Time (Original title: Moments Like These)
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me and they are the property
of their respective owners.
Author's notes: This story contains shounen-ai.
----- indicates a switch in view point. The whole thing is in third person
so it's more like a switch in perspective. It's usually pretty easy to
figure out. italics indicates thoughts
Shinobu walked down the street
slowly. He couldn't believe how much the city had changed in the short
time that he had been away. Four years. It had been four years since he
had walked these streets and four years since he had seen these sites.
He took in a deep breath and enjoyed the scent of autumn that swirled
around him. Crisp and cool. The leaves were turning golden, orange and
red all around him. They fell delicately from their branches and came
to rest on the solid concrete below.
Men and women walked quickly past him and he wondered if they ever stopped
to see it all. He wondered if they knew what they had and how much they
would miss it if it was suddenly taken away. He shook his head and wondered
why he was being so philosophical tonight. He pulled his jacket closer
to him as the wind picked up and brushed his blue-grey bangs away from
His hands found their way to his pockets and he frowned again at the folded
piece of paper that he found there. He hadn't meant to bring it with him.
He unfolded the note and glanced down at it briefly. It was a letter from
Mitsuru. He had received it just a few days ago. Mitsuru wanted to see
him again. There was something he needed to tell him. It was very important.
Shinobu felt a blush creep up into his cheeks as he stuffed the note back
into his pocket and bit his lip. There was no reason to think about that
tonight. Mitsuru was a good friend and nothing else. They had been good
friends since the first day that they met. Four years would not change
that. Tomorrow, Shinobu would call him and set up a time to meet. Maybe
they could do something fun together.
Shinobu wondered what his friend had been up to lately. They tried to
keep in touch, but it wasn't always easy. They were both busy with homework
and career plans and they were so far away. Somehow they had just drifted
apart. Shinobu hoped he could fix that. Maybe that was what Mitsuru wanted
to talk to him about. Shinobu nodded and continued on his way.
He froze when he saw a familiar figure coming out of the movie theater.
His eyes widened at the sight of Mitsuru and a smiling brunette woman
laughing and talking about ten feet away from him. Shinobu quickly ducked
into the nearest alleyway and took a deep breath. His heart was beating
quickly and he wondered if he was ready for this. Maybe he didn't want
to hear what Mitsuru had to tell him.
He closed his eyes and bent his head. He couldn't explain what he was
feeling. His emotions seemed to burn inside of him as if they were trying
to tell him something. Was he jealous? He wasn't sure. He guessed so.
Did he really think that Mitsuru would wait for him? He shook his head
again. What was he thinking? He wasn't even sure if Mitsuru had ever felt
anything for him, but he had always wondered. There had been so many times
that they had seemed so close. Once or twice they had looked into each
other's eyes and things had just clicked. Somehow, even after four years,
Mitsuru was the only one who could make Shinobu feel like that.
He sighed as he turned back towards the street. At least he could make
the most of it. If he found out for sure that Mitsuru was in love, then
there would be no reason to call him tomorrow. Shinobu crept cautiously
towards the couple as they hurried down the busy street. He had to make
sure that they didn't see him. He wondered where they were going.
/Please don't turn around. I don't want you to see me. Not yet. I still
need to sort some things out and if you.../
Shinobu breathed a sigh of relief as they turned and walked inside a nearby
restaurant. He waited for a few minutes before he casually walked by the
window to see if he could see where they were sitting. He spotted them
right away. It was a small table near the back. The lighting was dim and
romantic and even though there was plenty of room for them to sit opposite
each other, she took the chair on his right.
"So, what do you think, Mitsuru? Do you like it?" The woman gestured to
their surroundings as she spoke.
Mitsuru nodded. The restaurant was unusually busy for a weekday, but it
seemed like an interesting place. It reminded him of a place that he had
gone with his friends long ago when they were still in high school. Hasukawa
and Shun used to tease new waitresses by asking them if they thought Shun
was a boy or a girl. Shinobu would always sit back and watch them distantly
as if he wasn't really paying attention. He did that sometimes. It was
almost as if he was thinking about something very important. Mitsuru had
always hoped that maybe Shinobu was thinking about him.
The woman reached out to place a comforting hand over her friend's. "Are
you okay, Mitsuru?" She looked over at him with concern sparkling in her
He smiled and shook his head. "I'm sorry, Karen-san. I guess I'm just
a little distracted."
"Is it about your friend Shinobu-san?" She asked cautiously. He had told
her earlier that he was expecting him in town in the next couple of days.
Mitsuru's eyes widened. For a moment he wondered how she could have known.
Was he blushing? He brushed it away as he realized that wasn't what she
was referring to. He had talked to her about the situation several times.
She knew all about Shinobu and that he was coming to visit soon. She also
knew what Mitsuru wanted to tell Shinobu. "No. I'm sorry. I just thought
maybe.... Nevermind. What are you going to order?"
She smiled gently at him as she leaned back into her chair and flipped
through the menu. "I don't know. I hear that they have good pasta, but
I'm not sure." She looked up briefly to meet his gaze. "I'm sure everything
will be all right."
Mitsuru nodded and brushed the topic away with a wave of his hand. "I
don't want to worry about that tonight, Karen-san."
Shinobu was angry. He wasn't sure why.
/She held his hand! What gave her the right to touch him! /
Shinobu clenched his fists and turned away from the restaurant.
/So this was what he wanted to tell me. Well, I guess that's the end of
it then. /
Shinobu took a few steps away from the building before he paused and came
to a decision. It couldn't end like this. They were good friends. They
had always had a strong friendship and even if it could never be more
than that Shinobu had to know for sure. He had to see Mitsuru once more
to satisfy himself. He pushed open the restaurant door quickly and walked
up to the hostess with determination.
"Good evening, sir. Do you have a reservation?" She smiled at him warily.
"I... ummm... I...." Shinobu tried to find the right words as he stared
at the couple on the other side of the dining room. He wished that Mitsuru
would look up and see him standing there.
Mitsuru handed their menus to the waiter after he took their orders and
he took a sip of the water in front of him. He blinked as he felt the
strangest urge to turn his head and look towards the door. It was him.
It had to be him. After all of this time, toward the front of the restaurant
his high school roommate was standing next to the hostess. He felt a blush
creep up into his cheeks as he noted how good Shinobu looked in the long
black jacket he was wearing. His blue-gray eyes stood out against pale
skin and his soft hair fell delicately across his forehead. Mitsuru raised
a hand and gestured for Shinobu to join them.
"Excuse me sir, but if you don't have a reservation I'm afraid we can't-"
"I'm with him... I mean them." Shinobu said suddenly as Mitsuru waved
him over to their table.
The hostess looked at him quizzically, but smiled when she saw Mitsuru
nod from his table. She led Shinobu over to their table and gestured toward
the seat across from Mitsuru.
Shinobu took the seat grudgingly and handed his jacket to her as she thanked
them and left the table. He would rather sit closer to Mitsuru, but this
would have to do for now. A waiter took his order soon after that.
"I'm sorry. Let me introduce you. Shinobu this is Karen-san. Karen-san
this is Shinobu-san." Mitsuru smiled and gestured towards his two friends
Shinobu bowed his head towards the brunette woman and apologized for the
intrusion. "Nice to meet you, Karen-san. I'm sorry to interrupt. I just
happened to be in the area and I thought that I would stop in."
"It's a good thing you saw us. We're sitting kind of far back." Karen
said slyly as she looked over at Mitsuru. Her friend was fidgeting with
his napkin, but he looked up at her comment and nodded his head. She chuckled
softly. They were both clueless. How perfect.
"I thought you weren't supposed to get back until tomorrow." Mitsuru mentioned
as he took another sip of his water. Was it hot in here?
Shinobu looked down at his hands. "Yes, but I finished early." /I scheduled
all of my exams early. / "I wanted to get home." /I wanted to see you.
I've missed you so much./
/I'm glad. It's so good to see you./ "I understand." Mitsuru said quietly.
"So, Shinobu-san, what were you studying?" Karen asked. She didn't want
to watch them make eyes at each other all night. She hoped the food would
be ready soon. Then she could leave them alone. She knew that Shinobu
was glaring at her. She wondered why. Did he really think that she and
Mitsuru were a couple? She wanted to laugh at that. He was kind of cute,
but she wasn't exactly his type and he wasn't exactly hers either for
that matter. She looked down at her watch nonchalantly. In fact, her type
was waiting at home for her right now. She hoped that Shinobu wouldn't
notice the ring she wore on her left hand. It wasn't exactly a wedding
ring, but in some ways it meant more to the two of them than any wedding
ring ever could. She pulled herself quickly away from that line of thought.
She had to focus on the situation at hand, after all. This was important
"That sounds fascinating." She answered even though she had no idea what
he had said.
They were all relieved when their food finally arrived. For a few minutes
they ate in silence. Snippets of conversations from other tables drifted
over and the waiter came by once or twice to make sure that the food was
"I'm sure you two have a lot of catching up to do. Don't mind me." Karen
said as she winked at Mitsuru. His eyes widened at the comment and he
sipped his water again. She had to smile at that. How many glasses had
he had now? Her eyes darted towards the blue-gray-haired man across from
him. He was busy adjusting his napkin in his lap. She sighed. Okay, one
last time. She would try to start up the conversation.
"Wow. Four years. That's a long time. You must have missed Shinobu-san
very much, Mitsuru." She nudged him a little with her elbow, but he didn't
seem to notice. Shinobu did though and he tightened his grip on the arm
of the chair.
"Hai, Karen-san. We were good friends." Mitsuru said slowly. He was trying
to find the right words. He knew those were wrong. /Not friends. Something
more. So much more. /
Shinobu nodded emphatically. "Hai. Hai. Good friends." /Is that all we
Karen leaned back in her chair. This was going to be a long evening.
"Excuse me, but I have to make a phone call." Shinobu said suddenly as
he stood and walked away from the table.
Mitsuru took a deep breath and looked over at Karen. "So, what do you
think?" He lowered his gaze and bent his head. "I don't have a chance
Karen would have laughed again, but she saw the sadness in his eyes. He
really believed it. It was endearing in a way, but it also made her want
to shake him. "Are you kidding? He keeps shooting me death glares. You
know he thinks I'm your girlfriend."
Mitsuru's eyes widened at this revelation. "Really?" he said breathlessly
as he glanced over his shoulder to make sure that Shinobu wasn't within
"Yeah and he wishes I wasn't here so he could... well, you know..." Karen
decided to leave it at that, but she couldn't help smiling again.
"He could what?" Mitsuru said.
Karen rolled her eyes. "Isn't it obvious? He cares about you very much."
They would have to figure it out some time. She wasn't sure why they hadn't
seen it yet.
"We're friends. Of course he does." Mitsuru answered matter of factly.
He nodded firmly, but his hands were shaking a little as he clasped them
in his lap.
Karen took both of his hands in her own and closed her eyes as she bent
closer to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Sure. Friends. I'm going to go
now. Call me tomorrow and let me know how it turns out."
Shinobu couldn't handle much more of this. He had to get out of there.
A phone call was a good excuse. He stood at the pay phone and stared at
the number pad. Who was he supposed to call? There was no one else who
even knew that he was in town. He replaced the receiver on the hook and
leaned back against she wall. He closed his eyes and shook his head. Well,
he had seen Mitsuru. There was nothing left to do. They would probably
stay in touch, but there was no reason to continue this tonight. He would
go back to the table and politely excuse himself. That was the right thing
to do. /Then why don't I want to leave? /
Shinobu wandered back to the main dining room. He turned the corner and
was greeted with the sight of Karen leaning close to Mitsuru. Did she
kiss him? Shinobu wasn't sure. He felt his cheeks burning again and his
vision blurred before he blinked back the sadness that filled his eyes
for a moment. Now there was no doubt. He had to get out of there now.
Karen winced as she looked up. She saw the lost look in Shinobu's eyes
and knew that she had caused it. She patted Mitsuru on the back and whispered
one more piece of advice to him. "Tell him." She smiled hesitantly at
Shinobu as she walked past him. She hoped he would understand. Maybe someday
they could be friends.
Shinobu walked hurriedly to the table and fumbled for his wallet. It wasn't
there in his pocket. He knew he had it earlier. He felt the tears beginning
to take over again and he tried desperately to push them back. His jacket.
The wallet must be in his jacket.
"Shinobu." Mitsuru said softly and put a hand on his friends shoulder.
/I think I'm starting to understand./
Shinobu looked up briefly and saw the soft look in Mitsuru's eyes. He
couldn't help but smile and shrug. "I'm sorry, Mitsuru."
Mitsuru shook his head and smiled back. "Please sit down. There's something
I have to tell you."
Shinobu's heart beat faster as he remembered the words of the letter.
He shook his head as he returned to his seat. "It's okay. I already know,
The smile faded from Mitsuru's face and his lips trembled slightly. "You
do?" he said breathlessly. /How could you know?/ "So what do you think?"
he said softly. This wasn't going to be good. He tried to prepare himself
for the blow.
Shinobu clasped his hands together nervously. "She seems great." He said
flatly. He knew it wasn't much of an endorsement. She really did seem
nice, but he couldn't help but be a little disappointed. /I always thought
maybe you felt something for me. I guess I was wrong./
Mitsuru's eyes widened and he shook his head. "No. I don't mean her. She's
just a friend." He smiled broadly. He felt relieved. Karen was right.
Shinobu had jumped to conclusions. So that was why he was in such a hurry
to get out of here. Mitsuru chuckled at the idea. Him and Karen. Never.
She was a good friend, but he wasn't exactly her type. Guys weren't exactly
Shinobu was at a loss. He raised his eyebrows in confusion. He must have
missed something. What was going on?
"Let's get out of here, Shinobu. Let's go for a walk."
Shinobu nodded numbly. He was beginning to feel very lost, but this was
Mitsuru and if Karen wasn't his girlfriend, then maybe...
After they paid for the dinner and got their coats, the two friends walked
out into the cool night air. They walked side by side for a few steps
before either of them said anything.
"So what did you want to tell me?" Shinobu said simply.
Mitsuru shook his head. "Not yet." He glanced up and down the street to
make sure that there was no one around before he carefully reached out
and took Shinobu's hand in his own. He leaned closer to his friend as
they continued walking. His heart was still beating fast. He wasn't sure
what to think. Shinobu hadn't objected yet, but he also didn't know yet.
Mitsuru led Shinobu to the nearest park bench and he gestured for him
to sit down. Shadows danced across the landscape as the wind swirled around
the leaves of a nearby tree. The world seemed quieter somehow than it
had before. The day was winding down. Soon people would be returning home
and tomorrow it would all start over again. Mitsuru was almost afraid
to break the delicate cycle. He didn't want things to change. He always
wanted Shinobu to be here beside him, but he knew that this was something
that had to be said. His mind whirled with possibilities as he rested
his head against Shinobu's shoulder and enjoyed the moment. He knew it
could all fall apart in a few seconds. He just needed to capture this
/Oh gods, he's touching me. He's so warm. It feels so wonderful. I want
to touch his hair. I've always wondered what it would feel like./ Shinobu
tried to stay perfectly still. He didn't want to do anything to disturb
this moment. Maybe he could make this last forever.
"Shinobu." Mitsuru said softly as he looked up into sincere eyes. He didn't
take his hand away from his friends as he did so.
"Mitsuru, what is it?" Shinobu answered hesitantly. He was suddenly very
afraid as if his entire life and future rested on this. No time had passed.
It was like the first day they met. Their surroundings seemed to fade
around them as they looked into each other's eyes.
Mitsuru looked down at where their hands met. The contact gave him the
confidence to continue. He wasn't sure what he would do if Shinobu pulled
away. /When he pulls away. This can't possibly work, but I have to say
it. I want him to know. /
"Shinobu, I don't know how to tell you this." His voice cracked on the
last words and he shook his head. This was harder than he thought it would
be. He tried to convince himself that his world didn't rest on these few
words, but he couldn't. He had waited so long to say them.
Shinobu leaned closer to his friend. He wasn't really sure what was going
on. Mitsuru's hands were shaking ever so slightly. Shinobu was amazed.
He had rarely seen his friend like this. This must be important. He brushed
aside his own feelings of uncertainty for a moment and focused on the
man beside him. Something was wrong and Shinobu only wanted to make it
better. He wanted to let Mitsuru know that he was there for him no matter
what. He pulled his hand away from Mitsuru for a moment and brought his
arm up around Mitsuru's shoulder to pull his friend closer to him. He
brought his other hand over to Mitsuru's and placed in on top of his comfortingly.
He bit his lip as he felt Mitsuru lean into his embrace. They both sat
there in silence for a few more minutes.
Mitsuru felt Shinobu's warm breath on his neck and decided to continue.
"I've always had a hard time explaining this to myself so I'm not sure
if I can do it very well, but here goes..."
Mitsuru took a deep breath as Shinobu squeezed his hand gently. "Go ahead."
He said breathlessly.
So much was riding on these next few words. Mitsuru smiled and closed
his eyes as the words came to him. He'd wanted to say them for so long.
"We always have such a good time when we're together, Shinobu. I am always
happiest when I'm with you. Sometimes I want you to stay with me forever.
Sometimes I want to hold your hand. Sometimes I want to kiss you. I always
want you closer than you are. I think I'm in love with you, Shinobu. I
think I always have been."
The words hung in the silence between them and seemed to echo. Mitsuru
bit his lip. Maybe this was a mistake. /What was I really expecting? A
happy ending?/ He shook his head as he felt tears well up in his eyes
again. Things would never be the same. He pulled away from Shinobu's embrace
and sat up to face him on the park bench.
Shinobu let go reluctantly, but he continued to stare at his best friend.
He didn't know what to say. His voice didn't seem to be working anymore.
He saw the pain on Mitsuru's face and he knew that there was no reason
for it to be there, but he couldn't figure out how to stop it. One glistening
tear traced its way down Mitsuru's cheek and Shinobu lifted his hand to
brush it away shakily. He let his hand rest there a few more seconds than
he needed to before he pulled it away. He shook his head. He was thinking
too much. If he waited too long, the sadness would stay in those violet
eyes and there would be no way to erase it.
Shinobu leaned closer to his friend. He wasn't sure how to say this in
words. Maybe he didn't need to. He lifted his hand and brushed away golden
bangs as he pressed his lips against his friend's mouth. The sensation
was more than he could have imagined. He leaned closer as he felt Mitsuru
relax into the kiss. They both needed this so much.
Shinobu brought his hands up to Mitsuru's shoulders as he tilted his head
a little and felt the warmth of Mitsuru's lips against his. He closed
his eyes and held onto the one person he loved more than anyone else in
the world. He broke the kiss reluctantly and leaned his head on Mitsuru's
After a few shaky breaths, he lifted his head and stared intently into
violet eyes. They were glistening with unshed tears, but they sparkled
with joy. A small smile graced Mitsuru's lips and a delicate blush gave
a soft pink hue to his cheeks. Shinobu carefully lifted his hand to caress
Mitsuru's cheek. His skin was so soft and warm. Mitsuru closed his eyes
and leaned into the touch. Then he leaned forward and kissed Shinobu gently
on the lips. Shinobu welcomed the gesture and held Mitsuru close as they
kissed again. Lips touched lips and they explored sensations that they
had never before experienced. There was a sweetness that could not be
explained in words. It came of fulfillment and tenderness wrapped in hesitation.
Shinobu slid one hand up to rest in Mitsuru's hair and he gasped as he
felt the soft feel of Mitsuru's hair between his fingers. It was a gorgeous
experience. He stroked the golden blondness as he continued to move his
lips against his friend's. Mitsuru moaned softly as Shinobu pulled away.
Shinobu smiled and kept one hand placed securely on Mitsuru's shoulder.
"I never knew for sure, Mitsuru. I'm so glad you let me know." Shinobu
hesitated for a moment as he searched for what to say next. He bent his
head and glanced down at where their hands met before he looked up into
violet eyes and continued. "I think I love you too."
Mitsuru looked up at him questioningly. His voice shook slightly. "How
will we know for sure?"
"I think we just will. We don't have to think about that now." Shinobu
Mitsuru nodded and grasped Shinobu's hand tightly as they stood to go.
The stars sparkled in the evening sky as the two young men made their
way together along the path away from the park. It was moments like these
that would stay with them for all time. For now, they leaned closer to
each other and hoped that this would never end.
[back to fan fiction]