Notes: Sorry; I keep trying to break Yukawa. Set during The Devotion of Suspect X, but it's not your standard canon missing scene. In fact, it's very much an alternate canon. First posted under lock September 9, 2012 with last edits done October 5, 2012. Thanks to LoyaulteMeLie and friesforangels for invaluable advice and hand-holding. You both rock as betas. Title from "It's Never Quite What It Seems" by Over the Rhine.

Utsumi nods when Yukawa asks her to hear him out as a friend. What else can she do? His reticence is nothing new to her, and although she wants to say more, opens her mouth, even, to tell him she treasures this indication - this naming - of his trust, nothing comes past her lips. That he would be so affected, that he would take this long to tell her - there's more here than he's expressing.

He tells her what he wants to do, how he needs to talk to Hanaoka Yasuko, how this all depends on how she'll react. He tells her that Ishigami is, without a doubt, the one responsible for sheltering Hanaoka, and to what lengths he went in order to do that. He lays it out, in a way that he's never done before. She nods, all the while watching him with worry twisting her gut until she feels physically ill, hearing nothing but a struggle against grief in his voice. He's losing a friend - has lost him - and the way it's tearing him apart leaves her helpless. This, what he's asked of her, is the only thing she can do, the only action he wants her to take.

When he's finished, everything about him seems defeated: his head is bent, his eyes downcast. His body seems too heavy for him; he lowers himself back down onto the spartan sofa like stones are dragging him down.

Everything inside her just wants to make it better for him. The pull to make some sort of comfort available to him is so strong that she moves toward him, stopping herself after one step. To encroach on his physical space is unthinkable unless he's the first to break that barrier.

She looks down, her mouth twisting, and is startled to see she's still holding his enameled mug. She could finish what she started and get him some coffee. He'd receive that more easily. She tries to pass him, with that intent, to head down the stairs to the main level of the lab, only to be snared by his hand on her sleeve, clutching her arm with a grip that is not painful, but very well could be if he just squeezed a little harder. Her head jerks up, but he has his head bent so she cannot see his eyes.

He says, "I'm sorry this has come between us."

Her mouth falls open and her eyes widen; between them? How could he think that? She shakes her head at the thought, only stopping when he looks up at her.

"You have your duty," he states, tone final. His eyes look dull in the dim light and he shifts them away from her face before he finishes speaking. He loosens his grasp on her; drops his hand to his side.

No. She won't stand for that. He made the first move. She sinks down on her knees before him, setting the mug down. It hits with a soft clink of metal to metal, on the grated floor. He looks up. She reaches up, placing her hands on his cheeks, searching out his gaze.

"This can only come between us if you let it." She puts as much conviction into her voice as she can muster, but the touch of her hands to his skin is delicate. She caresses his cheekbones with her thumbs, and he doesn't pull away, but she can see the intention of it flash in the flicker of his eyelids and the tiny flinch away from her touch. "You call me friend, even though you welcomed me into your bed. No, don't look away. If you want to be that, we can be that, but I'm at fault here for never being clear. If you think I would care about you making this decision, that you almost said nothing, then you're wrong. This would have played out with you losing, no matter what you did."

He freezes in place, every muscle tense. She says, "I won't apologize for being loyal to you, no matter how it damages my integrity or what you'll think of me."

His face settles into rigid lines as he looks at her. The moments pass into an agony of waiting, of doubt. She doesn't back down; she refuses to do so, even at how forbidding his voice is when he speaks. "Your integrity is still better than mine."

"No." Her voice is sharp and terrible. She drops her left hand down over his own, closing over his fingers, a crushing grip, while her right falls to his shoulder, fingers curling into the fabric of his coat. "Stop saying things like that!"

He pulls on the hand under hers, and she releases him, her eyes flashing into wide-eyed surprise at the realization of how tight her hold was. He reaches up to unfasten her grasp at his shoulder, pushing her away. She rocks back, blinking at the prick of tears in her eyes. He's not looking at her. "Your loyalty is misplaced," he says, but the protest is weak.

He tries to stand. She catches his coat collar between her fingertips before he can get far, pulls him down, and presses her lips to his. She kisses him until he responds, hands coming up to hold her by her upper arms. She kisses him until his mouth gives beneath hers, and when she backs away, it's only to sit beside him and gather him to herself by threading her arms around his neck, coaxing him to lean into her.

She says, "You told me when you could have kept it secret forever, and that would have come between us more."

"Yes," he answers, and his voice is hoarse.

Title: this dying light
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Fandom: Galileo (Japan TV)
Summary: "He's losing a friend - has lost him - and the way it's tearing him apart leaves her helpless." 953 words.
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