Character(s)/Pairing(s): Slight Natsuki/Yuki
Word Count: 900
Alt. Link: FF.Net
A/N: Written for the kink meme - Yuki isolates himself, pissing off Natsuki for reasons unseen on the surface. Takes place during the third episode.
Just like those dark days.
Staring at Yuki's empty desk, the thought came to Natsuki before he could stop himself from inwardly flinching. He shook his head and frowned, letting his gaze fall back to his own desk.
After school, something would have to be done.
Two years had already passed, but Natsuki still shrank away from the memory of them.
The days in which he struggled to get out of bed, let alone look his little sister and father in the face. The days in which school was the very last place he wanted to be. He would strain to keep his composure, as the teacher droned on and on and his classmates whispered and giggled together as if nothing in the world had changed. Nothing at all. They knew why he was so pale and why his eyes were red-rimmed, but they would ask if he was okay anyway. He didn't want that though. He didn't want sympathetic eyes and probing questions. All he wanted was to be left alone and disappear from the world for a while.
Home was… different. Sometimes worse than school. Stifling, though he didn't want to admit it. From the foyer where her shoes used to be kept to the stove where she stirred dinner, smiling, to the spot on the couch where she would sit with her legs under her, everything served as a constant reminder of his mother.
Shrouded in darkness atop his bed, enveloped in the warmth of his blankets, facing the wall with his eyes shut tightly – Natsuki found that to be his safe place. No fronts to put up, no reminders to be seen, only the backs of his eyelids and the soft pillow beneath his head.
"It seems bad now, but things will get better soon. Promise." It was what everyone said, what they insisted, but it didn't change his reality.
The end of those dark days, few though they were, began with a light. A literal one that forced his eyelids open to find sunset colors dancing on his bedroom walls and his little sister frowning down at him, having thrown back the covers.
"Big brother, it's time to get up!" The slight puffiness to her eyes didn't take away from the determined expression on her face. She had a fishing pole in one hand.
"Here!" Sakura continued, shoving it at him.
Natsuki stared at her, almost incredulous, and took it. He wrapped his hand around the handle, felt the weight of it in his palm. It was so familiar and so right that he could practically hear the waves in his ears, the taste of the ocean on his tongue. How could he have forgotten? His shoulders felt lighter, his heartbeat eager in his chest. When he swung his feet over the side of his bed, Sakura stepped back to give him room to stand.
"Thanks," Natsuki said, smiling warmly at her. She returned it in an instant and watched him skid out his bedroom door, fumble to get the rest of his gear and his shoes on, and run out the door like he was being chased. But, in a way, Natsuki was the one doing the chasing now.
The light coming in from the windows and the bright-colored furniture of Yuki and Haru's home was welcoming, but it felt very obviously off. An uneasy emptiness had overtaken the air of the house as if screaming that something important was missing.
Standing outside Yuki's door, fishing poles in hand, school bag still on his shoulder, Natsuki's hand hovered over the doorknob. The thought that he might be overstepping his boundaries was shoved away in a burst of irritation, and he pushed open the door with ease.
Yuki was a flat lump under his yellow and white checkerboard-patterned comforter, his violently red hair the only thing visible.
After yanking the comforter back, Natsuki spoke to him quickly, unrelentingly.
It was only too easy to say the words that he would have said to himself back then. He didn't miss a beat, ignoring the anxious tightness in his chest in favor of his anger. The anger he could handle, but the thought that he cared, that he wanted this badly to help, badly enough to barge in here like he had, wasn't as easy to accept. Because he could see it in the dark circles under Yuki's eyes, he could see himself and that tiredness that never seemed like it would lift despite having been in bed all day.
"This is the perfect time to cast."
It was the anger that made him toss the fishing poles onto Yuki's bed because Natsuki knew what it was like to want to be that lifeless lump and he also knew, knew better than anyone, that putting your mind to something, something that could take your breath away, was the best you could do to make yourself whole again.
But he also also knew, just as he had when he'd ran out onto the beach that day and when he'd marched up Yuki's stairs to his room moments ago, that it was easier when someone was there to give you that first push.
A/N: Comments and concrit are very much appreciated ♥