A/N: I WROTE A THING OH GOD. It's been a while. And this is just a drabble, but it's something. I've been away from fic for a bit due to some personal RL stuff, so now I'm kind of easing back in. I wanted to write something sweet and gentle for Nezushi, something that to me demonstrates the way Nezumi tends to take it upon himself to be the caretaker and the giver and the do-er, while Shion quietly, gracefully does the same thing for him without him often realizing it. Honestly, I kind of wanted this to turn into sweet gentle sleep-sex, but…well, all good things will come in time, right? Right.

Hope you enjoy!

Rii


Nezumi always waits for Shion to fall asleep first.

Some nights this means lingering, searching for reasons to stay awake: he diligently ladles leftover soup into bowls for tomorrow's lunch, scatters breadcrumbs for the mice, and alphabetizes his books with careful dedication. Other nights—when Shion feels inclined to help with such mundane matters (which is almost always) and after seems to crave the comfort of his company—they simply tangle together on the bed in a comfortably intimate heap and relax into the silence.

Sometimes, in the pregnant quiet of those moments, they hold hands.

And it's an absent caress, that particular joining of fingers and palms: they touch each other idly, skate curious fingertips across delicate skin, twine their hands together only to pull away and rejoin them again. This often lasts for a long and pleasant time, but when Shion's fingers uncurl and his grip goes slack, Nezumi permits himself a smile.

Still, he makes use of the patience borne from four years of watching Shion from afar. As moments pass he focuses his silver gaze on the ceiling, recites lines from his favorite plays in his head, and reads the titles of book stacked in the shelves nearby until Shion's breathing deepens and lengthens into the soft, familiar rhythm that indicates heavy slumber.

Then, and only then, Nezumi allows himself to gaze at the boy in his bed.

Carefully he shifts and props himself up on his elbow, then realizes anew that Shion looks as innocent in sleep as in waking. Nezumi notes with satisfaction that a half-smile curves the smaller boy's lips, that his slim frame is twisted haphazardly in the blankets and one arm is flung out carelessly to the side. With gentle hands Nezumi strokes the silken tumble of his friend's ivory hair.

He memorizes these minor details in the way that he memorizes lines from plays, and poetry, and passages of novels: greedily, hungrily, with single-minded devotion. He's always felt safest observing from a distance; here, in this quiet, he can admire and adore openly without fearing that Shion will look back at him with tender, loving eyes.

He aches when Shion gazes at him that way for reasons he can't explain even to himself.

But right now nothing hurts, and Shion is beautiful and sleeping and alive in this small, warm dwelling they share. Each gentle breath lifts the smaller boy's chest; his skin is warm and soft and he sometimes makes small incoherent murmurs as he stirs. Nezumi takes comfort in all of these things, in all the sundry evidences of life and vitality. Sleep is a little like death, after all, and Nezumi hates it like he hates all the chasms that separate them.

Satisfied, he brushes his lips against Shion's cheek, against closed eyelids, and then lowers his head to his own pillow. As always, this small nightly ritual allows him to sleep peacefully. Closing weary eyes, he succumbs willingly to exhaustion and the delicious warmth of Shion's slim body pressed close against his own.

I'd like to sing you to sleep, he thinks fuzzily as his defenses weaken and rational thought stumbles. I'd like to sing you to sleep sometime, Shion. Come morning, he knows, he'll scowl at the very thought of such a thing, but for now…

…for now…

..I promise…I'll…

Thought and desire elude him; the day's tension dissipates as the rest of his thoughts untangle. And Nezumi, lost to slumber, doesn't feel the gentle shift as Shion stirs beside him and opens clear dark eyes. He won't remember, in the morning, the tender hands that lovingly tug the blankets up around his shoulders and smooth back his careless spill of his lapis lazuli hair.

Warm lips press a gentle kiss to his temple. "Good night, Nezumi."