SUMMARY: This story begins after Shuichi's assault, once Eiri has taken him back to his flat. The first two chapters follow the anime; after that things go their own strange way…

NOTES: Unbelievably, here I am! I am not presently writing any Grav fics but I do have some I never posted – time, overtime and other "real life" demands stopped me but I will get around to them all!

This story was the last I completed to date, and also the longest. It is an AU story of sorts; I am not, actually, a huge fan of Shuichi-Yuki "break-up" fics, but this idea came and there it was. What I wanted was not to completely change the story – as will become evident – but write something that paralleled crucial events and ultimately brought the characters to the same place they were at the end of the anime. Above all I wanted to create a sense of one small change leading to events heading off in the wrong direction.

This story also "sucked up" quite a few story fragments and story ideas I was never quite able to develop – these first two chapters were originally conceived as one story, but I didn't like the general gloominess of the ending and was pleased to use it not as the end but the start.

LAST NOTE: I will say this here and hopefully never again. This is not an AU where Shuichi (or Yuki) end up finding true love with some character from the manga or of my own making, so anyone who hates that sort of thing need not worry. I haven't created a Mary-Sue since I was about eleven years old and will not pay any attention to the suggestion that I have done so here. Any OCs here are no more than plot devices! Trust me, relax, and hopefully enjoy!

CHAPTER 1: LET GO PART ONE After his horrendous experience at the hands of Aizawa and his "rescue" by Yuki, Shuichi lies in his lover's bed and wonders what will come next…

Shuichi turned his head and watched in silence as Yuki Eiri dressed.

For a man who seemed to spend so much of his time chasing women, Yuki was remarkably shy when it came to nudity out of bed. He didn't seem to like Shuichi staring at him when he was naked and always showered and got dressed quickly afterwards. Though he had found it frustrating, secretly wishing he could have stared at Eiri's beautiful pale body for hours at a time, Shuichi had never dared to complain.

Now he stared unblinking. Why the hell shouldn't he? What did any of it matter? What could Yuki do? Shout at him? Hit him? Threaten to leave him?

Finally Yuki slipped his shirt on and padded out of the bedroom, pulling the door shut behind him without glancing back. Amazing – Shuichi hadn't even heard the shower running; he must really have been out of it. Unless Yuki hadn't bothered to shower after sex – now that would be a first.

Shower… yes, he should get up and shower. He didn't want to feel soiled… now more than ever. Gingerly he reached a hand down to his belly and was surprised to find it cool and clean. Vaguely he recalled a soft cloth wiping him down, but he had thought it wishful dreaming.

Yuki had washed him, while he was sleeping.

Shuichi felt tears sting his aching eyes. How? How had Yuki known he needed to wake up clean? There was even a fresh glass of water and two aspirin on the bedside table.

Yuki could be remarkably thoughtful when he put his mind to it. He could be sensitive too. He had been just now, when they had made love.

Shuichi had expected – wanted – Yuki to take him; had half willed him to take him hard, to reclaim him, to drive out all memories of the violation by another, to replace the pain inflicted by a stranger with pain inflicted by the one he loved. It was an insane notion… it was even repellent… but it was there.

When Yuki hadn't even moved towards preparing him, Shuichi had protested - even tried to force him - but Yuki had pushed him back with something close to anger. "No. Not this time."

You think I'm dirty! Shuichi had thought venomously, you don't want to touch me because someone else did! But just as he was about to blurt it out, Yuki slowly but purposefully slid his hand down over Shuichi's bottom. At once Shuichi cried out and recoiled. The very thought of being touched there while it still hurt so much, even the idea of Yuki feeling or seeing the damage he knew was there made him feel both physically sick and hot with shame.

Yuki gave him a meaningful look. Shuichi lowered his eyes in reluctant submission, acknowledging the other man had been right.

How had he known?

Yet he still wanted Yuki. Still wanted his touch. Still wanted to be reminded that it could be sweeter than life itself. Yuki knew that too. He did things he had never done before, and things he'd done before with more speed and less tenderness. He planted long, lingering kisses on Shuichi's chest and belly and between his thighs. He sucked him slowly. He stroked his aching muscles with strong, soothing hands. When he finally settled between Shuichi's legs he still did not try to enter him, but only rubbed his own hardness against Shuichi's, grinding rhythmically.

After a confused moment, Shuichi began to move with him. It felt good. As they got close to the edge he could not help thrusting up hard against his lover's body, but Yuki just thrust back, the heat and the friction between them sending them both over at the same time.

No, Yuki wasn't completely thoughtless. But couldn't he just have stayed with Shuichi just a little longer once they were done? Held him in his arms and stroked his hair and told him everything was going to be all right, even if it wasn't?

Told him he had done the right thing, and that he was proud of him for having so much courage, and grateful to him for the sacrifice he had made?

Told him he was sorry for saying stupid, scary things about going away and disappearing out of Shuichi's life for ever?

But of course Yuki wouldn't tell him anything like that. Wouldn't tell him anything. Everything that Yuki said or did only added to the mystery; the uncertainty. It suddenly struck Shuichi with a sort of weary gloom that he would never know why Yuki did anything. He would never know what Yuki was feeling or what he thought about anything. They might go on like this for the rest of their lives and Yuki would never open his heart to Shuichi.

Seguchi Mika was right – he didn't know Yuki at all. He didn't even know why he called himself "Yuki." And Yuki had never invited Shuichi to call him anything else – if he really wanted Shuichi to get closer to him he would surely have invited him to call him "Eiri." He had fallen in love with a stranger, and months later, that was still all Yuki was.

There might be more small hints from Mika and Tatsuha. More little snippets of information dropped by Yuki's editor Mizuki. Suggestions from what Yuki did or didn't do. Clues gained from reading between the lines of the things he said.

But how long could they go on like that? Would Shuichi wake up twenty years from now beside Yuki and realise he still knew absolutely nothing about him? Perhaps he would turn to his lover thirty years from now, when it was too late to start again, and ask, Yuki, do you love me? only for his lover to answer… no.

No. He wasn't going to do it. He was too tired. Tired of the uncertainty. Tired of the effort. Tired of not being loved back.

Shuichi closed his eyes. He was just tired, period.

Where were they at, precisely, anyway? Were they lovers again? Were they back together? Had Yuki forgiven him for whatever the hell he had done was so bad that the writer had told him he hated him and thrown him out?

Let go. It came to him as a soft whisper in his mind. Just let it all go.

It was certainly a tempting idea.

I'll disappear from your life.

That was right – he should do what Yuki wanted to do. If it worked for Yuki, why shouldn't it work for him too? He would disappear from Yuki's life. He would let him go.

Yes, that's it. Let go.

Yuki never made much of an effort over anything. He just sat around waiting for things and people to come to him. He sat around while Shuichi came to him time and again. He sat around while his older sister Mika lectured and scolded, when it would surely be simpler to say this is the way it is, now leave me alone. Even his own engagement had to be arranged for him, and he could not be bothered to give little Usami Ayaka a straight answer even when she came all the way to Tokyo to find out where she stood. Were they still engaged? Shuichi didn't know, and he had a feeling Ayaka didn't either.

Maybe Ayaka was prepared to spend the rest of her life in suspense. But Shuichi wasn't.

He would be like Yuki. He would let go, and the world could do what it pleased around him and he wouldn't give a damn. About anything.

Suddenly Shuichi's eyes snapped open.


He didn't want to be Yuki. It suddenly occurred to him that to be Yuki would be a pitifully cold and lonely existence. Yuki was at odds with his family and seemed to have very few friends – no "mates," no "pals," not even a bunch of stupid but reliable "drinking buddies." Just a succession of rather shallow sounding girlfriends, half of whose names he had probably forgotten. Apart from Mika, Mizuki was the only woman Shuichi had seen in Yuki's flat who he wasn't sleeping with, and maybe she wouldn't care about him if he stopped writing books.

No, being like Yuki was a crap idea. Better to be like Sakuma-san, or Seguchi Tohma – to focus on his music and not let his personal life ruin that. His involvement with Yuki had very nearly brought the music career he had dreamed of for so long to a screeching halt just as it was really getting going. He couldn't let that happen.

Yes, yes, that's right. Just let it all go.

Anyway, he reflected as he drifted into sleep, what the hell was he worrying about? He could take a break – a week or two – to get his head together. He could take a damn month if he wanted to. It wouldn't make any difference. Yuki Eiri would still be here. Yuki Eiri would always be here. He wouldn't run off and start a new life somewhere else; he was too damn lazy and besides, he didn't care enough about Shuichi one way or other to go to the trouble of leaving him. If Shuichi asked to move back in with him in a month or two, Yuki would probably say yes.

For now, all Shuichi wanted to do was let go and sleep.

TBC: So that is where Shuichi is, but what is Eiri thinking?