having trouble sleeping, it seemed to her that he was so intent on getting her to try all the remedies, as well. Which meant all kinds of things, really. Like having Shiki in her room when she was trying her hardest to fall sleep.

Perhaps it wouldn't be such a trouble if it were a little bit different. If he wasn't so insistent on looming over her bed, scrutinizing her every move, studying her face. If he weren't so close to her, perhaps she wouldn't have been able to smell him instead of the scented candles, or hear him instead of Debussy's "Clair de Lune", or find him in the back of her mind instead of the blackness she was supposed to see. It was like her senses were on an overdrive—for him!

Vexing. How very vexing. Not to mention distracting.

Shiki was supposed to be her best friend, her partner—and just those two things. So why he kept on appearing when and where he should not have appeared was a huge predicament to Rima, something that perplexed her to no end. And this was all very annoying, especially when she was supposed to be figuring out a way to fall asleep.

Oh, she appreciated his concern, alright. Sometimes she even enjoyed it. Two days ago he brought her a cup of hot cocoa, and she definitely enjoyed that. It was sweet and chocolaty and sinfully delicious, something she really ought to stay away from considering her career as a model. The day before that, he put on her favorite classical music and lit on some aromatherapy candles.

Really, she rather liked the attention—most of the time, however, she'd rather not be a burden on him.

Like tonight.

"Rima."

"No."

"Rima."

"I said no."

"Rima."

At the demand in his voice, Rima groaned into her pillow, rolling onto her side to look at the male vampire standing by her bed. He was holding a mug in his right hand, blowing the steam off, his icy blue eyes staring at her in the darkness.

"That better not be hot chocolate," she muttered, eyes glued on the mug warily, "It goes straight to the hips."

"It's milk and honey," Shiki corrected, face impassive, still blowing the steam, "You need more meat on the hips anyway."

"No can do. I have a summer shot in two days."

His eyes crinkled in disdain, "A summer shot?"

"Yes," Rima straightened up on her bed, pulling her sheets up around her as she curled her knees to her chest, "They have this new line of swimwear," she paused, "It's going to be at nighttime, at the beach. With the moonlight and all. They want it to be like The Little Mermaid."

"Who are you modeling with?"

"Some amateur guy," she shrugged, tucking a loose strand of her hair behind her ear, "Apparently it's going to be quite remarkable. Romantic."

"Right," he said, voice flat as he handed her the mug.

"Milk and honey," the model remarked, peering into the cup curiously. It was a little hard to see what was actually inside it because of the darkness, but as she lifted it to her lips, she already caught the sweet smell of honey. Sipping carefully, she almost wanted to smile. "Thank you, Shiki."

There were several beats of comfortable silence—seven, she counted—before Shiki found his voice. "My mother used to make that for me."

She angled her head and looked at his face, "Yeah?"

"Yeah. Before…" he paused, "You know."

She felt herself soften. Shiki's mother had taken to calling her son "that demonic bastard" because he looked similar to Rido, and while Shiki always appeared indifferent to her name-calling, it still wasn't a very pleasant experience for anyone to go through. Subconsciously she reached out a hand to Shiki's, fingers covering his just barely and too lightly to be considered as a comforting gesture.

"I know," she whispered, and then added, her voice stronger this time, "She might have a point. This tastes nice."

It was hard to see in the dark, but she could have sworn he smiled at her as he said, "Good to know."

Rima sipped again, slowly, slowly, slowly, as she watched the fire of the scented candle on her end table flicker in the dark. The flame danced, emitting a wispy, feathery trail of smoke that dispersed and finally disappeared as it went higher in the air. This particular one was lavender and it smelled sweet, soft, light. Beside it was a dreamcatcher, a handmade object made of a willow hoop, feathers and beads dangling from it. Shiki had given it to her on their third night, believing that it would somehow help her sleep. The table hosted many other objects, multiplying every night. Before she knew it, her milk was finished, so she put the mug on the table carefully.

"Shiki?"

"Yeah?"

"Nothing."

Silently, Rima lied down again, turning her back to Shiki. It would be awkward to tell him that she could never fall asleep with his eyes on her face. Something about the whole notion tickled the back of her neck in a very unfamiliar way, although it wasn't unwelcome at all. She closed her eyes, telling herself to breathe in and out, in and out, in and out, as normally as she could.

For several moments, this was how time passed.

She became very, very aware of the sound of him moving against his chair, and the way he blew the candle and welcomed total darkness, and even the feel of his breath on her cheek every time he leaned closer to check on her.

This, Rima decided, was really the worstthing about her sleeplessness.

"Do you want me to read you a book?" he asked, finally, when she tossed and turned for the nth time. His voice was soft and calm as always, although in the dark its magnitude was heightened by several levels because that was the only thing she could grasp, apart from his scent. When she did not reply, he took a book from her bedside table and began to read, "A Little Princess, by Frances Hudgson Burnett—"

"Shiki," she swallowed and rolled to her back, reaching out a hand for the book, "There's no need. Thank you, but you should go to sleep. It's late."

He moved the book away from her grasp and looked at her through the dark. Much to her surprise, he stood up from the chair, kicked off his shoes and slipped under the covers, using his right elbow to support himself, the book lying between them.

"Just focus on my voice," he told her.

There was something in his tone that made Rima understand he wasn't giving up on her—not just yet—so she sighed resignedly and turned to face him this time, closing her eyes as he continued reading. Word by word, page by page, Shiki kept reading. His voice was hushed, quiet, soothing, and it sent tingles down her spine and comforted her at the same time.

Just focus on my voice.

She fell into a dreamless slumber before page three.


Touya Rima was having trouble sleeping.

Again.

This, again, meant bad things. Like getting dark circles under her eyes and losing close-up model shots. Like falling asleep during class and getting detention because of it. Like becoming all short-tempered and feeling like lashing out at anybody who so much looked her way because she was constantly exhausted.

Like making somebody so worried that he took it to himself to try to help her sleep.

Keyword, of course, being 'try'.

This time, however, Shiki Senri was well equipped. He knew this problem. He solved this problem. Heck, he aced this problem. Really, all it took was a mug of warm milk and honey, a lavender-scented candle, and a good book, and he had all the magic he needed.

Occasionally, though, there would be variations—he was equipped for those, too.

Two mugs of warm milk and honey, two lavender-scented candles, and a few more pages of said good book, and if those didn't work, he could always try new things. Like letting her use his arm as a pillow, or snuggling with her on her bed, or counting sheep along with her.

And if he were really, really, really lucky?

She'd let him kiss her goodnight, and it would just be another bonus.

A big, big bonus.

Honestly? Shiki had no complaints.

Only this time, Rima did not have any, either.

.

end.


notes: It's been around two years since I have last been into the Vampire Knight fandom, both as a reader or a writer, and I have no idea if this fic is up to par with the recent contributions. I am not up-to-date with the manga or the anime, so excuse me if I did not get the characters well enough.

That said, I also have to admit that I can't remember, for the life of me, how vampires in this universe work. Research on this yielded me Twilight vampires instead (damn you, Stephenie Meyer!), but I'm almost 100% sure that I've seen them fall asleep before, so here we are. Suffice to say, writing this was my pleasure, and I hope it's to your enjoyment, as well. Thank you for reading! ;)

PS: Lyrics are from "Light Up" by Tegan and Sara.