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Pale, thin fingers brushed over the sheets of a small bed as Michael Arclight looked to the form sleeping next to him. The mattress of Yuma's bed certainly wasn't anywhere near as soft as his own, and the simple texture in the cotton sheets were nothing like the silken ones Michael was used to. Despite this, Yuma's bed felt so much more comfortable to him.

He still wasn't completely sure how he managed to convince Yuma to share the bed with him -- Michael slept at the Tsukumo residence fairly often at this point, but not like this. Yuma must have been particularly vulnerable about losing Astral tonight, too lonely to be able to sleep in his hammock in the attic without a companion.

So he shared the bed -- his actual bed -- with Michael instead.

Michael looked to the white ceiling, tinted pale blue in the moonlight. Was it okay to take advantage of Yuma's feelings for his own desire like this? Was he really any better than his father, who used him and his brothers' vulnerability for his own gain as well? Michael turned as he pondered this. Yuma decided to sleep in the bed of his own accord, and first and foremost Michael truly did want to comfort him. The fact that he got to experience the intimacy of this physical closeness he'd always longed for was just a bonus.

So, with relief he decided that there was nothing wrong with what he was doing. He wasn't deliberately taking advantage of anyone; he was just helping a friend. How he felt about that friend was irrelevant.

He felt safe when he stayed with Yuma. Things had gotten better at the Arclight residence, yes -- his relationship with his brothers was closer than ever now, and his father showed affection to them again. That didn't automatically fix everything, though. It didn't undo the abuse him and his brothers had endured.

While he tried his best to be a supportive father, Byron still wasn't completely stable. He likely never would be again after everything he'd been through. He wasn't able be a proper parent, especially to three children, even if they were all young adults at this point. Chris and Thomas obviously understood this as well as Michael did; the three had become support beams for each other, understanding feelings from mutual experiences. When one had a particularly bad day, he could go to the others and be met with security.

Sometimes, though, that wasn't enough.

And when it wasn't enough, Michael found himself here. He looked around the dark bedroom, uncharacteristically neat for someone like Yuma out of lack of use in favor of the attic. It practically felt like his own bedroom at this point, and Michael couldn't help but smile to himself in the comfort of that realization.

There was something special about the Tsukumo household to Michael. To him, it was everything that he was missing. When he stayed here, there was never the harsh silences that fell over the dinner table when the stress and trauma of everything that happened sank in again. There were never days-long periods where he wouldn't see his father, too broken to leave his room. There was nothing expected of him here. There was just a family who had invited him in. There was a sense of belonging.

Indeed, Michael almost felt just as much a member of the Tsukumo family as he did his own at this point. He'd sat in on enough meals to have his own spot at the table, and he felt right in chiming at the conversations that took place during meals. Haru wanted to know about his day just as much as she wanted to know about Yuma's. Akari had grown to scold him along with Yuma when the two got into trouble, and it felt natural. Expected, even.

Sometimes Kazuma would be home when Michael visited, and he would tell the stories of his adventures with as much vigor and enthusiasm to Michael as he did to Yuma. Kazuma had even started bringing back souvenirs for Michael recently, something that was more than appreciated from the young Arclight. It was as if he was a second son to him.

Most importantly, though, the Tsukumo residence had Yuma. Yuma, who despite how reckless he was, gave this gift of stability to Michael. Yuma, who never expected anything from Michael and just enjoyed being with him. Yuma, who always seemed to know just what to say or do to make Michael smile.

Yuma, who secretly needed Michael just as much as Michael needed him.

The sheets rustled quietly as Michael turned back to face him. He felt almost charmed to hear Yuma's quiet snores as the mental image of Kotori scolding him for sleeping in class -- a regular occurrence -- came to mind. Michael's guard came down, and he impulsively reached his hand to be a mere centimeters from Yuma's face.

He wanted to touch him. He wanted to feel his warmth.

Michael quickly came to his senses and snatched his hand back. It was a good thing he did, too, as the snores abruptly came to an end.

"...III?" Michael was met with sleepily lidded eyes and a confused expression. "Are you still awake? You'll never get through class tomorrow if you don't go to sleep soon, you know."

"Are you really one to talk when it comes to sleeping in class, Yuma?" Michael replied playfully, taking in the tired expression on the boy's face.

"Yeah, yeah..." Yuma shifted in the bed, and his snores started up again just as quickly as they'd stopped.

Michael decided to to heed Yuma's advice and closed his eyes, slowly drifting off to sleep.

Maybe moments like this were all he really needed.