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In The Middle of the Night

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Slipping inside the safety of the bunker, shutting the cold night air behind him, Nezumi was unsurprised―and, if he was being honest, a bit discouraged―to find Shion still unconscious. He was curled up in the bed beneath every blanket Nezumi owned, wrapped from chin to toe.

          Nezumi shrugged out of his leather jacket. The material felt stiff and cool, since he’d been outside for the past several hours.

          Stepping out of his boots and leaving them by the door, he crossed the room and took his place on the edge of the mattress.

          The color had bleached from both Shion’s hair and his face. A pale, washed-out wraith of the boy he’d once been. Silence didn’t suit Shion at all. Dark circles marred his closed eyelids, the only color on Shion’s body aside from the crimson marking wrapped around his body.

          Without thinking, Nezumi reached out and brushed his fingers over Shion’s cheek. It had been a long day, filled with aggravation and the constant desire to storm off the stage and go home.

          Being by Shion’s side now, however, made him feel better. Nezumi would never say it aloud, but he’d been worried. Shion had almost died. Nezumi didn’t think Shion was anywhere close to death now, but he didn’t want to take any chances.

          Nezumi stretched out on the bed beside him. Once he’d warmed up a bit, he would get under the covers too and press in close to Shion, wrap his arms around him and make sure he stayed warm through the night. Until then, however, Nezumi was content with laying at his side.

          Shion exhaled in his sleep, angling his face towards the crook of Nezumi’s neck. He murmured something, and Nezumi was pretty sure it was his name.

          Nezumi brushed his thumb along the red scar beneath Shion’s eye. “I’m right here.”

          The sound of Nezumi’s voice caused Shion to shift closer to him. His eyelids flickered. Nezumi perked up, angling toward him and peering down. Shion’s eyes remained stubbornly closed, however, and Nezumi’s shoulders dropped.

          He rested his head on the pillow beside Shion. “You’re going to be fine,” Nezumi murmured. It was easier to speak when Shion wasn’t conscious.

          Shion’s pale eyelashes dusted his cheeks. Nezumi stroked his thumb idly along the crimson line. Shion’s skin was cool to the touch, the mark slightly raised. It’d terrified Nezumi when the mark crawled along Shion’s skin. Those screams cut him to pieces every single time he remembered them.

          Nezumi found himself unconsciously angling his body toward Shion’s. Protecting him was almost an instinct. This person―this strange, foolish, utterly mystifying person―had somehow hooked his claws into Nezumi and latched on so tightly he didn’t think he could ever get free.

          “You’ll be fine,” Nezumi murmured again, more to reassure himself than Shion. Shion was too quiet. The bunker was too quiet. How odd, Nezumi thought, closing his eyes and tipping his head forward until he bumped his forehead against Shion’s. When did the quiet begin to bother me?

          Shion would wake up. Nezumi knew it. The same way he knew the sun would rise in the morning, the same way he knew the moon would wax and wane as the month progressed. Shion would wake up. He would smile and laugh, and Nezumi would roll his eyes and tell him to shut up, but there would be sound. There would be laughter and conversation. There would be someone who walked beside him and smiled at him like he mattered. There would be Shion.

          And Nezumi wanted that more than anything.