As much as it wasn't entirely unusual they all could admit quietly to themselves that the peace they felt when they were all together in the greenhouse, surrounded by silence, the strong scent of the flowers in full bloom and blessed with having their most trusted allies with them. They had nothing more to ask for when they were here.
Although…also not quite unusual were the setbacks they had, the interruptions, the troubles.
Frequently Camus was putting his hand to his chest cringing and looking over his shoulder, wondering if the others were noticing. Somehow though, he felt these feelings of urgency and uneasiness and the need for privacy were not quite his own, and simply a reflection of one of those around him.
A tea cup fell from a relatively high distance, it smashed and the sound resonated heavily, bouncing off the glass walls that contained them. Everyone turned to Naoji; he smiled lightly, crouched down to clean it up quickly and tried to pass it off as nothing.
Ludwig appeared as though he wanted to tell him something, but he turned away from him again and kept his mouth shut.
Camus was the first beside him to try to help, he seemed to be the only one to realize that something was really wrong with the other but he dared not bring it to everyone's attention. Naoji grabbed Camus' hand, "Don't touch it." He whispered it softly; his kindness was laced with something akin to exasperation but not quite.
Losing his balance in his crouched position Naoji attempted to stop himself from falling into the spilt tea, though sudden poor instinct caused him to close his hand around the glass shards he'd collected into his hand.
As Naoji hissed Camus gasped with shock. Naoji stood and placed the glass on a saucer on the table and Camus was quick to pass him a handkerchief. Naoji whispered a simple word of thanks under his breath and pressed the material to his hand.
"Naoji..." Orphe called gently.
Ed threw an arm around Naoji's shoulder and took a peak at the damage, "You're a little distracted today."
Naoji clutched his hand tightly, bowed his head and walked away, "Excuse me." He whispered.
"He seems upset about something."
"Has he heard from his homeland?"
There was a moment of silence and Lui opened his eyes to realize the statements and comments were more aimed at him. "Not that I'm aware of."
"Maybe it's because he hasn't heard anything?" Camus suggested quietly.
"Aren't you the least bit worried about him?" Orphe asked the stoic Lui.
"I'll go check on him." Ed exhaled heavily and left; truth be told, he was a little tired of Orphe and Lui's conflicts, and wouldn't blame Naoji if that was what he was all bent out of shape about. He had known Naoji to be such a responsible person, so he had expected him to have gone straight to sort that cut on his hand out. Uneasiness washed over him when he found Naoji sitting quietly in his usual place, amongst the trees and staring at the target he frequently practiced his archery on. "Shouldn't you go inside and clean that?"
Naoji smiled faintly and then turned his head away again, "Don't worry."
Ed sat down beside him, supporting himself with his arms behind his back, "It's going to rain for sure."
Naoji looked up sharply, staring at the sky.
"Naoji…" Ed took his hand, holding it gently and inspecting the laceration, "You've been a little negligent."
"Heh…I suppose so." He smiled lightly and stared into his blood stained hand as Ed tried to clean it up. "It's not as bad as it looks, really."
"You should go and clean it up."
Naoji nodded his head, though if he had actually taken in what Ed had said Ed couldn't really be sure at all. "I will." He stood up slowly, giving Ed a small smile, "Excuse me."
"Naoji!" Ed called after him suddenly. Having gotten his attention his voice faltered just a little, "Come and find us…if you need anything, or just me, I don't mind."
Naoji bowed his head lowly in thanks, smiling and leaving quickly. He walked through the quiet hallways, though heard the quiet snickers occasionally, asking if he had gotten a splinter during his kendo practice. Things were certainly different when Lui wasn't with him.
Approaching his room the figure leaning against his down was unmistakable. "Lui…"
"Come as usual tonight," He pushed himself off the door and went to pass him, "but try not to injure yourself, or spill my tea."
Later that evening, having picked all the small pieces of glass out of the palm of his hand, he made his way to Lui's room with the tray of hot tea. He felt anxious, not that he had felt any other way recently, more so by Lui's words earlier in the day. He had said it…almost as though he had expected him to back out of their usual arrangement.
"Am I intruding?"
"No." Lui closed his book, sitting back in his seat with crossed arms. "Your hand?" It seemed a bit shaky as it tipped the teapot to fill the cup, but Naoji didn't seem to notice.
"It was just a scratch." He placed the tea in front of him before he poured himself some. Watching out of the corner of his eye he saw Lui satisfied by the scent and taste of the tea; he sat down across from him, his hands around the cup.
"You're not drinking." Lui pointed out.
He was right; after ten minutes of sitting in silence he hadn't sipped his tea at all.
"Where are you?"
Naoji's eyebrows furrowed together. "What do you mean?" He smiled a bit, finding Lui's question almost humorous somehow.
"Your mind; where is it?"
Naoji wouldn't go as far as to use that word for Lui but that was the word he wished he could use. "I feel well; there's no need to…"
"You're lying through your teeth."
Smiling and lowering his head, "You worry too much, Lui."
Lui didn't say much else for a few minutes. Eventually he stood up and much to Naoji's surprise, pulled his chair closer; his hands gripped the arm rest and Lui stared intensely down into Naoji's eyes. Naoji attempted to tear his gaze away but felt like he couldn't. The heat that flashed into his cheeks couldn't be shaken off, his heart fluttered in his chest and an odd dizzy feeling continued to spread over his mind and body. Even if he could move, he wasn't sure what he would do.
Lui's fingers curled around the side of Naoji's neck; the Japanese boy released a shaky breath, closing his eyes at the feeling. Lui's fingers massaged the tense and sensitive flesh on the back of his neck and he felt weaker to it. Naoji grabbed his hand forcefully; he needed him to stop. What he wanted though was completely different. "Don't do that." He begged in a whisper.
"Tell me." He stubbornly continued to stroke the back of his neck. How like Lui to perform such a sweet torture on him.
Naoji entwined their fingers together and held the finger tips off his skin, "I haven't been able to sleep."
"Oh? And why is that?" His lips pressed gently to his temple, holding them there for a moment.
Shoulders shrugged lazily under his hand, and the eyes he looked into again were gleaming with the concern he felt for his sudden state. "I have no idea."
Lui's lips pulled into a smirk, "Is that your reason for being scared?"
"Is it not a good enough reason?" It had a lot less bite to it than he had intended; did he really not even have enough strength to fight for the right to his own feelings?
Lui chuckled, squeezing his shoulder, "Drink your tea."
"It's gone cold."
"You'll sleep here with me tonight."
"Why?" He stood promptly and found Lui turning down the sheets.
"You may sleep better beside me."
Lui's lips softly touched the corner of his mouth, and his hands went to Naoji's hips. "I'll go get my clothes."
Hands tightened on his hips, Lui brushed his lips against Naoji's cheek, "Wear nothing," he felt the chill on pass through the other, "or you can wear something of mine if you're really that bothered." He undid the collar on the other's shirt, smiling warmly.
Under his hot gaze Naoji could only feel his tired body burn up; Lui pulled away from him, and all he could do was stand there while he watched him take some light clothes out of a drawer and place them at the foot of the bed. Lui crawled into bed on his own, lying on his stomach and looking like he was trying to sleep already. Suddenly he was thankful those eyes weren't staring at him as he got out of his clothes and pulled on the shirt Lui had given him.
Crawling into a bed beside someone else felt strange, and it didn't do well for the nerves he felt from not having slept successfully in a number of days.
For another entire night, he lay completely awake, staring up at the dark purple canopy of the bed. When morning came his archery suffered greatly. An obvious combination of the minor injury to his hand being dug into by the harsh wood of the bow and by the impossible task of relaxing himself.
"Classes will be starting soon."
Lui didn't sound angry at him like he had expected him to be; after all, he had left the bedroom early in the morning and without having said a word to the other. As courteous as everyone knew Naoji was, it was obvious there was a reason other than that that he didn't wake Lui to tell him he was leaving.
He naturally couldn't run forever; that night things were the same way after tea. Nothing could warm him enough, or remove the dull ache of his body. He stared at the canopy, he stared at the wall, he stared out the window and nothing changed. He rolled onto his stomach, burying his face into his pillow and then turned onto his back again, before turning onto his side.
"Naoji!" The strict voice in the middle of the night frightened him; for a second he thought he was hallucinating as Lui's figure and tired expression seemed to remain the same but the voice was undoubtedly his. "You're flopping around like a trout; stop it."
The Japanese lay half on his side, tilting onto his stomach and chewing on his lips with anxiousness. This wasn't like him, but instinct was telling him to just get up and take a walk around the school or go to his own room where he could toss about as much as possible. So what was stopping him? Exhaustion? It didn't feel like that.
The heavy weight that now lay on top of him was pinning him down into the bed, just enough for him to be kept in place but not enough to be in any pain. An arm wrapped arund his waist gently and the hand rested on his stomach, drawing light patterns on his skin before they slowed to nothing. "What are you doing?"
"Keeping you from moving."
Hot breath was tickling the back of his neck and ear, so he knew he could tell himself it was more than just the words that were making him feel warm. "I'll stay still; you don't need to do this."
"I don't mind." Lips touched his cheeks affectionately for just a moment.
He wasn't sure what happened after that. His heart was beating very fast; he could practically hear it in his head, feeling it swelling in his chest.
It was almost seamless how in the morning the warmth of the sun that shone in was tender, very similar to the warmth he had felt when he had fallen asleep what had felt to be only a few minutes earlier. Lui was looming over him beside the bed though, all dressed for classes and buttoning the cuffs of his jacket. "What time is it?" He couldn't think to ask anything else, though so much had gone through his head in a matter of seconds.
"Time for classes."
He turned down the sheets promptly and got out of bed, "You should have woken me; I missed practice."
"If I had woken you the only thing you would have succeeded in doing during practice is hurting yourself." Lui seemed to smile; through his haze Naoji wasn't sure. "Besides, the unguarded profile you have while sleeping is beautiful."
Naoji felt his face burning red but he smiled anyway, relaxing into Lui's light embrace for just a moment. "I need to get dressed."
"Go back to bed; I'll say you're ill."
He refused with a smile on his face, gathering his clothing, "I can't."
"Why not? You had no problem two minutes ago."
You wouldn't understand.
He smiled lightly, "Thank you."
"What are you thanking me for?" He scoffed.
You already know what I'm thanking you for.
"You better hurry if you're coming to class." Lui made his way over to the door.
"Aren't you going to wait for me?"
"And be late also?"
He chuckled to himself and took a seat on the bed, giving himself just a moment to wipe the sleep properly out of his eyes. He wondered what sleeping was going to be like for the next few nights; would they be like they were last night, or any other night in the past few weeks? He didn't need to give it too much thought. If he had trouble he could at least tell himself that Lui was waiting for him. He wasn't so lonely anymore. He had no reason to be.
A/N: After 4am so I kind of know how he feels… Well, I really wanted to write something kind of cute and innocent for these two. Maybe the next thing won't be so innocent… Not too sure yet.
Please leave a review and let me know what you thought!