As if running on clockwork, Shion tipped his head, confused. "Yeah, the baby. Dog came back with her, and my mother and I have been taking care of her since." Honestly, he didn't understand why Nezumi sounded so tense over the situation. It was just a baby, after all. The white-haired boy could think of no reason for that to cause any sort of concern. And yet, Nezumi was on edge, his knuckles clenching the edge of the couch while he stared at Shion with a hostile expression. He almost seemed jealous. But jealous of what exactly? A baby? Shion just didn't understand.
Nezumi slowly relaxed as Shion explained, sinking back into the sofa. His hand met his forward as he swept back his bangs, chuckling. "Of course, there's no way you'd get a girl," he muttered more to himself than Shion.
"Excuse me?" Shion asked. Shion felt as if he were a fish trying to comprehend a bird's lecture on how to fly. By the look that Nezumi flashed Shion, perhaps he had assumed the bird's position—with an irritable side.
"I'm off to bed now, boys." Karan's voice broke through their conversation as the light in the kitchen was shut off with a flick of the switch. She stood at the edge of the living room, yawning into her hand. The sight of her clearly so tired made Shion feel even more guilty for staying out late. She must have been very worried about him, after all. "You two need to get to sleep soon, as well. There are extra blankets in the closet if you need any."
Without another word, Karan turned into her bedroom, which was located just at the head of the hallway. Shion and Nezumi both called goodnight to her as the door to her room shut tight.
Shion hopped up, collecting the remaining dishes from the table. He deposited them all in the sink, before bouncing down the hallway towards the closet. Tackling the tower of unshapely fabric once more, he managed to tear out two blankets for Nezumi to use. He dragged them back out into the living room, tossing the small pile upon the couch right next to Nezumi. The dark-haired boy had been lounging idly, his eyes closed with his head thrown back on the sofa, but he opened an eye when Shion returned.
"What, you're making me sleep out here on the couch?" Nezumi asked. He raised an eyebrow, giving Shion a highly disdainful look.
"No, I was going to sleep out here myself. There aren't any extra mattresses, and—"
Nezumi didn't appear to want to listen. He grabbed the blankets, a pillow from the sofa, Shion's hand, and dragged him down the hall, back towards Shion's room. Shion quietly protested, afraid to disturb his mother. "No, I'll be fine on the couch—really!" he insisted.
Nezumi nudged open Shion's door with his shoulder and yanked the white-haired boy in after him. Before Shion could make a break back out into the hall, he shut the door tight behind them.
He gave Shion no time to ask questions. Without a word, Nezumi spread out the blankets on the floor, threw down the pillow, and sank into the makeshift spread. He sat up on his elbows, regarding Shion with a cocked eyebrow. "Don't tell me you're still going to complain?" he asked sleepily.
Shion sighed. Yes, he did want to complain. Being that Nezumi was a guest, it was only right that he should have a decent place to sleep—not the floor. He would have offered Nezumi to share his bed like they had those years ago, but it was rather small, and would be awkward, he thought… why was it awkward exactly? Shion was starting to think that the blush would never leave his cheeks. Why was he so flustered lately?
Given that he was already curled up on the floor, his hair untied, spilling across his pillow in little waves, there seemed to be no more room for argument. With a roll of his eyes, and a downward flick of his light switch, Shion crawled into bed, slipping beneath the covers. After his long walk in the cold, his muscles felt sore and achy. The warmth of the soft blankets around him was incredibly comforting. Nuzzling deeper into his pillow, he felt as if he were floating up on a cloud.
Shion thought faintly that this was the happiest he had been in a long time. He loved his mother dearly, and did not at all mind running the shop. He enjoyed taking care of little Safu, and taking Dog on lazy walks through town. No, he didn't hate his life here at all—he quite enjoyed it, actually—but he had been missing a very key piece to his puzzle for a long time now. As happy as he could be, spending his time in No.6 as a regular citizen once more, watching the city change in ways that could only someday be positive, he had always felt as if there was a hole somewhere in his chest where a part of him had fragmented away. Maybe there was no clear assurance that Nezumi would stay—heck, he could leave during the night, if it so suited him—but just knowing that he had returned was enough. He was here, after all. Shion could hear his breathing, soft as a little bird's song on the morning air.
And yet, that nagging sense that he was mistreating an important guest constantly clawed at Shion's body. It was enough to tear him from his peaceful, happy thoughts.
Sitting bolt upright, Shion stared down into the shadows that traced across the floor. He could see, framed by the light pouring in through his window, the resting form of Nezumi. He seemed to perhaps be sleeping, completely comfortable and silent, yet a short observation told Shion otherwise. The boy rolled over onto his other side quickly, burrowing into the fabric of his scarf. He paused. A minute later, he was rolling over again. Shion tensed his lips, preparing to chastise Nezumi—when a pair of pale grey eyes burst open suddenly, staring up at him. "What?" Nezumi asked tersely.
"Are you sure you don't want to use the bed?"
A groan escaped Nezumi's lips, and he sat up. "Why can't you just go to sleep?" he argued back at the white-haired boy. "I'm fine down here; just let me sleep." But Nezumi didn't immediately fall back towards his blankets. He remained perched on his elbows, staring up at Shion with an irritable expression.
"… You sure?" Shion pressed.
That seemed to be the final straw.
Nezumi dug his nails into his pillow, took hold of his blanket, and stood up. Shion tried to backtrack, fumbling with words to apologize. He hadn't meant to push Nezumi too much—he didn't want him to go out and sleep on the couch instead. He'd be doing it just to get away from Shion at this point, if he did. The very thought twisted at Shion's insides. "W-wait!" Shion insisted, reaching forward frantically.
"You heard me. Move over." Though Nezumi didn't wait for Shion to actually move. Instead, he shoved the white-haired boy aside gently, forcing his way onto as much of the mattress as he could manage.
Shion flailed his arms, unsure of what to do. "Hey, HEY— there's no room!" he insisted.
The taller boy settled down next to him, fighting a section of blanket away from Shion. "Nonsense," he said. "It is a pretty pathetic excuse bed, but there' still room for two. Just don't try to hoard the entire blanket for yourself." He sank down into the pillows, closing his eyes.
Shion fell down on his pillow with a whump, glaring at Nezumi without pause. "This is still awkward," he insisted. Suddenly very aware of how close he was to the boy, Shion inched his body ever so slightly towards his own edge of the bed.
Nezumi cracked a single eye open, looking over Shion with a disdainful expression. "And it wasn't awkward when we were kids?" he asked.
"Well, I—it—" Shion fought to find the right words to describe it all, but was ultimately left flapping his gums, unable to come up with a proper explanation. Instead, he grabbed one of the pillows, hiked up the corner of his blanket, and burrowed his face deep into a little makeshift nest.
It actually wasn't near as cramped with them both in his bed as Shion had imagined. Well, physically that was. For although there was enough space for them both to lie without touching one another—and not fall over the edge, at that—Shion felt completely confined. The very idea of Nezumi lying next to him had his heart racing. He couldn't rest. He couldn't think straight. Shion slowly lifted his face from the blankets, watching Nezumi's resting form. He felt rather creepy for eyeing the boy, but couldn't help himself. All embarrassment aside, he was extremely relieved and happy to have Nezumi by his side. So very happy to just know that he was there, and that he didn't seem to have any intentions of leaving any time soon.
Nezumi's eyes both opened, catching the light. Although Shion felt very out of place, and was almost certain there were butterflies rising up in his stomach—he didn't flinch under the gaze. In fact, he felt calm. There was no reason for him to feel out of sorts or terrified; there was no harm in meeting Nezumi's eyes. He just felt incredibly happy.
And perhaps Nezumi felt the same. For not a minute after meeting Shion's gaze, without so much as a whisper, his fingers skimmed beneath the covers and sought out the white-haired boy's hand. Just like that night long ago, they once more found their fingers intertwined. Shion shut his eyes, smiling as he gripped the boy's hand tighter. Nezumi returned the gesture, giving a light chuckle as his hands clasped tightly around Shion's.
Sleep claimed Shion quickly. Not sparing a second glance, the boy merely shut his eyes tight, breathing softly as he held Nezumi's hand. Nezumi could feel Shion's heartbeat in his hand. He could sense its fast beats slowing while the boy fell softly into rest. Even when Shion's fingers slackened, loosening as his conscious slipped away, the dark-haired boy did not dare let go. His eyes flickered in the light; they were sharp grey embers that watched over Shion protectively.
There were so many things fighting for priority in Nezumi's mind at the moment. There was a sense of flight that gnawed at him, begging him to get up and leave before morning came. None of this way planned, after all. He had not gone to the park expecting to return home with Shion. The reason for his trip to the park was much less… brave, after all.
Nezumi though with a sigh about his travels over the last few months. How far could he say he had gone? Not too far. It couldn't be. He had tried, certainly, but each time he drifted too far from the crumbled walls of No. 6, he felt a clawing sense in his belly that demanded he turn around. Listening to that sense had been particularly difficult, however. There was certainly a fear in Nezumi towards Shion that had kept him at bay, as strange as that sounded. There was a power that boy held, to quell him into a much gentler state than he'd have ever dared without him. He feared it. He feared… caring for him, as cruel as that sounded, even in his own head.
Nezumi had lived his life according to his own laws for many years now. Where he wanted to go, what he wanted to do, what he had to do—it was all reliant on what he needed or desired.
Shion, though… He was an unexpected star lighting up a hollow, empty space. Not completely undesirable—just unexpected. Misunderstood. And without that lack of understanding, there came his fear.
Shion shifted in his sleep, gripping Nezumi's fingers blindly. Nezumi returned the gentle squeeze, and blushed faintly at the result that it evoked.
"Nez…umi," Shion muttered. His head nuzzled his pillow, inching ever so closer to Nezumi's.
Yep, Shion was definitely dangerous. For as many enemies that Nezumi had fought, not a one could make his heart race as furiously as the sleeping boy before him.
Shion stirred, feeling as if there was a strange pressure on his side. He opened his eyes slowly, blinking away tiredness. He started.
He was staring at Nezumi's throat. Sometime during the night, he had whittled his way into the boy's arms, resting just under Nezumi's chin. One of Nezumi's arms lay across his side, wrapping him in warmth, while the other served as an additional pillow under the boy's dark locks. Their legs were a jumbled up entanglement.
Shion thought to inch away from Nezumi. It may be a bit awkward to slip away, but if he woke Nezumi, he could always just make up some excuse, perhaps about leaving to the restroom. Oh, but why would excuses even be necessary? And why was he blushing again?
No, on second thought, he didn't want to do anything. It was still late, he was still rather tired, and… to be quite truthful… there was something about being in Nezumi's arms that he found very pleasing. He was sure that the morning may be awkward—some explanations would certainly be in order, aside a bit of joking—but now there was no need to ruin something… pleasurable?
As he hunkered back down into Nezumi's embrace, nestling his brow into the boy's collar, the faintest of smiles curled across Nezumi's lips.
Hello all, I would just like to thank you for reading, and the wonderful positive feedback that I have gotten from my first ever fanfiction. It's a bit strange writing about characters that I don't personally own for once, but I've also found it very enjoyable.
I am not going to call this fanfiction, "As Time Goes On," officially complete, for there's a chance that I may return and add more to it, but I think that it will be set aside for now. I find that this is a good stopping point, whether it be just for now, or for the dead end.
Set aside for what, however? More interesting exploits, I hope.
Yes, while I will not be touching this project for quite some time—if ever again—this is NOT my last fanfiction. Definitely not my last with these two.
If you have enjoyed my writing, I can assure you that this is not the last you will see of me. I hope to explore this pairing quite some more—and perhaps some others, should I get the interest.
You should even expect some more… fun passages from me concerning this pairing, if you catch my drift. I'm sure many of you may be excited if a little "M" appears under a rating somewhere, hrm?
Thank you again for the time that you have spent reading up to this part. I will try to write some other stories about these two very, very soon.