.keeper

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you make me real

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Summer evenings in this town are normally just as muggy and misery-inducing as high noon, but this evening in particular happens to be a small blessing. Everything has slowed down quite nicely, the sharp heat of the afternoon diluted to something soft and mild as the sun makes its slow descent out of view. The living room window is open to let in the breeze, and the air smells of saltwater and swaying, sun-heated grass; there's little to be heard besides the gentle whistle of the wind, the distant revving of passing cars, and the whirring of the ceiling fan hovering above the couch upon which Akise is curled up on his side, fast asleep.

Yukiteru can't say he was expecting the boy to have zonked out like this in just the twenty minutes he'd been in the kitchen cleaning up, but Akise does have the habit of falling asleep faster than anyone Yukiteru has ever known, so he shouldn't be too surprised. Smiling softly at the sight, he makes careful work out of walking as quietly as possible over to the other window to lift it up – only for a floorboard to creak loudly beneath his foot, stirring the same sense of calm he was trying to preserve. Cursing under his breath, he looks over his shoulder to find Akise blinking back to life, groggy and flushed as he lifts his head and looks around with confused, lidded eyes. His hair is a hopeless mess of what Yukiteru can only compare to duckfluff, kicking out in wayward angles this way and that, all the while clinging to his face in damp strands from the warmth of the living room. "Yukiteru…?"

"Sorry," Yukiteru says with an apologetic smile, turning back to open the window and let in more air. "I didn't mean to wake you up."

Akise scratches the top of his head and gives a tiny groan, his eyes closing again. "S'okay," he mumbles, his voice slurred and thick from sleep. "How long was I…?"

Yukiteru admits a quiet laugh and leans against the windowsill. The breeze puffs against the back of his arms and neck, ruffling his hair. "Just twenty minutes. You must've been really tired, huh?"

Akise's response is another quiet groan as he lets his head fall back onto the cushion. After a moment, he weakly stretches out his arms towards Yukiteru with a dreamy exhalation of, "Come lie down with me…"

And Yukiteru can never really say no, can never even want to protest such a thing, especially when Akise is this inviting and lost in a softness all his own just a few paces away. Yukiteru clears the distance between them in no time, still feeling a touch sheepish at the way Akise looks at him with those eyes and that lazy lift of a smile. He's pale and pretty and languid like a strip of cool silk when Yukiteru catches onto his hands and settles down close to him; the couch is narrow, but they make it accommodate for the both of them without too much hassle until they lie on their sides face-to-face, legs tangled and arms draped lazily over the other's waist. Akise hums contentedly when they fall into place and takes a long, slow breath, letting it out on a sigh that tickles Yukiteru's ear. "A-Ah, don't do that," Yukiteru says, rubbing his ear with his palm as if to soothe the heat that immediately affronts it.

"Still so sensitive there," Akise chuckles out, his voice as soft and light as the evening breeze. He nuzzles just behind Yukiteru's ear with the tip of his nose, and the boy lets out a small yelp dashed with a giggle that he wishes he could have concealed – or rather, he only half-wishes it, given how happy Akise always seems to get when he makes him laugh. He wouldn't want to lessen that, not for anything in the world.

It's far too warm to be pressed this close, but Yukiteru finds himself too absorbed in the feel of Akise's fingertips deftly stroking along his hip in mindless little circles that become slower and slower as drowsiness drapes its whispery gown back over that slender body cuddled against Yukiteru's own. He looks up to catch sight of Akise's eyes closed, his face serene and dipped in an almost-dream. "Are you falling asleep again?"

"Mm…" Akise shifts a bit, his hand dropping a bit to stroke thoughtlessly over the back of Yukiteru's thigh. "Can't help it…"

"You're making me sleepy, too," Yukiteru mumbles. He rests his forehead against Akise's chest and breathes in the gentle scent of pear and soap and fresh linens, all touched with a warm note of slumber. That alone makes Yukiteru's eyelids become heavy – he'd been wide awake just moments ago, but Akise never fails to rub off on him like this and drag him down with him. Not that he's complaining.

"Then fall asleep with me," Akise murmurs, his voice laced with a smile even as he seems to drift farther away from the wakeful world with every passing second. "We'll wake up eventually…"

Yukiteru is just about to say that it might not be a good idea to sleep now and wake up at some insane hour, be it midnight or three in the morning, and then their sleep schedules would be completely out of whack and who knows how long that would take to get back on track – but he says none of these things. Akise's expression is far too serene to break it with words, and this little web they've fallen into really is so very nice…

Yukiteru doesn't remember closing his eyes, but he seems to float off on a light ripple of sleep that reasserts itself into wakefulness not too long after. When he opens his eyes again, the sun has nearly gone down, but not enough to shroud the living room in darkness quite yet; everything is washed in a deep, rich copper tinged with gold, and the air has become a mere touch cooler. Akise's breathing is quiet and balanced, his mouth parted just so, as he seems to defy all sense of color and influence what with how milky-white and ethereal he remains. Stray locks of his hair fan over his cheek and puff out in little wisps with every exhale. Yukiteru feels something inside of him become warm and light, near fluttering, when he reaches out to brush silvery hair away from the other's cheek with deft fingertips. The boy's skin is smooth and cool, and Yukiteru breathes out a baffled little laugh at how his stomach flips, at how his heart skips like a stone thrown out across a stretch of water.

Even when sleep takes him under again, he can't stop smiling.