left my heart in camelot. ♕ (choseri) wrote in starry_ink,
left my heart in camelot. ♕
choseri
starry_ink

Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Fruits Basket, YukiKyo, #20)

Title: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Author/Artist: arizaki_shisaku 
Pairing: Sohma Yuki x Sohma Kyo
Fandom: Fruits Basket
Theme: #20 - The Road Home
Disclaimer: I don't own Fruits Basket. ;__;

written for 30_kisses 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The winter air outside was crisp and cold on Sohma Yuki’s unguarded cheeks as he stepped outside of the door of his apartment building and surveyed the surroundings. The parking lot of his apartment complex looked the same as ever, with a thin covering of frost coating his blue 2006 Toyota Camry parked loyally under the dogwood tree that was his designated parking spot. The tree’s branches were devoid of leaves in this time of winter, and at this hour of the morning, barely after dawn, few people were up and about besides Yuki.

The handle of his car door was cold to the touch, despite Yuki’s gloved hands. He quickly hopped in and jammed the key into the ignition, a small, silly, plastic orange cat that he had purchased in Japan attached to his key ring and jarring the rest of his keys and smashing against the dashboard.

The engine purred to life without much trouble, and Yuki cranked the heat on as high as it would go before he tossed his briefcase onto the passenger seat next to him (it was so odd to drive on this side of a car – and these American cars were so spacious, despite Toyota being a familiar Japanese brand). The briefcase was of the finest black leather, and some stared oddly at such a breathtakingly handsome young man walking around with a briefcase like some stodgy old professor. The briefcase had been a late birthday gift from Yuki’s cousin, Shigure, in Japan, and Yuki had been touched that Shigure had semi-remembered his birthday (the clueless Shigure had only been a week and a half off, a new record – the worst case had been two months off) and had gotten him a fairly useful gift to celebrate his twenty-sixth birthday instead of a gift that Shigure would find hilarious to give to someone for their birthday, like a cup of ramen.

Sohma Yuki (or Yuki Sohma, as the Americans said) was twenty-nine years old, and he lived in America. More specifically, he lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he worked at the university and owned a lab dealing in the fine science of biochemistry, an odd venture for a former animal of the Sohma-cursed zodiac (the zodiac had dissolved after the death of Akito). Yuki’s relatives in Japan didn’t know why Yuki had chosen such an unglamorous job like being a biochemist, when in America, he could jet off to Hollywood, or Broadway. But Yuki found science intriguing, and really, sometimes he would much rather stay at the lab than go home.

The traffic on the boulevard was light, and the few lingering grey clouds in the sky dissipated, revealing an iridescently blue sky that was deceiving of the actual harsh cold outside. Yuki thought miserably that North Carolina, in the American South, shouldn’t have been this cold in the winter, because when he had moved here he had stupidly thought that North Carolina would be like Florida, where he had visited (for Disney World) two years ago with a certain redhead he’d rather not think about at the moment.

He turned left on Estes Drive, going down the road, past the Chapel Hill Public Library, until he turned sharply into the Caribou coffee next to the traffic light and swerved into a parking space, killing the engine and getting out of the car in a merciless blast of cold air.

Yuki wrapped his cream colored cashmere scarf around himself (he liked this scarf, thank you very much, despite Haru’s repeated protests that it made Yuki look like a gay transsexual) more tightly as he shoved through the door and ordered his usual large black coffee (so Yuki had discovered that American caffeine was cheaper and better than Japanese caffeine and had fallen into a bad habit – not an addiction – of buying coffee every morning and often several more ensuing times throughout the day).

The service was fast, and Yuki gratefully sipped the hot beverage (plus two creams, no sugar) as the hot coffee in the cup warmed his gloved hands. The rest of the short drive to the university was peacefully quiet, as Yuki thought about what experiments he wanted to wrap up today and which lab reports he had yet to finish up (and he couldn’t hand them off to any of his underlings).

He drove down East Franklin Street, past the Chapel Hill Museum, and finally he entered the grand road that was “Franklin Street” (technically, East Franklin), the main road of downtown Chapel Hill where bars, souvenir shops for university paraphernalia, and kitschy restaurants thrived.

It was barely 6:20 in the morning, but already there were a few students, bravely clothed against the cold, rushing into the Starbucks on the corner of East Franklin and Columbia. Yuki went out of his way to work to go to the Caribou coffee shop off of Estes Drive because he liked the coffee there more, and plus, there weren’t usually any (legal) parking spots outside of this particular Starbucks.

The light turned green and Yuki turned left, hooking a right past the Carolina Inn, in all of its grand glory (Yuki had been in awe the first time he had stepped inside for a function hosted by the university), and then a left on Pittsburgh Street, keeping down until he reached Manning Drive, the main road of the UNC campus – the Dental School, the UNC hospitals, and the Dean Smith Center (home of the famed UNC basketball team that Yuki didn’t follow because he wasn’t a basketball fan) were all right here, but right now, Yuki couldn’t have cared less. He saw these same buildings almost every day, and after a couple of years, they started to get old.

After parking his car in the parking deck for UNC employees, Yuki strode purposefully through the bitterly cold weather, heaving a visible sigh of relief when he swiped his card (he fancied that he looked like a moron on the ID card he was issued with his photograph, and for God’s sake, his hair was flattened on one side and that was just unacceptable) and Yuki could definitely see split ends) and entered the warm research building. The elevator ride was peaceful, and he was, naturally, the first one to the lab.

The machinery hummed quietly and Yuki threw on the lights, tossing his coat onto his desk as he unlocked his office. He sat down in his chair, shuffling over whatever papers his employees had tossed onto his desk before he pressed his blinking voicemail button.

“Yuuuuuuuki-kun!! It’s Ayame!” Yuki winced at his older brother’s obnoxiously loud voice and wondered why Ayame had chosen to leave the message at his work phone, and not at his home phone. “We all miss you!” By “we”, Ayame meant the rest of the Sohma family, and he’d been saying that for the last few months, after Yuki returned from his previous visit to Japan. “Call me back soon! Love you.”

Yuki managed a smile at Ayame’s antics, and continued reviewing lab reports. His eyes strayed to the only framed picture on his desk, of a younger Yuki, barely fresh from college, smiling at the camera with an orange-haired man about Yuki’s age with startling red eyes.

Kyo.

Yuki took a sip of coffee and sighed. They had been together once, but then Kyo had been devastated that after college, Yuki’s deep interest in science, as well as his superior English skills, had earned him a position at UNC as a referral from a former friend that also worked at the university. Yuki had then slowly worked his way up the ranks, soon owning his own lab, and Kyo had stayed in Japan, working in a film company because he wanted to be a movie director.

They had been rivals, once. Through middle school, and then high school, Kyo had been the only one that could seriously rile up Yuki and the adrenaline of the fight would spark between them and they would go at it, persistently, never backing down, until somebody forced them apart. But then, after attending the same college, Yuki realized that Kyo wasn’t only his rival, but the cat was also his best friend, as odd as it may have been.

And then after college, Yuki had moved onto graduate school, and Kyo had done odd jobs around town while trying to land a spot at a film school, or a film company to pursue his dream. Their first kiss had seriously been accidental, while living as roommates in a simple apartment in Kyoto, where Yuki attended school (and Kyo had come along just for the heck of it).

But then Yuki found out how good of a kisser Kyo was, and he was disconcerted to find out that he was, indeed, gay, and he spent a long time pondering this new development until one day over onigri for dinner (prepared by Kyo, of course, since Yuki was hopeless at cooking), Kyo declared that he was gay.

Well, that’s helpful, Kyo.

So after pretending to get drunk at a bar, but not really getting drunk, Yuki went home and kissed Kyo. And judging by Kyo’s reaction as he kissed Yuki back, Yuki thought maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing that he was gay.

They had stayed together all through Yuki’s years at the graduate school, until Yuki moved to America. But now in America, Yuki felt so lonely, even though his American colleagues had accepted him a long time ago. He felt like he wanted to go back home, except Yuki didn’t really know what home was.

“Dr. Sohma?” Jenny, one of his lab researcher, poked her head through the door, effectively pulling Yuki out of his ruminations.

“Yes?” he asked, as calmly and smoothly as ever.

“The autoclave is broken again,” she said anxiously. “I was here last night, and I swear it was working fine—”

“I’ll go take a look at it,” he reassured her, and hastily stood up, tearing his eyes away from the picture of him, and Kyo, and brushed past her on his way out the door.

--

The day passed by uneventfully, with Jenny’s problem with the autoclave being the only situation that demanded his attention the entire day.

Yuki was usually the last one to leave the office, unless some of his researchers chose to come back to the lab later at night to complete an experiment, or something. This time around, Yuki was filling out another grant proposal for his lab, and five light taps sounded on the door.

Yuki’s breath caught in his throat. It was probably mere coincidence, but whenever Kyo had knocked, it had always been five precise knocks.

One time, Yuki had asked him why, and Kyo had explained, blushing, that it stood for “I love you, Yuki.”

“Come in,” Yuki called out, his voice even.

The door swung open and Yuki flicked his eyes to the newcomer, and promptly dropped his pen.

It was Kyo.

“What are you doing here?” were the first words out of Yuki’s mouth, and they may have been rude, but they were fitting. North Carolina was definitely not even remotely close to Japan, and Yuki’s last visit had only been a few months ago.

“I missed you,” Kyo replied a bit shyly and Yuki marveled at how much Kyo had changed, all in the space of five months.

“But also,” he continued, “today’s our anniversary. January 28, remember?”

“I—right,” Yuki mumbled.

Kyo smiled, his crooked little smile that melted Yuki’s heart a little bit every time he saw it because that was the smile Kyo reserved specially for Yuki.

“Don’t tell me you forgot, you kuso nezumi,” Kyo murmured. “I wanted to be here for our anniversary.”

Yuki couldn’t help grin back at Kyo, despite his protests. “I did not forget our anniversary.”

Kyo crossed the space of Yuki’s office in a few quick steps. “Sure, Yuki,” he breathed, his breath as silky as ever against Yuki’s cheekbone, before his warm lips covered Yuki’s and Yuki remembered how good, exactly, it felt to be with Kyo, everywhere.

As Kyo pulled away and his glimmering red eyes beckoned to me, Yuki realized that going back home wasn’t that hard.

As long as he was with Kyo, he was home.

-fin
Tags: 30_kisses, chapel hill, fruits basket, yukikyo
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