"Somewhere with you"


Magic Mind and BratChild3

Author's Notes:

The title sounds like PWP, but it's NOT. It does have lots of smut though. XD

The idea for this story was one of those ideas that pops into your head and won't let you rest until you work on it. It was born of a late-night conversation between two people madly obsessed with each other and with yaoi. And it's going to be co-written from start to finish by me, Magic Mind, and BC3.

You read the summary so you know what you're getting into. Don't say we didn't warn you. (And don't say that the mangaka wasn't asking for this to happen when she drew Ritsuka in some of those outfits...heh.)

Let us know what you think of this first installment! And thanks for reading!

Chapter one

He had put up with it for this long because she was his mother, and that was the only reason. He told himself this was his home, that she loved him in her own way, that eventually she would get better. But those were lies, and she never did, and in the darkest part of himself he knew she never would. And still he thought he'd always stay with her, that he'd always want to try to mend their broken family. But on the eve of Ritsuka's 18th birthday, when the glass candelabra came crashing down upon his head and knocked him out cold for a full forty minutes, he knew he had to either leave or die.

He didn't take the time to pack, just stood from the small pool of blood and glinting glass shards, dusted off his thick plum-colored jacket, and left. But he didn't just go, he went. He went to seek and maybe to find and although he wasn't sure exactly what he was looking for, he knew it would be in whichever place filled him with the happiness he so often longed for but had always been just out of his reach.

The only thing he managed to bring along was a small leather-bound sketchbook he had secured beneath the folds of his jacket in the innermost pocket. He liked to sketch things, mostly people and animals. Perhaps he could make a living selling portraits to tourists, or accrue at least enough for a hot cup of coffee to ward off the chill of the night. Anywhere for tonight would do, as long as the police didn't drag him back home. If his mother filed a report, it would be useless by morning anyway. He would be of age, and no one could force him to go back.

Let her try, he thought savagely, and made his way into the heart of the city.

The first night was….cold. He had been wearing his warmest jacket when he'd run, but that night, it felt like nothing more than a t-shirt. Curled up in the shadows of a highway overpass, Ritsuka shivered and shook and tried to think only of his new freedom. It was difficult. And the gnawing pain in his stomach only added to his discomfort. He was sure that only half of it was caused by hunger.

The overpass had functioned well-enough as a roof for him. Thank God it didn't rain that night. But when the dawn came, Ritsuka knew that he needed something to eat. He was skinny enough as it was. Another night without food could land him in an early grave – it was no exaggeration. Already his footsteps were slow and clumsy.

He had no idea which way to go, so he decided to follow the sidewalk he had been facing when he woke that morning. There was a diner at the end of the block. The paint on its business sign was fading, peeling away in tired, sad flakes. But there was a light on inside, even at this early hour, and Ritsuka was willing to wash a hundred dishes or mop the entire diner's floors for a hot breakfast.

Without another thought in his head, he pushed open the door and stumbled through. Inside, it was warm. Almost everything was wood, even the ceiling, and it looked as old and worn as the outside. But it was clean, and there was a cheery looking elderly man wiping a rag around and around inside a coffee mug as he watched a morning news show on a wall-mounted flat screen, the only thing in the room that looked like it hadn't been there since the 1940's.

Ritsuka made a beeline for him, straightening his back to appear as tall as possible. He was still rather small and skinny; a runt, if he were perfectly honest, but that didn't mean he couldn't look mature and important.

"Good morning, good morning," said the man. He was wearing a gleaming nametag that said Chai. "What can I get for you today?"

Ritsuka tried to smile and hoped it didn't come off as a grimace. He felt so nervous. He wasn't even sure how to go about asking. "I'm looking for a job," he finally said, and breathed a silent sigh of relief that it hadn't come out shaky.

Chai gave him a once over, still moping the inside of the mug. "Have to be at least sixteen to work here."

"But I'm eighteen!"

Chai looked as if he sincerely doubted that, but he wasn't going to argue. "Even so, we're not hiring. Haven't in twelve years. Sorry, kid. Sure you're not hungry though? Best food for miles."

Pretty sure every one of the food shops he went into around here would have that same exact slogan, he fished into his pocket and pulled out a roll of money. He was so hungry he was sure even something as gruesome as road kill would taste like heaven. He didn't have much, only about 3 weeks worth of allowance, and he'd have to make it last at least until he found someone willing to hire a barely legal homeless boy with no work experience.

"Just some eggs," he said. "scrambled. And a glass of-" he had been about to say water, but as his eyes raked the menu, he saw hot tea was dirt cheap and had unlimited refills. "A cup of hot tea."

"Coming right up." Chai said with a curt nod and a warm smile.

As he bustled about behind the counter, Ritsuka took a seat at the bar. There were hardly any patrons around (not a surprise at this hour, Ritsuka reminded himself) and things were fairly quiet. His barstool was rusting where it met the floor but it was otherwise comfortable. Anything felt comfortable when one had just spent the night lying on cold concrete. There was a jukebox over in the corner, looking like it had seen better days.

Chai came back to him, setting down a steaming mug of tea and several sugar packets. "We've got milk too, if you take milk with your tea," he offered.

"Just the sugar….thank you." said Ritsuka.

Chai nodded, slinging a dishtowel over his shoulder. "Be right back with those eggs, then."

Ritsuka emptied all of the sugar packets into his cup, swirling the mug a few times to mix them. He sipped it slowly, careful not to scald his tongue, and glanced around.

There was a woman at the other end of the bar, eating what looked like cherry pie and a milkshake. Ritsuka couldn't see any other people…..until he noticed a man near the back, seated at a booth alone. He was half in shadow, and gray smoke swirled up around him. Ritsuka knew few people who smoked but this man looked like he'd been born with a cigarette between his fingers. He took long drags of it, bringing it up to his mouth smoothly and easily bypassing the curtains of long blond hair that fell around him. His hair was bone-straight and immaculately free of tangles. He was good-looking, really, if a bit on the skinny side. Ritsuka belatedly realized that he was wearing glasses – round ones in silver frames. They were so unobtrusive that it was almost like they melted into the man's face. It was odd…..the guy wasn't even eating.

Suddenly Ritsuka heard the door clatter open behind him. He glanced backwards and saw three policeman walk in. There was a loud clink as Ritsuka nearly dropped his mug against the counter. His heart flew into a panic. Surely they couldn't have tracked him here! He hadn't spoken to anyone at all. He'd left no trace of himself under that overpass….not even a shoelace!

Idiot….Ritsuka suddenly realized. You're eighteen today. Nothing they could do about it even if they found you. Relax.

His panic was beneficial in at least one way, though. It reminded him that he needed some kind of plan. He couldn't sit in this diner forever. He needed money….a job…a place to stay. Something. …Anything. Maybe they had a phone book in this place. At least he could start thinking about where to start.

It turned out that Chai's phone book was nearly as decrepit as his diner, but it was legible, and that was all Ritsuka really cared about. While he shoveled eggs into his mouth, he found the numbers and addresses of a few homeless shelters and scribbled them down into his sketch pad. If worse came to worst, he could spend a few nights there. There were also a few other restaurants in town, he found. He took down those numbers and addresses as well, figuring that restaurants would be the smartest places to begin looking for work. Surely there was one out there that needed a waiter…a busboy….something.

He was still feeling hungry, but after a plate full of eggs and four mugs of tea, Ritsuka felt like he was pushing the upper limit of how long a polite customer would remain in a diner. He dropped a few bills onto the counter, leaving a little extra for Chai's tip. He had to stop himself from withholding it….who knew when he would see even that much money come to him again? But it wasn't right. Ritsuka knew it wasn't. So without another glance at the bills, he slid himself off of the barstool and forced his feet to carry him onto the sidewalk outside.

The air was still chill, but the late morning sun felt invitingly warm against the exposed skin of his face and throat. He closed his eyes against the rays and inhaled the scent of damp pavement and the charbroiled grills beginning to fire up for the afternoon lunch crowd. There was a small coy pond just to the right of the diner, obviously meant to entertain waiting customers, although Ritsuka was having a job picturing a line actually forming outside this place. He needed to get moving, find some restaurants with help wanted signs pinned into their windows. And yet…

He sat on the bench in front of the pond and took out his sketchpad. It was just a pond, an industrial one at that, but it was a beautiful pond, and he wanted something to remember his first day of freedom.

He had almost sketched the entire thing-finishing up the last of a lily pad-when a roll of mentholated cigarette smoke billowed past and the silhouette of a tall, blonde figure filled the small square of the water's reflective surface. It was the same man who had sat so eerily in the corner booth of the diner, chain-smoking behind nondescript silver glasses. He was looking off in the distance, unaware he wasn't alone.

Ritsuka hesitated a beat, then flipped to a fresh page in and began hastily sketching the man's outline. He was just beginning to sharpen the lines of the man's hair when he heard a soft cough. Suddenly freezing, worried that the man had seen his sketch and was offended, Ritsuka hastily flipped his book closed. The leather-cover made a snapping sound when it slapped shut over the pages.

"You needn't stop," a smooth voice said. "It was quite good."

It took him a moment to get his bearings, but Ritsuka turned, his face flaming. "I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude. I don't usually draw people without their permission. It's just that-" He looked down, rubbing his arm.

"Go on," said the man.

"Well, It... it's just thought that you'd say no."

The man smiled slightly, as though something Ritsuka said had amused him.

"I wouldn't have said no. Please...do continue." he took another drag on his cigarette before adding, "I insist."

"You mean that?" Estatic, though still slightly mortified at having been caught, Ritsuka reopened his sketchpad and resumed. This man had one of those long, angular faces that were particularly fun to draw.

"I'm an artist as well," the man said conversationally. "You can find all my works at the local gallery three blocks from here. Have you ever been?"

Ritsuka shook his head. "I'm sorry, no. I don't normally have time for those sorts of things."

"It's alright. I know you are certainly not the only one with his own life to be going on with." The man smiled slightly again. Ritsuka wondered if he were listening to some wry, joking voice inside his head. "Still...if you are ever interested, it's open to the public."

Ritsuka nodded as he continued to draw, not lifting his eyes. "Thanks."

They fell into a quasi-comfortable silence then, Ritsuka drawing and the stranger doing nothing but smoke.

When Ritsuka had finished, he held the sketch at a distance, gazing up between his completed work and the stranger. The man had a curiously lovely shade of violet eyes. Too bad he never did learn to use colors.

"May I see?" asked the man. He speared his cigarette stub toward the ground but didn't bother snuffing it out. The embers quickly died against the pavement.

Ritsuka handed him the sketchbook, not worried he would flip through the rest. The man simply wasn't rude enough. He'd ask first, and if he did, Ritsuka would simply take it back and tell him no.

The stranger studied Ritsuka's drawing, turning it left and right at slight angles. Ritsuka noticed that there were faint lines scattered along his wrists...scars?

"I think..." the man began, almost as if he were talking to himself, "...that this is a remarkable likeness."

Ritsuka felt his eyes widen. He couldn't help but blurt out, "Really?"

"Really. In fact...would you sell this one? I'd compensate you fairly for it."

Completely taken aback, Ritsuka couldn't help but gawk at the man. "Compensate? You mean pay me? With money?"

The man laughed again, that soft, barely there chuckle that was at first annoying but now seemed oddly sweet. "With money, of course. Do you have a usual going rate? I'm willing to pay you twice over."

Ritsuka was dumbfound. A going rate? He'd sketch out whatever this guy asked for in exchange for a cheeseburger and a pillow to rest his head on tonight.

"I...I don't often sell them." Ritsuka managed. Deciding to shift the ball into the man's court, he asked, "What do you think it's worth?"

The stranger consulted the sketchbook again, then after a moment he handed it back and pulled out of his pocket a handsome brown leather wallet. He counted out a small stack of money and pressed it into Ritsuka's free hand.

"Will that do?"

With his eyes practically popping out of his head, Ritsuka could do nothing but nod stupidly.

"Very well," said the man. "Uh, may I?" he pointed at the sketchbook. Ritsuka released it to him without a word and was finally brought about when the soft sound of tearing broke the still air.

The man held the sketchbook back out to him. "I recommend you conceal that money. There's quite a few people around here with sticky fingers." He winked.

Ritsuka blinked at him, then stared down at the money again before pocketing it.

The stranger slipped the sketch neatly into an inner pocket of his coat. Then he held his hand out to Ritsuka. "Thank you very much, Mister...?"

Ritsuka hesitated. Surely a handshake wouldn't hurt, but...giving his name... "Maybe the next time you buy one of my drawings." he said finally. There was no harm in asking for more business, after all. The handshake went on a beat longer than he expected.

The man gave another of those soft chuckles. "I see. Maybe so. For myself, you can call me Soubi."

And then, spinning on his heel and taking a stride in the opposite direction, the man strolled away.

Ritsuka watched him leave, rolling the name around in his head. He tried saying it out loud, his voice little more than a whisper on the street. "Soubi..."

A/N: Yay! BC3 here. Please let us know what you think!