Nezumi listens as Shion's breathing slows down. He thinks he can still feel his erratic heartbeat through the mattress but it could be his too. There really isn't any way to tell them apart now.

Shion's back feels slick with sweat as Nezumi absently traces lines on his skin with a regular rhythm. As he often does while trying to catch his breath, he thinks about he normally doesn't. It may be his soft side making him think like this and he can't say he particularly enjoys it, especially when it takes advantage of him like this in his euphoric state of mind and when he is especially comfortable with every sensation within his still tingling body but he thinks mere thoughts wouldn't really hurt… would they?

It's the urge that would hurt, he reflects, the urge that he feels now; relentless, demanding, frustrating... the urge to ask. And he doesn't know why he does it, as with many things concerning Shion, but he yields to it.

Shion's eyes are closed but Nezumi knows he is awake, simply relishing the fleeting last seconds of his drawn-out afterglow. He feels somewhat bad for knowing that he'll steal those seconds from him but he promises himself, that he'll atone for it tomorrow night... maybe even before that.

"Shion?"

His eyes open and Shion turns to him with a smile on his lips. The gentle curve of his mouth seems like a crescent dimple and Nezumi just wants to fill it... with the tip of his fingers, a dip of his lips, his tongue...

"Mmm?"

Shion barely murmurs but their bodies; their limbs are so closely entangled that Nezumi feels the vibration of his non-syllabic reply through his body as if they are merely opposing protrusions of the same monolithic statue.

"I'm curious about something."

Shion raises an eyebrow, letting Nezumi know that he, too, noticed how unusual it was for him to be the one with questions. He also seems like he is enjoying this unexpected turn of events but in an attempt to prevent Nezumi from changing his mind he quickly shows his genuine interest.

"What do you want to know?"

Nezumi hates beating around the bush so he asks bluntly.

"Ever since that first night, you never asked me my name again. Why?" He doesn't even know why he asks or if he wants to tell him or not. He is just curious why Shion, of all people, doesn't ask.

Shion smiles again. It's warmer this time, almost too warm to bear because Nezumi knows its meaning, he recognizes the smile and he regrets asking the question because he doesn't want Shion to look back, to think about the past, to show him how much he has changed; painfully, forcibly because of everything that happened back then, because of all the time he spent, alone... because of him.

Shion pulls his hand from in between them and places it over Nezumi's neck. The scene is familiar, even the spot where Shion's hand is now is the same as before. But everything else is different from that time in the past. Nezumi can feel his pulse throb against the palm of Shion's hand and it's perfectly stable. Shion's eyes, his crystal clear, ruby eyes has an overpowering compassion in them. It's another expression Nezumi knows all too well but he thinks it isn't too bad and if he could physically feel the true weight of Shion's gaze, he wouldn't mind dying underneath it because he damn sure feels like it would kill him.

"You are alive. And you are here." Shion answers softly and Nezumi thinks he should have seen this coming since he is the one Shion learned it from. But it baffles him anyway. He feels ridiculously proud and also, strangely, sad. He thinks maybe he would rather if Shion never learned this lesson; not to ask personal questions and just be satisfied with a beating heart. Because it means that Shion knows, knows painfully well, what it means to lose someone...

"That's all I need to know, Nezumi." Shion whispers and rests his head on his chest, his arms smugly curling around him into a lover's embrace.

"Idiot," Nezumi speaks without even thinking, and it's kind of automatic now anyway. That's his one, I-don't-know-what-to-say-to-this reply and he hides behind it as always. He hooks a finger under Shion's chin and pulls his face closer as he leans in and gives him a long, slow motion kiss that is filled with everything he feels but cannot say.

When he pulls away from the kiss, Nezumi buries his face into the crook of his neck and his lips find Shion's ear and with his snowy white hair tickling his nose, Nezumi whispers a single word to him... One little word... His final secret... And although he knows the word well, it feels like it belongs to another life and in a way it does and Nezumi thinks maybe that's why it's only fit to be told with this tone of voice, in this very room, in this tightly woven darkness and told only... to this person.

Shion looks up at him with surprise and then something else breaks through his expression. With understanding, his eyes water up and he draws in a tremulous breath.

"Not very impressive, is it?" Nezumi asks mockingly and he smiles. But Shion only continues to cry. He raises a hand and puts it over his cheek and through his tears he smiles and replies,

"It is... beautiful. Just beautiful."

And the look in his eyes throws Nezumi off balance, as it always does… Because he knows Shion isn't only talking about what he whispered in his ear. There is so much more in his molten gaze that Nezumi cannot name… And as he leans in to cover Shion's lips with his own, he thinks he doesn't need to name them at all.

Because Shion is here. And he is alive.

And that's all he needs to know.


This one came to me while working on a another No.6 fanfic which I'll also post soon. Since it's quite short I finished this one first and wanted to share before I got cold feet xD

I hope you all like it. Comments are ALWAYS appreciated. I love you all for merely loving No.6.

Happy New Year 3

(PS: I made a return to Simple Present Tense from the headache inflicting variations of the Past Tenses... I hope you won't mind the change 3 )