Title: Simple Things
Pairing: Yuki and Shuichi
Theme: #18 "Say Ahhh..."
Disclaimer: Gravitation and all charaters are owned by Maki Murakami
#18 “Say Ahhh…”
He wished he didn’t get frustrated so easily. He really wished he had more patience with Shuichi’s childlike exuberance, but it grated on his nerves immediately and he didn’t know why. Maybe it was due to the fact that he never got to be that way - growing up in his family had left no time for silliness, no time for playing. He had been trained since birth to be a monk, to follow in his father’s footsteps at the temple. When that proved too difficult a task for his father he had been sent a world away – out of sight, out of mind. Other than the companionship of his younger brother Tatsuha, he had had no playmates, no friends, and then New York had taken away what was left of his childhood. It felt like he’d been an adult forever.
Yuki shook his head to dispel the memories of his youth, walking down the boardwalk towards the beach. He knew Shuichi would be there – this was where his lover went when he was troubled, and tonight he was troubled. Yuki quickened his pace as his mind conjured the hurtful words he had cut Shuichi with, remembering him physically wince as he’d let loose his razor tongue. Shuichi didn’t deserve it, not really.
“You’ve been working really hard, why don’t you take a break?” Shuichi came up behind him, slipping his arms around his neck and kissing his cheek. “I thought maybe you’d like to walk down the boardwalk and get some ice cream?”
Yuki lifted Shuichi’s arms up and pushed him back, glaring over his shoulder at Shuichi’s startled face. “Can’t you see that I’m working? I have a deadline to meet and you’re not helping!”
“I know you’re working, I’m just suggesting a break. Even you need a break every now and then. I -” The words froze in his throat as Yuki got up and turned towards him.
“Listen closely. Take the kiddie party outside and find a friend. I have no time for your petty needs. Piss off and leave me alone!”
Yuki cringed remembering the devastated look on his lover’s face. He’d taken it too far yet again over something so insignificant. He knew it almost immediately but was too stubborn to back down, instead leaving the room and slamming the door behind him. These sorts of things were happening more frequently, and he couldn’t figure out why such simple acts of kindness would set him off so violently. What the hell was wrong with him anyway? Why was he capable of being so cruel without a second thought? He just didn’t know what to do with Shuichi, the energy and the optimism – but then again he didn’t know what he’d do without him either.
The sun was slowly setting as he reached the beach and he could see Shuichi standing barefoot in the surf, hands stuffed in the pockets of his baggy shorts, staring off into the setting sun. The image made his chest tight as he sat on the stairs leading down from the boardwalk, slipped out of his loafers and rolled up the legs of his kakis. He stood and untucked his white dress shirt, unbuttoning the buttons to feel the warm sea breeze against his skin. Hooking two fingers into the heels of his shoes, he carried them over his shoulder as he made his way across the sand.
The sky was beautifully etched in gold and red, and the soft slap of the waves hitting the shore was soothing. He found himself smiling at the feel of the sand between his toes and the breeze ruffling his hair. His smile faltered when he saw Shuichi absentmindedly pick up a stone and hurl it into the ocean and he suddenly realized that he rarely saw Shuichi out of the apartment. They’d both been so busy lately that they’d gone nowhere together – living out their lives as separately as strangers.
When he reached Shuichi’s discarded shoes he tossed his own down, and sat next to them in the sand. He wrapped his arms loosely around his knees and just watched in silence. The warm sun on his face combined with the salty air soothed out the tension in his muscles. He watched his lover tossing stones into the surf, his feet dancing around the coming waves. A short burst of laughter reached his ears, and he found himself smiling again in response.
Maybe this is why the fates had given Shuichi to him. Shuichi hadn’t forgotten how to laugh, or how to enjoy the simple things in life. Shuichi may be burdened by deadlines, and hounded by rabid fans, but he still managed to take time to remember what it’s like to be free. All Shuichi did was try to help him remember too, and instead of being thankful, he lashed out with hurtful words … and Shuichi always stayed by his side. This was unconditional love, right? There was no doubt in his mind that he loved Shuichi - so why was he always such an asshole to him? Yuki’s mind worked over these questions, wondering if he wanted to be the man that his life had created. Could such a thing be undone?
The sun sank lower into the horizon, and the air started to cool. When Shuichi turned and noticed him sitting there, Yuki’s heart stopped at the forlorn expression on his lover’s face, knowing he was the cause. As Shuichi headed over, Yuki wondered if this was the time that he had pushed Shuichi too far, if he had decided enough was enough - but a brilliant smile spread on Shuichi’s face as he came and settled himself in the sand next to Yuki.
“Good, you made the sunset.” Shuichi reached over and slid his hand into Yuki’s before turning his focus back on the sea. “It’s important to enjoy a sunset every now and then, it reminds you just how beautiful the world is, y’no?”
Yuki gave his hand a squeeze, staring straight ahead. “I’m sorry about earlier.”
Snapping his head around, Shuichi looked at Yuki’s profile, stunned. “Are you feeling okay?” Pressing a hand against Yuki’s forehead he looked at him closely. “Open your mouth and say ‘ahhh’.”
“Knock it off.” Yuki faced him and tried to scowl, but failed. “I shouldn’t have freaked out on you over ice cream. I –” He looked down at his toes buried in the sand. “Sometimes I forget what’s important, and I’m glad I have you to remind me.”
“Oh my god! You are sick!” Shuichi moved to stand but Yuki pulled him back down. Flipping him onto his back, Yuki pinned him.
“I said I was sorry.” Yuki hovered over him, his knees sinking into the soft sand. “Remember it, because I won’t be saying it again.” He leaned in and pressed his lips against Shuichi’s, the sun just dipping below the water highlighting his hair with red.
“You’re beautiful.” Shuichi said when he pulled away, touching Yuki’s face – the stubble tickling his fingertips.
Yuki leaned in close, his breath warm against Shuichi’s ear. “So are you.”
He sat up, pulling Shuichi with him – both of them disheveled in the sand. Shuichi ran his hand over the course texture, digging into it with his fingertips. “You look relaxed. It’s nice.”
Yuki gave a slight nod in agreement – he felt pretty good. “C’mon, you promised me ice cream.” Yuki stood and offered Shuichi a hand up, and they both reached for their shoes.
“Can we walk down the beach?” Shuichi asked, motioning towards the water. He didn’t receive an answer, just Yuki pulling him in that direction.
They walked along the wet sand next to the cresting waves, their feet leaving two sets of prints in their wake to be erased by the rising tide. Walking like this, with their hands linked and a comfortable silence between them was worth the apology. Yuki breathed deeply, smelling the salt air and watching their long shadows follow, feeling content. Maybe even someone like him could change.