Stronger Than Guilt

"Nowaki…anh…stop."

Hiroki found his lips captured by the blue eyed man crouched over him. Nowaki's heat poured into him, his warm hands on Hiro, the strong heartbeat under Hiro's palm on his bare chest.

"Hiro-san, you're so cute," his smooth voice murmured.

"Nowaki…"

Hiroki startled awake, nearly whacking his head on the side table in the process.

Just another dream.

Hiro picked up the note he found on Nowaki's pillow.

'I'll be working the night shift tonight so I won't be home till late. If you need anything don't hesitate to call. I love you.

Nowaki.'

Hiroki crumpled the note. There'd been a dramatic increase in those three precious words out of Nowaki in the two months since the car wreck. Hiro had one huge problem with it though, Nowaki hadn't touched him once since the accident. Sure he would ruffle Hiro's hair sometimes and hold his hand, but other than that…nothing.

He found himself craving what his pride used to hate. Sure Nowaki had helped him learn to walk again on his permanently screwed up ankle. He'd kept his promise to never let Hiro fall, but he never touched him, not once. His ankle and other injuries had healed, though his ankle still tweaked some if he stepped or moved wrong. As Nowaki had warned, he still limped heavily, and likely always would.

Hiro slumped back into the pillows (Nowaki's pillow which carried his scent.) He didn't feel like dealing with Miyagi today. He would call in sick. He closed his eyes, inhaling Nowaki's scent, willing the dream to return, since it was the closest thing he had.

With all the lights off in the house, Nowaki assumed Hiro-san had already gone to sleep so he crept in quietly. He was a bit surprised to find Hiro curled up and slightly shivering on the bed with Nowaki's shirt and pillow.

He really is cute.

Nowaki pulled the covers over his trembling body. His arms wanted to wrap Hiro-san and stop his shivering, but he couldn't…not after the damage he'd already done. He settled for leaving a kiss on Hiro's forehead before falling asleep beside him.

~Next Day~

That agony…Nowaki's arms around him…chasing it away.

"Nowaki, talk to me so I don't fall asleep."

Nowaki's voice, gentle and smooth, his warm hand stroking Hiro's hair.

"Kamijou!"

Whack! Hiroki found a pile of books tumbling down on him. He managed to duck his head in time at least.

"Oww…" Hiro rubbed his back where the books had landed.

"Are you okay?" Professor Miyagi, Hiro's boss, asked.

"Yeah…oww."

"What's the matter with you lately? First you say weird things in your sleep, now you run into book cases! What am I going to do with you?" the professor scolded. "Are you not eating or sleeping well or something?"

"I'm fine, just daydreaming sir."

"Is everything okay with you and that medical student?"

What the hell? Was it that obvious?

"Uh…yes it's fine…I just didn't sleep well…I think."

Miyagi tried to hide his amusement. "Pfft! I wonder why that could be?"

It did nothing to lighten Hiro's mood.

"Seriously Hiroki, what's wrong?"

After nothing but silence, Miyagi gave up. "Go home and get some rest. You look like the walking dead."

"Uh! But Sensei -"

"Go, no buts! I've got it covered."

"Uwa…thanks." What else was he supposed to do?

Hiro stared at the hospital building he found himself in front of, Nowaki's work.

Why the hell did my feet bring me here? Am I that desperate for him?

Nowaki…his warm hands, those cobalt eyes…Nowaki…yes. I'm acting like a chick.

Next thing he knew, Hiro ran into the building looking for Nowaki's department, Pediatrics or something like that. After asking the front desk lady, he waited. He slumped down against the wall, trying to calm himself.

What am I even doing here? What am I expecting? Him to do it right here at his work? I should just go home…but I…

"One of these each morning should keep her cough away and let her sleep," came Nowaki's voice.

He emerged from the hall with a young girl and a woman, her mother, Hiro guessed.

"Uh! Hiro-san!" He caught Hiro's figure slumped against the wall.

"What are you doing here? I thought you didn't get off work till later. Are you alright?" Nowaki questioned, kneeling by Hiro.

"I left early. We need to talk…now." Hiro grabbed Nowaki's jacket collar and pulled him to the closest door, the elevator.

He hit the "stop" button as soon as the elevator shut.

"Hiro-san, what are you –"

Standing next to him, Hiroki let his head fall against Nowaki's chest. He tried to force a calm before tears started.

"Hiro-san, what's wrong? Are you sick? Does your ankle -"

"Don't! Stop asking about my stupid foot!" Hiroki backed up, emotions having won control.

"Hiro-san -"

Hiro stamped his foot. "Baka, baka! Every time I try to make you understand, you ask about that! I don't give a fuck about my foot! You always ask if I'm okay, I'm not, I'm not okay! I miss you…"

Did those words really just come out of my mouth? Oh God help me…

"What are you talking about, Hiro-san? I'm right here."

Hiro sank down against the elevator wall. "Why can't you get it?"

Nowaki knelt before him. "If I've done something to upset you, I'm truly sorry, Hiro-san, believe me."

"It's what you haven't done," Hiro mumbled. He folded his arms over his knees, hiding his face in them.

"Why won't you touch me, even once? Am I not enough…is it…?"

Hiro felt warm hands stroking his hair and remembered something.

"You're still blaming yourself for that wreck aren't you? That's why you won't touch me?"

The hand stopped. Hiro lifted his face to see Nowaki, who's eyes looked guiltily at the floor.

"You were hurt, I- I didn't want to cause you more pain…I'm afraid to see you in pain again. You have no idea how scared I was, seeing that agony on your beautiful face. I thought it would take you from me."

Abruptly, Nowaki found his hand taken and placed on Hiro-san's side, where two months before the impact of a side airbag had snapped two ribs.

"It doesn't hurt anymore, Nowaki. You won't hurt me I swear, so please…"

Hiro found Nowaki's lips descending upon his, while his hands slid over his skin, sending a healing heat through every cell in his body

"Hiro-san, I love you."

. Right there in that stopped elevator, Nowaki reminded the one he loved who it was he cared for, breathed for, lived for.

Nowaki…my Nowaki…forever.