Disclaimer: I do not own even a tiny, dazzling little part of Karneval.
Genre: Fluff with an insignificant sprinkle of angst.
Spoilers/warnings: No major plot spoilers but references to Gareki's past, and prior interactions with Yogi. BL. Manga-based.
Perpetual thanks to: EudaimonArisornae, for beta-services and support.
He was being consumed by nightmares again.
In the hazy country of dreams he was back where it all started, running aimlessly down the path of destruction. He struggled to breathe among the ruins of that heartless place, roaming the dark streets of a nameless town. There, where he would find a lifeless woman under the smattering rain, her broken body painted in red.
Gareki sat bolt upright in the bed, heart drumming furiously against his ribs. His breath came out raggedly as his mind directed him back to reality. Right, I'm on the Circus ship now. Moving his hand to his chest he felt the vibrations of his heartbeats clearly, still uneasily off beat.
He realised there was no chance in hell he would be able to go back to sleep at this point.
Trying to be as silent as possible, he climbed out of bed, careful not to wake up Nai in the bunk below. Strangely enough, since the small boy was usually freakishly sensitive to sounds, and even intense thoughts, he seemed to be fast asleep still. Only the little face was visible inside the hood of his Nyanperona-pajama, and he was snoozing softly, snuggling one of the Second Ship's mechanical sheep close to his chest.
The sheep, however, appeared to be fully awake. The swirly round eyes were wide-open and indecipherable as ever, though Gareki had a feeling the little animal was pissed off. It emitted a peculiar kind of energy as it stared straight at him, as though it wanted to say something but did not, in fear of waking the niji-boy holding him. (It would doubtlessly have been something along the lines of "being awake during the wee hours of the night is not authorized, baaa~")
Gareki attempted a weak smile to conceal his probably guilty-looking appearance, but the sheep just continued to quietly glare at him from within the tight embrace. Snatching his goggles, the dark-haired boy settled with an apologetic wave of the hand, before he sneaked out of the door.
The corridor outside their room was a little draughty, and he pushed the goggles onto his head wishing briefly he had brought his pullover too. Going back to meet sheep-san's accusing stare now was a no, though. As far as he knew that little thing could already be in the process of transmitting information about his departure to god-knows-who.
This thought spurred him to start walking down the corridor, cautiously glancing about him. He was half-expecting a small army of sheep appearing at any moment, and thought he had better not venture anywhere which might be considered off-limits. (Still, he naturally ached to do so.) Circus Second Ship did not seem to be much different than usual at night, however. Just more quiet. That was undoubtedly, in grand parts, the result of a certain someone being asleep at this very moment...
Although Gareki was sure he had been walking in quite the planless manner, he found himself standing motionless outside the room of this cheerfully noisy someone.
The sign on the door was in the shape of Nyanperona's head. The colourful text written on it read "Yogi's room. Welcome~", followed by a generous amount of scribbled hearts and flowers. Gareki stared, forehead darkening. What is he, a grade school kid?! Driven by the sudden impulse to shake some sense into him, Gareki pushed the door open and entered Yogi's room, for the first time.
A faint smell of strawberries drifted towards him. It was not surprising really, since it clung to that airhead Yogi wherever he went; it just seemed to be more concentrated here. It took Gareki a moment to adjust his sight to the dim darkness in the room, but even before that he could discern the abundance of Nyanperona-merchandise and various Circus-related toys practically overflowing every shelf and empty space. And in the midst of it, in a large, soft-looking bed, the owner of these ridiculous items lay sleeping peacefully.
Gareki walked closer, irritated though unwillingly curious of what kind of face that happy-go-lucky would make while sleeping. He stopped dead in his tracks only two steps from the bed.
It was somehow really not what he had expected.
Yogi was sprawled over the bed on his stomach, breathing evenly into the pillow. Blond, tousled locks framed his sleeping face. The facial lines were softly relaxed; in fact he was sort of stupidly smiling as if he dreamt about something rather delightful.
The living image of tranquility huh, Gareki reflected grudgingly, thinking of his own insomnia. Hopefully he was not looking quite so idiotic while sleeping.
Yogi really was annoyingly pretty though, he reluctantly admitted to himself, as his eyes strayed to the outlines of the Second Ship's fighter's body. The sheets were messily twirled around his legs and chest, leaving most of his skin exposed to the dark-haired boy's wandering gaze. Gareki felt strange, all of the sudden.
He was not in the mood to yank the blond man awake anymore.
Promptly deciding to leave and forget about it all, whatever it was, Gareki edged backwards towards the door. Unluckily, he did not see the giant pile of Yukkin-imitations behind him. He fell into the soft mountain of stuffed snowmen with a loud thud, cursing under his breath.
"Yukkin..? Hnnn..? You alright..?" Yogi's sleepy voice drifted towards him, and Gareki felt panic rise within his chest. He hurriedly got to his feet, soft little snowmen flying in all directions.
"It's me – Gareki... I'm uh... I got lost... and uhm, got the wrong room..." he began stuttering, aware of how stupid the lies sounded even in the moment of creation. Then again, he was not trying to deceive the most refined of persons.
"Gareki-kun?" the blond's voice carried a mixture of confusion and happy surprise. He drowsily sat up in the bed. As he did so, the sheets fell away, exposing a smooth-looking chest. Gareki's heart made a painful roll at the sight, startling him. What? He found it difficult tearing his gaze away from the bare skin, for some unfathomable reason. It annoyed him immensely.
"Why aren't you wearing your Nyanperona-pajama?!" he demanded angrily, pointing a finger at the dumbstruck man on the bed.
"Uhm... It's too hot to wear a pajama?" Yogi replied in a questioning tone, while rubbing his eyes.
"That's irrelevant!" Gareki hissed, unsure of why the hell he was so worked up over Yogi's freaking pajama, but unable to stop his agitation from seeping out at this point.
The golden-haired man blinked. His voice was hopeful.
"Could it be that... you want one, too?"
"As if I'd want to sleep in that freaky-looking costume!" Gareki snapped, torn between irritation and the urge to facepalm. "I already said no!"
The thought alone, of wearing one of those hideously sugar cute kitty outfits, made him feel a little queasy. (Probably because he was traumatized by that one time he had been forced to wear the real thing...)
"So how come Gareki-kun is here, then?" Yogi asked, tilting his head to the side in a display of genuine bewilderment.
"I told you already... I got lost," Gareki repeated stubbornly, turning against the door.
"...but why are you awake in the middle of the night? Is there something wrong?"
Gareki came to a halt, still facing the door.
Seriously, that guy wore all of his emotions like a piece of clothing. The unfeigned worry in Yogi's voice set off the usual kind of conflicted feelings in him. Granted, it irritated him, but it made him a little happy, too. It was strange, and normally Gareki just acted at the first feeling, ignoring the latter completely.
Tonight was a little different, though.
For some reason, he was feeling out of it. He could not even remember why he had come here in the first place, yet he knew he did not want to go back to his bed and helplessly await the return of those dreams.
Gareki hesitantly turned towards the man on the bed.
"I can't sleep."
Yogi regarded him impassively for a moment, as if shocked he had actually spoken. In the next, those large, violet eyes were filling up with tears, and Gareki immediately regretted saying something. This unbearably emotional side of Yogi was impossible for him to deal with, after all. He was seized by the urge to say "nevermind" and leave as quick as possible, but Yogi spoke before he could act on this impulse.
"What's troubling Gareki-kun?" he asked breathlessly. "You can speak to me about anything! I'm all ears!" He scampered into a kneeling position, and eagerly leant forward on his hands, eyes shining expectantly. Gareki could practically see the imaginary tail wagging vigorously against the mattress.
"It's alright... I don't want to talk about it," he sighed, pretending not to notice how non-existent dog ears drooped sadly.
"I thought I might be able to help..." Yogi's underlip trembled slightly as he miserably glanced at Gareki from under his bangs, hurt flickering in his vivid eyes.
Opening his mouth to protest, or maybe to reassure the other that everything was really alright, Gareki forgot what he was about to say, or why. Objective thoughts disappeared into the depths of violet, and the words tumbling out of him had no connection to his original intentions.
"I keep dreaming about the day Tsubaki died."
His voice sounded foreign and oddly devoid of emotion, even to his own ears. Still, the words spoken were so fragile Gareki wondered how come they did not immediately crack and fall to the floor in shattered pieces. Saying it out loud scared him shitless, yet left him with a wondrous surge of relief dulling his aching heartbeats.
Yogi mumbled his name in a quiet voice, without any questioning undertone. His silence was a simple sign of attention, strangely encouraging. Gareki took a deep breath. Somehow he was unable to control the blurry mess of not-in-the-least-beautiful memories which were breaking free from their chains, freely pouring out from forgotten hideouts deep within his chest. It was as though someone had forced open the door to the deepest, ugliest and most dusty chamber of his heart, and once opened it would not close.
Words which were atrocious and inevitably sad faltered for a moment, then began falling from his lips in an endless stream of confessions, hiding nothing of the fear he carried around. He talked until his mouth went dry, he had run out of words and that pathetic chamber echoed emptily.
Gareki did not realise he had sunk down on the edge of the bed while talking. Unfamiliar, melancholic relief flooded his senses, and he was only distantly aware of the strong arms pulling him into a hug. Yogi was always hugging him for one reason or another, but this was probably the first time he completely lacked the strength and will to resist the close physical contact. The warmth flowing from the other's skin felt good, and irresistibly comforting.
There was a hot wetness against his neck.
"Yogi? Why are you crying?!" he asked in alarm, incredulously staring at the golden-haired man's tear-streaked face.
"I'm just sad because Gareki-kun has been hurting so much! I'm sad because people are so cruel! I'm sad because I didn't know you back then... and then I'm happy because you finally talked to me," Yogi sobbed, burying his face once more in his neck. "I just wish I could help..."
"You've already helped, you idiot..." Gareki mumbled awkwardly, so low that Yogi was only able to catch the last part, luckily.
"Why're you calling me an idiot all of a sudden, you're so mean!" he whined, pulling away from the younger boy, looking thoroughly wounded.
Gareki gave an uncommitted shrug as he got to his feet, not really wanting to look at Yogi's face. He was feeling the first tingles of embarrassment rushing mercilessly along his spine, when he thought of what exactly he had been talking about. Consecutively, well-known flight instinct kicked in with full force, and he turned towards the door with burning cheeks.
A warm hand reached out and grabbed his. Startled, Gareki turned towards the fair-haired man. Kneeling amidst the disorderly sheets, Yogi looked up at him with an unexpected tint of seriousness in his bright eyes.
"You wanna stay?"
The question in itself was a giant stick in the wheel of time. It hung motionlessly between them as the seconds crept by, silence stretching awkwardly in the small space between their faces.
Whatever it meant, it demanded a reply, but Gareki was busy panicking mentally. The powerful pounding of his heart shut off all other sounds, creating a kind of vacuum inside his head as he tried to understand how the hell he was supposed to interpret Yogi's suggestion.
Then, he was becoming acutely aware of the blond's undressed state.
He was only in a pair of rather snug-fitting dark gray briefs (the Nyanperona-logo modestly present close to the waistband). Wherever one looked, there seemed to be too much naked skin going on, and Gareki could not prevent a guilty blush from spreading across his cheeks.
Yogi was still looking straight at him, questioningly.
"What?" Gareki muttered, averting his gaze. The golden-haired man squeezed his hand lightly.
"I mean, if you want to? It might feel better."
This open-hearted way of speaking and acting was so typical of Yogi. It was admirable, presumably. Gareki would have recognized this if he did not find it so fucking embarrassing. All of it. In order to get out of the increasingly hard-to-deal-with situation, he chose the escape route.
It could have worked out alright.
Could, if Yogi would not insist on acting in unexpected ways. Much to Gareki's chagrin, the grip around his wrist did not loosen when he turned towards the door; quite on the contrary it tightened. He whirled around in annoyance laced with desperation, intent on shoving the golden-haired man away, moving a little bit too fast. Caught up in swirling purple softness, he lost his balance. (Let's not dwell on why this sudden instability occured, mind.)
He clumsily toppled over, causing both of them to tumble down heavily on the bed in an ungainly heap of warm limbs, fluffy pillows and sweet-scenting sheets.
"Nggh... why so rough, Gareki-kun..." came Yogi's pitiful voice from below.
Gareki blankly stared down at him, a heavy sense of surrealism clouding his ability to think. His heart was wreaking havoc inside his ribcage for reasons he refused to acknowledge, and he found he could not move. Yogi's sudden laughter produced puffs of hot air against his neck, causing relentless shivers to wander up his momentarily-petrified spine.
"What? Do you intend to stay here all night after all?" Yogi's voice had gone from whiny to amused, and Gareki thankfully felt familiar irritation resurfacing.
"You wish!" he growled, as his ability to move returned and he hastily rolled off the other.
Something prevented him from move any further however. As though Yogi's heat was magnetic, he was helplessly drawn back towards it, much like a flower reaching for the sun. Whoa, what am I thinking, how lame am I? Gareki agonized, but remained seated at the edge of the bed all the same, legs drawn up to his chest. He could feel Yogi's gaze at his back. It felt warm.
"So, if you didn't come here to play... Do you wanna sleep?"
Gareki glanced at Yogi over his shoulder. The Second Ship's fighter was smiling brightly at him, his whole being radiating unhidden affection. It was amazing how this person could show such an overwhelming range of emotions within the same little span of time. Gareki turned away, aware of his heartbeats forceful speed once again. He did not know how to respond to such a honest display of kindness.
"Yeah..." he mumbled finally. "I wanna sleep."
There was a short moment of silence before Yogi spoke again, his voice uncharacteristically low.
"Well, come here, then."
Gareki turned around to look at him, unconsciously holding his breath.
Yogi was casually resting on his elbow, chin in his cupped hand, and the other hand suggestively holding up one corner of the cover. His gaze was downright seductive.
Gareki could feel his face go impossibly hot.
"Don't pull that charming-prince shit at times like these," he muttered angrily as he turned away from Yogi's sparkling self; but he was still unlacing his boots.
He told himself it was because he needed sleep. It was exhausting being dead tired and not able to find peace, after all. This person's presence brought him a strange sense of tranquility, and the more time he spent basking in his warmth – the further away the memory of those dreams drifted.
Yogi smiled so happily Gareki felt obligated to press a pillow over his face though, in order to escape that idiot's gaze as he quickly dove under the cover. Not that it seemed to discourage the blond in the slightest. He sighed in an annoyingly elated manner as he snaked his arms around Gareki's waist from behind.
"I'm so happy Gareki-kun came to my room."
The words were just a soft, indistinct utterance against the younger boy's neck, but he shivered involuntarily as they resounded within his body, and the urge to protest powerlessly fell away. He could feel the warmth of Yogi's bare chest against his back, pressing close.
Gareki's ears went hot. It was somehow difficult to see how this was an innocent embrace, but knowing Yogi – it probably was. The Second Ship fighter had never been one to hold back on showing physical affection. What pissed Gareki off was how fucking oblivious he could be.
There was no point in denying it now. Although he felt conspicuously at ease, his body reacted to the closeness of the older man in the most embarrassing way. What's wrong with me? He desperately struggled to subdue his breathing, which was becoming increasingly shallow, and forcefully will his disobedient heart to decelerate.
In all honesty, there was a tiny, yet existent, chance that he would have succeeded - if it was not for Yogi's hands on him. One was lightly gripping his upper arm, the other snugly tucked in under the fabric of his shirt, its presence burning against the sensitive skin on his stomach. His breath gusted warmly over his neck, undeniably sending a rush of excitement down his crotch.
What the hell what hell what the hell what the hell what the hell...
His brain's exasperated mantra faded away at the feeling of Yogi's lips against his neck. The touch was light but to Gareki it felt like that little patch of skin became the centre of the universe, growing magically hot and tingly from the sensation. It was so goddamn far from what a goodnight kiss was supposed to feel like.
"Gareki-kun smells good," the blond mumbled contently, nuzzling his hair. Presumably unconsciously, he held him tighter as he did so, the hand on his stomach straying dangerously close to the waistband of Gareki's pants. "Goodnight..."
That little word tipped the scales.
Gareki had since long forgotten a thing such a as sleep existed. Unsure of what kind of insane agitation pushed him along, he twisted around and reached for Yogi's slightly perplexed face. I can't think anymore. As he pressed his lips firmly against his, the blond's body went stiff with surprise for the shortest of moments. Next thing he knew, Yogi kissed him back with cheerful compliance.
It was odd, how something so out of place could feel so natural.
Gareki lost himself in the kiss, senses drowning in golden flecks and strawberries and warm hands. He could almost feel that little empty, sad chamber of his heart being filled with such pretty things. Every tiny part of Yogi's skin emitted this addictive heat, and as he impatiently ran his fingers down his smooth chest his fingertips prickled pleasantly as though the warmth somehow was transmitted into his own body. Gareki shivered in delight, sliding one of his hands up a slender neck and buried his fingers among messy golden locks. Not in the least surprised at how silky the hair was to the touch, he rejoiced at the feel of it, tugging it gently as the kiss grew more demanding.
Yogi's lips tasted vaguely sugary, which of course fit his character, but a bit surprisingly it appealed to Gareki in a close-to-twisted way. He recognized insatiable need rising in his chest, and hot blood rushing irrepressibly through his veins. This immense heat consumed him as it ruthlessly eliminated agony and reasoning alike - but he found he could not be bothered.
He much rather melted into Yogi's irresistible touch.
The blond's fingers were in his hair, carefully detangling the goggles from the tousled locks and then tossing them aside rather impatiently. And so, the hand was back under his shirt, its intentions much less enigmatic this time around, as it roamed his stomach and chest in quite the shameless manner. Fingers ghosted teasingly over his nipples, barely touching at first, then proceeded in rubbing them tenderly. Gareki could not repress a low moan at the utterly indecent (albeit downright marvellous) sensation coursing through his body at the playful touch. He broke the kiss in order to catch his breath, panting as he shoved the golden-haired man away. Concern flashed in the deep purple pools that were Yogi's eyes.
"What's wrong Gareki-kun? It's too intense?"
Gareki felt a smile tug at the corner of his mouth. No, I'm just feeling too good. There was no way in hell he would tell Yogi that though. Damn, that soft-hearted idiot would probably start to weep out of happiness again. Simply shaking his head in response, he leaned in to recapture the delicious-tasting lips.
In the distance he could hear a sheep bleating faintly.
"Unauthorized activity in the chamber of Second Ship's Lieutenant Yogi, baaa~"
. . .