Thanks for all the sweet messages and reviews, you guys are the best! I wouldn't be able to bring myself to write this if it wasn't for you. I hope you guys enjoy this chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it! On a side note, you don't really need to read chapter one to understand this one.
A sequence of soft noises alerted Saruhiko of Yata's presence in the room – he could never bring himself to be completely silent, no matter how hard he tried. Saruhiko, however, didn't look at him, eyes focused on the bright screen in front of him. His fingers rested on the laptop's keyboard as he furrowed his brows at the screen, and Yata could almost smell his concentration.
Carefully, he walked towards the taller boy, holding a mug of hot cocoa in each hand. Yata kneeled down and handed one mug to Saruhiko, who mumbled a muffled 'thanks' without letting his eyes drift away from the screen. Trying his best not to spill his drink all over the bed, the smaller boy sat close to his partner, using Saruhiko's back as a support to his own back. He waited for a second, hesitantly expecting Saruhiko to complain about his sudden presence, but he didn't. Satisfied with himself, Yata relaxed and took a sip of his chocolate. He hoped Saruhiko would like it – surprisingly, they had a very similar taste when it came down to chocolate, so if Yata liked it, there was a big chance Saruhiko would like it too.
He wanted to ask if it tasted good, but Saruhiko was working, and even though he said several times he didn't mind being bothered by his Misaki in the middle of work, Yata wouldn't just go along with that shit; he didn't like SCEPTER 4, but he respected Saruhiko's work. Instead of asking, he simply growled to himself in annoyance.
"Something's the matter?" Saruhiko asked without looking away from his laptop.
"Huh? No." Yata bit his lip as a reminder to keep his mouth shut.
The only problem was that Yata wasn't exactly the kind of person who could just sit down and stay quiet. Before he noticed, he managed to drink all of his hot cocoa in less than two minutes and now was messing with the closest pillow. He leaned down to grab another pillow and his back hurt as soon as he stretched his arm, making him gasp softly.
"What are you doing?" Saruhiko asked, raising an eyebrow at the screen.
"Uh, nothing. My back hurts a little, that's all."
"Then go to sleep."
"I don't want to. And stop ordering me around!"
"Haaah? Of course you want to sleep. Old people love taking naps. Aren't you the older one, as you keep reminding me, Misaki~?"
A pillow was violently thrown against Saruhiko's head.
"Shut up and do your fucking job, monkey! I am just a few months older than you!"
"And these few months blessed you with superior knowledge of life, I suppose?"
"Of course they did! Now go back to your boring office work!"
Yata couldn't see, but Saruhiko smiled to himself before focusing on his work again. Soon after their conversation died, Yata found himself once again messing with the closest pillow, even though his mind was still a bit curious about what just happened – he never felt his back hurting before. And he wasn't that old. Also, it's not like he spent his entire day sitting uncomfortably in front of a computer like someone-
"I thought you ordered me to shut up and do my job?"
"Well, yes." Yata was glad that Saruhiko couldn't see the faint tone of pink in his cheeks. "But, um, looking at you like that… are you okay?"
"What do you mean?"
"Don't you feel any pain? Aren't your eyes tired? You've been working on this computer of yours since early afternoon."
"Don't pour your mama senses on me now, Misaki."
"I'm not- augh, stop being stubborn! I just want to make sure you don't faint on me!"
"…I won't. Now let me focus on this."
Yata pouted in annoyance, but he didn't say a word. Instead, he just watched silently as Saruhiko typed in a monotone rhythm, eyes focusing on the faint light illuminating the other's boy pale skin. Saruhiko was always pretty skinny, but in Yata's eyes, he became even skinnier in the last weeks. Yata was sure it wasn't his fault – he always cooked healthy meals, sometimes he even managed to persuade Saruhiko into eating a vegetable or two, and he'd never let the other boy skip meals. He was sure the one to blame was SCEPTER 4, as usual – weren't they giving him loads of stupid tasks lately?
Without any hesitation, Yata turned around again and rested his fingers on Saruhiko's back; he gasped when he felt the soft shape of the taller boy's ribcage.
"…What are you doing?" Saruhiko's voice sounded curious and surprised at the same time.
"Don't mind me! Just focus on your work!"
"I can't focus on anything when Misaki's touching me."
"Hah?! I-I'm not going to do anything, I'm just- well- just ignore me for now!"
Yata took advantage of the silence to keep analyzing Saruhiko's lack of weight; he was doing his best not to disturb the other boy, and, after being told to shut up several times, Saruhiko gave up on trying to understand what was happening.
The silence between them lasted for six minutes, before Yata touched Saruhiko's shoulders with both hands:
"Uwah, it's so stiff!"
Saruhiko turned his head, trying to face him with an inquisitive eyebrow.
"Um, sorry. Didn't mean to disturb your work." Yata mumbled in a resigned tone. "But, you know, your shoulders could use some rest."
"I said it already, I don't feel any pain."
"So what? They're hard as a rock!"
"Sounds quite nice when you say it, Misaki."
"W-Wha-! Stop saying weird things, will you?!"
"You're the one who started it." He grinned at the other boy's flushed cheeks. "So, you want to give me a shoulder massage or what?"
"Who said anything about a massage?!"
Saruhiko turned his face back to his laptop, his smile never fading away. When he heard Yata jumping out of the bed and leaving the room in his usual annoyed pace, however, he pouted.
His shoulders felt warm.
Yata came back a few minutes later, storming his way through the room. Saruhiko had no time to open his mouth and ask what happened; he unconsciously forced himself to shut up at Yata's sudden glare.
"Alright, I'm doing this just for a little while!"
He sat behind Saruhiko once again.
"Aren't you supposed to finish this report tonight?! Then do it!"
Saruhiko wanted to ask what the hell was going on, but the soft sensation of Yata's hands pressing his shoulders in a slow but steady pace kept him silent. A few moments later, he finally realized what was going on.
"…This is the worst shoulder massage ever."
"H-Huh?! You're the one who asked for it! Stop being an asshole, would you?!"
"I didn't ask for it."
"You did!" Yata pressed his hands against Saruhiko's skin with a little more force than necessary, and the taller young man growled. "B-Besides, your shoulders are all fucked up. Y-you're lucky I have free time to look after you!"
" Yeah, right, Misaki. You have more free time than a kid in preschool."
"You damn-! Stop making me want to strangle you!" Yata smacked an open hand against Saruhiko's neck. "I'm the one taking care of this damn house! Just because I don't have any more Homra… assignments…"
Yata's voice slowly faded away in a painful note. As much as Saruhiko hated it, he knew that Homra was still a sensitive spot in his heart; he missed the bar, he missed his pride, he missed Suoh Mikoto. Saruhiko always believed that he'd never understand that side of Misaki, he'd never accept it; but love was surprising, and when they started living together, he found himself wanting to take Yata's pain away from him, to free him from that horrible burden. Sadness tasted bitter in Yata's mouth, and he wish he could simply take that bitterness to himself; he was used to that taste, he could handle it so much better than his poor Misaki.
There was a silent agreement between them that stated that, whenever Yata behaved like his old depressed self used to behave right after Mikoto's death, Saruhiko would annoy him until he got back to normal; it usually ended up with Saruhiko kissing him until Yata complained he couldn't feel his own lips anymore.
"Come a little closer."
As usual, Yata had no clue about Saruhiko's real intentions, and when he rested his chin on Saruhiko's shoulder, the taller boy quickly turned his face to press his lips softly against Yata's. The shorter boy blushed and blinked repeatedly – Saruhiko loved how he'd always get flustered whenever they kissed, no matter how many times they had done it before.
"W-what are you-"
"What? I'm just reminding you about my shoulder massage. You stopped doing it."
Yata didn't answer, but his hands started to move on Saruhiko's shoulders once again. This time, his hands were moving slower and a lot more softly; it was his own way to say 'thanks' for helping him with his emotional breakdowns.
They didn't talk after that; Saruhiko managed to focus once again on his laptop, and Yata was focused on his own activity. He didn't know if his massage felt good, but the act made him feel a lot more comfortable. The sensation of Saruhiko's shoulders becoming more relaxed under his fingers calmed him, and sometimes he'd find himself caressing the other boy's shoulders instead of massaging it. He expected Saruhiko to joke about it, but he didn't say a word and just kept typing in a rather slow pace.
At some point, Yata noticed the scent of Saruhiko's hair becoming more and more prominent, and he was about to ask if Saruhiko had used his shampoo again when the other boy's head collided softly against his chest.
He stopped himself when he saw his partner's expression; his eyes were closed, the glasses almost slipping out of his face as he breathed in and out slowly. Yata's shadow made the dark circles under his eyes look a lot less dark than they actually were, and the shorter boy felt like slapping the damn guy in the face – he obviously wasn't getting enough sleep, and Yata would never know this if Saruhiko hadn't collapsed on top of him.
Yata glared at the notebook before kicking it to the bedside. Awkwardly, he wrapped his arms around Saruhiko to make him lie down properly on the bed, and checked his temperature just to make sure that he collapsed because his shoulder massage was too good for his tired body and not because he was sick. He sighed and rolled to his side of the bed, not bothering with changing into pajamas. Saruhiko's glasses were also placed on the bedside. At some point, the cold sensation on his skin made him realize he totally forgot to bring clean blankets, and Yata growled in frustration, pressing his body against Saruhiko's to make himself feel a little warmer. Not only it was warmer like that, it also smelled quite nice.
Before falling completely asleep, he felt a warm hand resting on his hair and Saruhiko's familiar lazy voice mumbling "Misaki" as he wrapped an arm around the smaller boy.
Yata didn't notice his own smile.