Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. They are the property of their respective owners.
by samuraiheart

Fireflies

Shinobu pushed his food around on his plate and glanced up at Hasakawa, Shun and Mitsuru occasionally. He had lost interest in their conversation long ago, but he was trying not to let it show. He was so tired. He felt his eyelids beginning to fall and he shook his head to clear his thoughts. He had to focus. He could not be sick. He didn't get sick. That wouldn't fit into his plans. He would not be sick. He tried to ignore the dull ache behind his eyes that was getting worse and worse and the scratchiness of his throat.

"So, what do you say Shinobu?"

Shinobu looked up at Shun curiously. "Hmm? About what?" Shinobu said.

Shun let out a deep breath and nudged Mitsuru. "See, I told you he wasn't listening." Mitsuru tilted his head slightly and shot Shinobu a concerned glance before Shun continued. "About the fireflies. Do you want to go out to see them tomorrow night? There's a great place not too far from here."

Shinobu blinked and shook his head. He had to concentrate, but it was becoming increasingly difficult. "Sure," he said quietly and nodded as he stood to leave the cafeteria. The room spun around him as he got to his feet, but he quickly regained his sense of balance and headed back to the room. "Is he okay?" Hasakawa asked hesitantly.

"I don't know. I think I'll go check." Mitsuru said as he gathered his things and left the cafeteria.

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Mitsuru walked into his room and shut the door quietly behind him. Shinobu was sitting on the edge of the bottom bunk leaning weakly on the bedpost. He smiled a little when he saw Mitsuru. Mitsuru sat down beside him and put his arm around his friend.

"Are you alright, Shinobu?" he asked with concern.

Shinobu nodded. Mitsuru leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. His cool lips were a sharp contrast to Shinobu's warm skin.

"Shinobu, I think you have a fever." Mitsuru brushed away Shinobu's blue-gray bangs and looked him in the eyes.

Shinobu looked down and whispered, "I'm fine."

Mitsuru shook his head and smiled. "You're so stubborn Shinobu."

Shinobu took Mitsuru's hands in his own. They were so warm compared to his. "Isn't that why you love me?" he said. Shinobu leaned his head on Mitsuru's shoulder and closed his eyes.

Mitsuru gently pulled away from him after a few minutes. Shinobu's breathing had become even and it was clear that he was asleep. Mitsuru placed his friend's head on the pillow and pulled the covers up closer to him.

"Goodnight," he whispered.

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The next morning, Mitsuru woke up to the sound of Shinobu coughing at his desk. He peered down at his roommate from the top bunk.

"Shinobu, what are you doing out of bed. You're sick."

Shinobu looked up guiltily and said in a scratchy voice, "I have to get this work done."

"You are not going to class today." Mitsuru said firmly as he sat up in bed.

"I have to," Shinobu responded before he was overcome by coughing.

Mitsuru climbed down and pulled Shinobu over to the bed. Shinobu hung his head as he tried to catch his breath. Shinobu started to say something, but he was interrupted by more coughing.

Mitsuru put a hand on his shoulder and said, "Just a minute. I'll be right back."

Shinobu stared after him and was about to go back to his homework when Mitsuru returned with a glass of water. Shinobu took it gratefully and gulped it down quickly. The cold liquid felt so good to his parched throat.

"Don't worry, Mitsuru. I'll be okay," he said reassuringly and returned to his desk to finish the last few math problems.

Mitsuru sighed. He knew there was nothing he could do to stop him.

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Mitsuru worried about Shinobu all day long. They didn't have any classes together and Mitsuru didn't have time to check on his friend until lunch. In the cafeteria, they sat together, but Shinobu didn't say much. He didn't eat much either. All in all, he looked kind of lost.

Mitsuru looked at him with concern. "Shinobu, you know we don't have to go see the fireflies tonight." Shinobu smiled slightly and looked over at his friend. He knew how much Mitsuru wanted to go. "Don't worry. I'll go."

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After classes, Mitsuru came back to his room. He couldn't help but smile when he saw Shinobu. Sometimes his roommate tried so hard, but even he couldn't win in this situation. He had to accept that he was sick and he would only get better if he relaxed and took it easy. Shinobu was slumped over at his desk. His head was resting on an open book. He must have fallen asleep while studying. Mitsuru shook him gently and waited for a response. Shinobu opened his eyes slowly and looked up at Mitsuru.

"Sorry," he said weakly as Mitsuru helped him over to the bottom bunk. Shinobu sneezed and kept coughing. His throat was dry and sore. He couldn't focus much on anything. He was so glad Mitsuru was here to help. He would have to remember to tell him that sometime. He probably already knew. Shinobu looked over at his roommate and smiled.

"Here, Shinobu. Take these. You will feel better." Mitsuru handed him some pills and a glass of water. Shinobu thanked him as he laid down. All he could think about was sleep. He was so tired.

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Shinobu woke up to a knock at the door. Mitsuru was staring out the window longingly. He turned away reluctantly and answered it.

Shinobu tried to concentrate on the conversation, but it was difficult. The words faded in and out and he was only sure that he heard Hasakawa and Shun. They must be ready to see the fireflies. Shinobu closed his eyes and listened carefully.

"How is he?" Shun said quietly.

Mitsuru shook his head. "Not much better. At least he's sleeping though."

"Are you going to stay with him tonight?" Hasakawa said.

"Yeah. You two can go without me."

Shinobu lifted his head from the pillow and reached out a hand towards his roommate. "Mitsuru..." he said as his voice cracked, "please..."

Mitsuru turned towards him. "Are you okay, Shinobu?"

Shinobu pushed himself up on one elbow. "Please go. I know how much you love fireflies and tonight is the perfect night."

Mitsuru took Shinobu's hand and leaned closer to him. "Are you sure?"

"Yes."

Mitsuru still didn't know what to do. He didn't want to leave him like this, but he did want to see the fireflies. "Only if you promise to get some rest while I'm gone."

"I promise."

Mitsuru ran his hand along Shinobu's cheek and bent closer to him. "I love you, Shinobu."

Shinobu smiled and started to respond. His voice was scratchy and quiet. "I..." he coughed before he could finish, but he tried to continue. "I... love... you." He finally got it out. He hoped that Mitsuru understood him. Dizziness was beginning to blur his vision and he put his head back on the pillow. "Go." He said softly.

Mitsuru paused at the door to look back at his roommate before closing it behind him as he left with Hasakawa and Shun.

Shinobu looked around the dark room. It was so quiet and lonely here without Mitsuru. He sneezed and closed his eyes. He knew he should rest, but he was having trouble staying focused. His mind kept drifting back to Mitsuru. What had he ever done without him?

Shinobu could see the stars through the window. Bright points of light shone against a dark backdrop. He smiled as he thought about Mitsuru and the fireflies. They had gone to see them once last year around this time. It was the only time he had seen Mitsuru so excited.

The stars danced a little in his vision as he put a hand up to his temple. The scene blurred before him. He tried to shake off the dizziness, but realized that there were tears in his eyes. He laughed a little as he wiped them away and closed his eyes again. This was ridiculous. Mitsuru was only going to be gone for a few hours. There was no reason to be sad about that. He was sick and it was just having an effect on him. It didn't mean anything. He tried to tell himself these things, but he had trouble believing them as the tears kept falling. Eventually he drifted off to sleep.

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Shinobu woke up when he heard Mitsuru come in through the window. He squinted at the clock. It was too early for him to be back. He had been gone for less than an hour. Shinobu wondered why he was here, but he was secretly glad to have him back. He smiled as Mitsuru pulled off his jacket and sat on the edge of the bed.

"Why are you back so soon?" Shinobu asked.

Mitsuru laughed and said dramatically, "Oh Shinobu, you know I just can't stand to be away from you for too long."

Shinobu sat up slowly and was overcome by another fit of coughing. Mitsuru put an arm around his shoulder and held him close until he was quiet again. Despite the joking, he really was glad to be back here with Shinobu. It just didn't seem right without him. Shinobu thought he loved fireflies, but he really loved the time they spent together. Last time had been so much fun because they were there together.

"I'm sorry," Shinobu whispered. He didn't really know why.

Mitsuru reached over and brought a small object from his jacket pocket. Shinobu wasn't quite sure what it was at first. It glowed and shimmered in the dark of their room. Shinobu's eyes widened when he saw that it was a small glass jar with a few fireflies in it.

"It wasn't easy to get them in there," Mitsuru laughed uneasily, "but I wanted you to see them." The last part was quiet and sincere. Mitsuru held the jar out to his roommate and looked down at the floor.

Shinobu took the jar in his hands and whispered, "Thank you, Mitsuru." He closed his eyes and leaned his head against Mitsuru's shoulder. "Thank you." He whispered again as he drifted off to sleep. Mitsuru smiled and helped his roommate lie down again. He placed the jar on his desk and climbed into the top bunk. Fireflies glowed in the darkness and Mitsuru smiled as he heard Shinobu shift in the bed below him. He was so thankful to have Shinobu. He didn't know what he would ever do without him. He hoped he would never have to find out.

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