Goo's Note- Sorry the last chapter was so bad. I want to rewrite it sometime. I was really busy and had a lot of other projects going but I had a lot of pressure to finish *glares at peanut* so I released something that wasn't up to my ridiculously high standards for my writing. Sorry for that. Hopefully now I can slow back down and write at a more comfortable pace and write something much better.

Heart's Façade

Chapter Twelve: Family and Friends (Part I)

Written by A Girl Named Goo

"Well, that was a disaster."

"I wouldn't call it that."

"What would you call it?"

Shuichi shrugged. He was sitting on the couch, leaning against Yuki, still clad in his tuxedo. "I actually think that went slightly better than most of Seguchi-san's other dinner parties. At least we left before he could embarrass himself or anyone else."

"Yes, that is a definite plus. But you're ignoring our big problem."

Shuichi groaned. "I'd hardly call it a 'big problem', Yuki."

"Tokui making out with an older boy on the balcony isn't a 'big problem' for you?"

"No!" Shuichi confirmed. "I mean, they weren't doing anything else, were they? And Tokui insists that's what he wanted. He didn't appear to be struggling. He actually seemed kind of disappointed when his father stopped him. I personally don't see why it's a big deal. Chen-san is only two years older than Tokui, not twenty, if what Hiro tells me is right. And neither you nor Seguchi-san can get mad because they are both boys. Tokui is sixteen years old and he's never been kissed. Of course he's curious."

Yuki sighed. With reasoning like that, how could he argue? But his anger still hadn't subsided, irrational as it may be. "I guess you're right. But what kind of boy kisses his male best friend simply because he's never been kissed before? He's only sixteen. He has plenty of time to worry about it."

"I was fourteen," Shuichi pointed out.

"What?"

"I was fourteen when I got my first kiss from Hiro, my male best friend. It was our Christmas present to each other. He was fifteen and I was still only fourteen and we'd never been kissed before so we tried it."

Yuki sighed. "Should have known. And for two guys who have never dated you have the most sickeningly sweet stories about each other."

Shuichi shrugged again. "If it makes you feel better, Maiko caught us and Hiro wasn't allowed to step foot in my house for three months. I don't think his parents ever found out, though. They are a lot more narrow minded than my mother so he probably would have been forced to stay away from me altogether for a lot longer than three months if they'd known."

"Actually, that does make me feel better for some reason. Now I know I'm not overreacting about Tokui."

"Yes, you are. Just like my mother overreacted. Besides, you just feel better knowing I got in trouble because you're jealous."

"Jealous of what?"

"That I got my first kiss from Hiro and not from you."

"I am not jealous!"

"Your ears are turning red."

"Go to hell."

Shuichi kissed Yuki on the cheek. "You were my first first, though. The only times I've slept with Hiro you know about."

"That's nice to know."

Shuichi was quiet for a few moments. "Does oral count?"

"What?!" Yuki sat up and looked down at Shuichi, who promptly blushed and buried himself deeper into the black leather cushion.

"Never mind," he said softly. After Yuki had relaxed again, he leaned against him once more. "So who was your first kiss with?"

"We're off topic."

"Tell me!"

Yuki sighed. "First woman I ever slept with. I was eighteen. Happy?"

"Mmm." Shuichi was curling up against Yuki now. "Lets just forget about going to bed and sleep here. You're too warm for me to want to get up."

"I still need to talk to Tokui."

"Tomorrow."

"You're the one that got me to calm down."

"Sleep on it."

"Get up. You don't want to sleep in that tuxedo, anyway."

"I don't want to sleep in anything."

"Tokui's here."

Shuichi sighed and hauled himself to his feet. "If being parents means we can't do that anymore, I might want to rethink my decision."

Yuki sighed and also stretched his tall frame. "I hardly think of us as parents."

"We're more parents to Tokui than Touma and Mika."

Yuki sighed and walked in the direction of his office. "I know. I wish they'd let us adopt him when he was little. They only wanted to keep him on a matter of principal, and possibly because of what the media would say." Just as he was about to open the door he felt an arm slide around his waist.

"Yuki, you are his father," Shuichi told him firmly. "You might not be by name or by blood, but you are the only real father he has. You are the only one who has ever taken care of him, who ever visited him in the hospital, who ever supported him. You are the only one who has ever done things for him with him in mind. That's more than Seguchi-san has ever even tried to do, and that's why you're his father, not him."

Yuki kissed the top of Shuichi's pink head. "Thank you," he said sincerely, detaching Shuichi from his waist. As he walked into the office he shot back over his shoulder "But if I'm his father, then that makes you his mother."

"I wouldn't go that far…"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was still dark out when Quon Yue forced his eyes open. Though he was having trouble seeing his surroundings he immediately knew that this was not his apartment. Upon further inspection he realized his surroundings were quite familiar, and after taking a few moments to clear his head he promptly realized exactly where he was: Hiro's bedroom.

Quon Yue sat up on the bed. He was still wearing the tuxedo, though sans tie, jacket, and cummerbund. Why would Hiro be so nice to him? Especially after what he'd done earlier that night....

After taking a moment to clear his head and trying (but failing) to recollect the events that lead to him falling asleep in Hiro's bed he stumbled out into the living room. Hiro was stretched along the couch, asleep and wearing nothing but his boxers. The TV was on, providing the only light in the house.

God, he's hot when he's asleep, Quon Yue thought to himself. His plan was to put on his shoes and jacket and walk home without disturbing Hiro. But the old adage about the best-laid plans proved true once again…

"Glad to see you're up," Hiro said as Quon Yue was tying his shoes. Quon Yue looked over at him just in time to see him stretching. If it weren't for his friendship with Tokui, Quon Yue would have found him irresistible and taken him then and there.

"I was just leaving. I'll be out of your hair in a minute," Quon Yue told him as he tried to finish tying his right shoe. His feelingless finger, which already took a lot of practice and patience to manipulate properly, had decided to fail him entirely.

"No, you're not," Hiro told him. "You'll freeze to death. And besides, it's rude to leave without thanking me."

Quon Yue gave up on the shoe and kicked them both off again. "I don't like feeling I owe you something. I like it when people owe me favors, not the other way around."

"Too bad. I brought you here and I gave up my bed for you. Might as well stay the whole night and make the whole thing complete. Eat my food. Take more of my clothes."

"I'll give them back! For chrissakes, are you just trying to make me feel bad or are you making an attempt at being nice? If it's the latter then you're failing."

Hiro sighed as Quon Yue threw himself into a chair. He appeared to be searching for something, and when Hiro pointed to the kitchen where the jacket of his tuxedo was draped over the back of a chair Quon Yue just scowled at him, walked into the kitchen, fished his cigarettes and lighter from the jacket, and sat back down.

"I was just being a decent human being. I don't know what happened in the car. You passed out or zoned out or something. I could lead you around but you just had this blank look in your eyes. I didn't feel right just throwing you out of the car in front of your shitty apartment building and speeding off into the night."

Quon Yue lit a cigarette. "You should have. Wouldn't have been the first time, except every other time I am usually unconscious, bleeding to death, or both."

"What the hell do you do?" Hiro asked, though he thought he already knew the answer.

"Little of this, little of that," was the simple response. He flicked his ashes onto the floor. "Prostitution one night, drug dealing the next. Played bookie a few times. I'm good with numbers. If it's illegal and profitable I've probably done it at least a few times. Cigarette?"

Without even thinking Hiro took the pack that was offered to him. Quon Yue tossed him the lighter, which he promptly used to light the cigarette and tossed back.

"I didn't know you smoked," Quon Yue mused.

"I don't. At least, I'm not supposed to. I quit 16 years ago after Shuichi lost his arm because of a pack of cigarettes."

"Addicted as I am I don't think I'd literally risk life and limb for them."

"Wasn't his choice. Yuki Eiri sent him out for them and he got hit by a car while buying them."

"Did he feel bad about it?"

"I think he was guilty about it at the time. He quit smoking, at the very least. I don't ever remember him apologizing, though. He's a prick. Much like you. If he hadn't caught you making out with the boy who is practically his son you two probably would have gotten along famously."

"Ah, so the ulterior motive is revealed," Quon Yue said knowingly, taking a drag off of his cigarette. He flicked more ashes onto the carpet. "You just wanted to lecture me about that. He wanted it. It was my idea, but he said he wanted it. I'll bet he's still saying that's what he wanted. He didn't seem to mind it one bit when it happened, that's for sure."

"I don't give a shit about your reasoning. Whether he wanted it or not you should know better. You're an eighteen-year-old whore; he's an innocent sixteen-year-old. I don't like the idea of you two being friends one bit, and the prospect of you two being anything more makes my hair curl." Hiro flicked his own ashes into his hand.

"We're just friends. Possibly slightly more than platonic, yes, but just best friends. You and Shindou-san probably made out when you were kids and you both turned out fine," Quon Yue told him. The final tone in his voice made it very clear to Hiro that he not only had no regret for what he had done but no plans of ending his friendship with the younger boy. He dropped his cigarette onto the floor and ground it with his heel, an action that made Hiro wince, not just because of the damage to his carpet but because of the pain stepping on a lit cigarette must cause. He had a feeling this was what Quon Yue was going for. Fortunately he wasn't wearing socks, or his whole foot would have gone up in flames.

Hiro sighed and stood up. "I'm not your father, and I'm not going to pretend to be. I made my token effort, and now all I can say is stay away from Yuki Eiri. If he catches you anywhere in the general proximity of Tokui he'll gut you like a fish."

Just as Hiro was about to leave the room a voice stopped him. "Do you hate me?" it asked softly, desperately.

Hiro turned back around to see Quon Yue hunched over pitifully on the couch. He sighed deeply. How he hated it when the usually cold and arrogant singer went and got vulnerable on him. It made him feel guilty about not liking him.

"I don't hate you," he said at last. "But that doesn't mean I like you. You do something to make me like you and that might change, but for now take what you can get."

And before Quon Yue could say anything Hiro slipped into his bedroom, still smoking his cigarette.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Amai was stretched along a couch in her father's office. While he was at work, he was still sporting a horrible hangover from the heavy drinking he'd done at the party and much of the next day. Though he didn't get like this often, when he did it became Amai's job to make sure business ran as smoothly as it usually did. This meant getting a driver to take her in at seven AM (fortunately everyone there early in the morning was too tired to give Amai a long enough look to realize she was too short to be Seguchi Touma), fielding all the important incoming calls, and when he finally showed up at work to relieve his body double to make sure no one saw him personally or the condition he was in.

This was the main reason most people didn't know Seguchi Touma occasionally came in late for work. Amai had played him on several occasions for several reasons to create the illusion that her father was as reliable to arrive at the office at seven AM as the sun was to rise in the morning. All he had to do was slip in the back way (Amai went in the front door and greeted everyone there in the same fashion her father did on days they pulled this switch), and using a route that Tokui would have been envious of he would manage to slip into his office without anyone knowing and take over. A few people noticed that he occasionally seemed to change clothes at work for this reason, but considering this was Seguchi Touma they thought nothing of it.

Amai sat up straight as the door opened. Touma stumbled in, donning his hat with the brim pulled down to conceal his eyes, which were bloodshot and had bags under them. He stripped off his feathered coat and put it on a rack, also removing the hat and putting it on the rack so he could run a hand through his hair, which was messy both with neglect and the sweating fits he was prone to as he vomited. It also looked quite greasy for this reason. Amai got off the couch just as Touma stretched his tall, lean frame the length of it, facedown in the leather upholstery.

"Feeling better yet, Tousan?" Amai asked, pretty sure she knew the answer.

"Get me a trashcan," Touma ordered weakly.

Amai was quick to comply, both because she always did what her father told her and because she didn't want to have to explain to the janitors where the vomit all over the couch and carpet had come from. At least she could hide it with crumpled paper in a trashcan.

Having done her job to par Amai sat down behind her father's desk. She loved the feeling of power she got from sitting in this seat, and looked forward to the day when she could safely say that was her position. "There's a meeting with a new act today," Amai pointed out after glancing at the desk calendar.

"Call it," Touma ordered before picking his head up and reaching for the trashcan.

Amai waited for her father to finishing vomiting up whatever remained in his stomach to speak again.

"Actually, I was thinking I could stand in for you," Amai said. "It's not like this person has met you so they won't know I'm shorter than you. You can step in when you're feeling better and they'll never know the difference. And if anyone looks in or calls it will look like you're working. Plus it would be good experience for me if I'm ever going to take over the company myself."

"Remind me to talk to you about-" Touma was cut off as he released a dry heave into the trashcan. "About you taking over the company. But not until I feel better."

"So can I try it?" Amai asked hopefully.

Touma sighed and wiped his eyes, which were watering from his vomiting sessions. "It would spare me from having to make up an excuse as to why I called the meeting. And you do need some practice handling the other acts here. And I trust you enough to decide if this person would be a profitable investment or not." Touma sat up, then clutched his aching head. "Just this once. But try to keep your temper in check and tell me why you did or didn't sign them when you are done. And if you do think they are good enough, don't sign the paper. I don't want to add forgery to your résumé. Just...pretend to or something."

"I won't let you down, Tousan!" Amai chirped happily.

Touma hauled himself to his feet. "You use the office. I am going to the executive washroom for the rest of the day."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"So your uncle's not mad?" Quon Yue asked in amazement, taking a drag off his cigarette. He was on the top step of the staircase between the fifth and sixth floors of the NG building, with Tokui on the bottom.

"Not really, I guess. I mean, he's upset and everything, but he admitted he overreacted and he just thinks it's hard for him to realize I'm not a little kid anymore," Tokui explained, scribbling away in his notepad.

Quon Yue nodded. This news was the second best thing that had happened to him all day, the best being when Seguchi Touma had rushed down the stairs looking an unnatural shade of pale green and nearly running over the eccentric young singer, who was too stunned to say anything even remotely witty. In turn, the NG president hadn't seemed to notice he'd nearly run over his son and the act that he disliked so much.

"Actually, that's kinda not fair," Quon Yue said, stomping out his cigarette. "You live with someone who cares for you and cares about you and you didn't get so much as a few strong words. I pass out in Nakano-san's car and I get a four hour lecture about corrupting innocent youth."

"I'm sorry," Tokui offered weakly as his friend descended the staircase. He was wearing a pair of light blue jeans (which he had left at Hiro's the first time he'd stayed there) and a too-large, dark blue button-up shirt that was buttoned up to all but the top button, though it kept sliding off his right shoulder to reveal the strap of the whit tank-top he wore underneath. Tokui noted that Quon Yue somehow seemed smaller now that he'd seen him wearing the tuxedo, though he really didn't look any different, nor was he dressed any different presently ("different" and "normal" both being relative terms for him).

"I was being sarcastic," Quon Yue explained. "Really, I'm happy you got off the hook." Tokui blushed, smiled, and leaned forward, placing a small kiss onto his friend's lips. Quon Yue smiled back. "Now what did I do to deserve that?"

Tokui shrugged. "I just felt like being spontaneous now that I know you don't mind."

Quon Yue reached out and touched Tokui's face lightly, looking into his wide golden eyes. After a few moments he leaned down and kissed the younger boy, slightly longer than Tokui's kiss had been but still very simple and chaste. "I just think it's good that you don't mind."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"This is all they do," Koji explained, leaning against the doorframe. Saki was sitting at the long table of the empty conference room, tapping a CD case against the solid oak table. Alexander had moved a chair into the corner and was now currently cleaning his gun. Amai, on the other hand, was no where to be seen. Shuichi was just watching them all from the hall.

"Where's Amai?" Shuichi asked.

Koji shrugged, hands buried deep into his pockets. "Officially, she's with her father. Confidentially..." He removed his hand to reveal a small gadget that looked like a personal organizer. "She's standing in for her father at a meeting." He put the gadget back into his pocket.

Shuichi widened his eyes in amazement. "She can do that?"

Koji nodded. "Can and has, from what I've managed to find. Seguchi Touma has a bit of a drinking problem, you see. He also has a rather low tolerance for alcohol, which leads to some pretty painful hangovers. Rather than appear at work late or not appear at all on these days he has Amai stand in for him and no one's the wiser. At least, before he hired me."

"How did you-?"

"That's classified. I've told you too much already." Koji suddenly put a finger onto the earpiece in his ear and went quiet. "Amai's coming," he said softly.

As if by magic, the teen herself suddenly appeared from around the corner. "Sorry I'm late!" she announced to both the people in the hall and the people in the conference room. "Had to run an errand for my father."

"Well, it's about damn time," Saki told her, clearly annoyed. "Some of us have lives, you know!"

"And do you think I was just sitting around having tea?" Amai asked coolly. "I am not just an act here, you know: I do a lot of stuff for the company, too. I'm going to be vice president someday soon. And then I'll be your boss and you'll regret treating me like this!"

"You are nothing but a bootlicking, suck-up daddy's girl!" Saki accused.

"You're nothing but a two bit whore!" Amai countered.

"At least my father isn't a fruit!"

"At least my father is alive!"

There was a click, and everything in the room went quiet as all eyes slowly turned to Alexander, who was staring at the scene with eyes narrowed and gun ready to shoot. "There's such thing as crossing the line," he said coldly. "And I believe you two have done just that. Now are you going to play nice..." He fired a shot into the table. "Or are you not going to play at all?"

There was an awkward moment of silence, punctuated by another click of the hammer. Amai and Saki just looked like a pair of deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi. Even Shuichi was frozen in place: he'd known the boy shared K's love of guns and willingness to use them, but when combined with the "serious mode" he'd inherited from Ryuuichi he seemed like a truly dangerous adversary.

The only person not frightened in the least was Koji, as he stepped into the room and easily plucked the gun from the boy's grip, uncocking the hammer and ejecting the cartridge. "Little kids shouldn't play with such adult toys," he scolded, voice quiet but firm. "They'll hurt themselves or someone else." He handed the gun back, but pocketed the cartridge. "If you can find me later I'll give it back."

Alexander looked at Koji, eyes widening and then softening as he looked at everyone else standing in front of him. "I'm sorry," he said, looking down at the floor and blushing. "I don't know what happened. I-I lost control or something."

"It's okay," Saki said slowly, Amai nodding next to her. "I mean...you didn't hurt anyone, right?"

Koji slipped quietly out into the hall while no one was paying attention to him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Koji didn't expect to find Seguchi Tokui and Chen Quon Yue on the staircase as he made to exit the building. But sure enough, there they were. They were deep in conversation, but rather than try to listen he simply walked past them, causing them to cease conversation. Quon Yue stopped in his tracks and looked down at him, fascinated by his light steps and powerful yet quiet aura.

"You might want to go find Shindou-san, Seguchi-san," he shouted behind him, voice thickly accented.

Quon Yue gasped, recognizing the accent. "Nay hui meen gou ah?!" he called over the edge of the staircase.

"M gan yiu¹," Koji shouted back over his shoulder. Then he was gone.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was dark in the apartment when Shuichi and Tokui arrived home, having been dropped off by Hiro as usual. Tokui had seemed withdrawn all through the trip; moreso than he usually was. Shuichi had to actually inform him that the car had stopped in front of the apartment.

Tokui's eyes were distant and almost sad as Shuichi helped him into the apartment. He'd never seen the boy so upset before, and he found himself growing increasingly more worried each moment the already too-quiet teen didn't speak or even give any indication that he was part of the living world.

It was dark inside the apartment. The only lights Shuichi could see came from the muted television set and the light above the stove. Things were getting stranger by the minute, especially when he saw that Yuki was sitting on the couch, head resting on the leather back so that he was facing the ceiling, long legs crossed. As he heard the door open and closed he looked up to see his lover and very depressed nephew.

"Come here, Tokui," Yuki ordered, patting the couch next to him. His nephew obeyed, sitting down next to his uncle, who promptly wrapped an arm around him.

"What's going on?" Shuichi asked nervously, feeling like he'd missed something important.

Yuki sighed and put his head on the back of the couch again. "My father's dead," he said offhandedly.

"What?" Shuichi asked in disbelief, kicking off his shoes and walking over to the couch. He sat on the other side of Yuki.

"Tatsuha just called a couple of hours ago. He died this morning. Nothing major. Just fell over and died. Which isn't a surprise, since he's about two hundred years old."

"I'm...I'm so sorry," Shuichi said quietly. "Is there anything I can do?"

"Don't be sorry," Yuki said. "He was old. He died. That's what old people do."

"Are you trying to say you don't care that he's dead?"

Yuki sighed. "I'm not going to pretend I'm all upset about it. It feels weird because both of my parents are dead now, but I was never that close to him. I don't know. I just get this weird empty feeling when I think about it. We might not have gotten along and we might not have seen each other that much, but I just took it for granted that he would just always be there. Now I've got this...empty place inside. I don't know how to explain it."

Tokui didn't seem to be hearing this. He had never known his grandfather, and considering he was already lost in his own thoughts he wasn't allowing the knowledge that he never would get to know him sink in.

"When's the funeral?" Shuichi asked.

"Four days from now. I'm going to Kyoto tomorrow. And I'm going to take Tokui with me."

"Want me to come?"

"Come if you want," Yuki said, standing and leaving Shuichi and Tokui on the couch. They both watched Yuki as he retreated to his bedroom. Then Shuichi looked down at the boy. He knew why Yuki wanted to bring him with him: Tokui was like a son to him. Having never been close to his own father he'd naturally want to be there as a father figure to the timid teen.

Shuichi gave Tokui a brief one-armed embrace before following his lover into their bedroom. Tokui just sat in the dark for a few moments before turning off the television and walking into his own closet bedroom.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"So your grandfather died?" Quon Yue asked from his place on the top step, smoking a cigarette. "Sorry to hear that."

"I didn't know him," Tokui confessed. "I never went with my mother to see him and my uncle didn't get along with him. He never came to Tokyo, either."

"And yet you're going to the funeral?"

"Yes. We're leaving this afternoon."

"Then why did you bother coming here today?"

"To ask if you wanted to come."

Quon Yue looked down at Tokui, as if to see if he was serious. He dropped his cigarette, stepped it out, and descended the stairs. "You're asking me to come to Kyoto with you?"

"Eiri-ojisan said he'd buy you a train ticket. It was Shindou-san's idea."

Quon Yue sighed deeply, leaning back against the wall. He was wearing a black ruffled shirt and white pants with black boots today, hair tied into a loose ponytail. "It's been a while since I've been to a funeral."

Tokui looked down at the floor. "I've never been to one."

Quon Yue shrugged. "Nothing to it. You go in, pretend to be upset, listen to everyone cry, enjoy some free food, and you're out. Unless your grandfather was religious..."

"He was a Buddhist priest."

"Christ," Quon Yue muttered. "Well, I don't know how that goes. Only funeral I went to was probably just for a formality. No one there was religious. Just the human instinct to bury dead bodies."

Tokui just nodded. "So are you coming?"

Quon Yue stretched. "Why not? I've never been to Kyoto and it sounds like a good opportunity to piss off Mr. Suit."

"'Mr. Suit'?"

"Nakano-san."

Tokui nodded and looked at his watch, taking out an inhaler and shaking it before taking two inhalations. "Let's go find Shindou-san."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"She has to go," Mika said firmly to her ex-husband, pointing at her daughter, who was sitting on the couch in Touma's office, seemingly unphased by her mother's demands. Touma still wasn't looking one hundred percent, but he was doing better than he had been the previous day.

"Why? She never knew her grandfather," Touma pointed out. "I'm surprised Eiri-san is going and bringing Tokui. It should be Amai's choice if she wants to go to her grandfather's funeral and she's made her choice."

"Are you sure that's not your choice?" Mika asked, a dangerous edge in her voice.

"Kaasan, I don't even know the guy," Amai piped up. "I've never been to a funeral and I don't want the first one I go to to be for someone I don't know. I'm sad your father died but it's hard to miss someone you never knew."

Mika couldn't believe how cold her daughter was sounding. She looked between Touma and Amai, then turned around. "All right. Fine. Stay here. Heavens forbid you do a favor for your mother."

"Guilt trips don't work on my, Kaasan. I know I'm right."

Mika just left the office, not feeling the chill that seemed to descend on it as she did.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Tokui leaned back further into his seat, looking across from him. Quon Yue was read a book quietly, also, keeping his glance away from the window. Across the aisle Yuki and Shuichi were just watching the two teens, not sure what to make of them. This was the first time they had seen the boys together since the engagement party.

"Don't like trains?" Quon Yue asked offhandedly.

Tokui shrugged. "First time I've ever been on one. I'm afraid to look out the window," Tokui confessed softly, blushing slightly.

Quon Yue leaned forward and looked out the window. "Hmm....just the flaming wreckage of another train in the tracks. We're safe."

Tokui couldn't help but giggle at that. He looked out the window finally. The scene he saw was breathtaking: snow-covered fields and trees and a light snow falling over everything, illumated only by a pale, cloud-covered moon..

"It's beautiful..." he whispered softly.

Quon Yue just leaned back in his seat and shrugged. "Stars aren't out," was all he said as he switched off his reading light, leaning back further into his seat. He looked across the aisle and noticed Yuki and Shuichi were staring at them, marvelling at the fact they had managed to maintain a normal conversation, and even more amazed that Quon Yue had gotten Tokui to laugh.

"Well, won't be in Kyoto until morning," he said rather loudly. There were only about three other people in the train car besides them, none of which were asleep. He then pulled a pillow from the bin overhead and stuck it behind his head. "Night," he said tiredly, slipping off to sleep easily.

Tokui just stared at him for a moment before following suit. Yuki and Shuichi, realizing they were both asleep, also did so, Shuichi using Yuki's shoulder as a pillow (even though he had one of his own) and Yuki looking at the two boys for just a moment longer before finally drifting off himself.

End of Chapter Twelve, Part I

¹ Roughly translated from Cantonese:

Quon Yue: Who are you?

Koji: It doesn't matter.