Rating: M Fandom: 機動戦士ガンダム 鉄血のオルフェンズ | Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Pairing: Norba Shino/Yamagi Gilmerton Tags: First Kiss, Love Confessions, Boys Kissing, Graphic Description, Character Death, Fluff and Angst Word Count: 2406 Notes: For @for-the-saba Summary: “Sh… Shino?” His voice warbles, barely an octave above a whisper but the other appears to hear it just fine.
“Yamagi,” Shino says with relief. “You had me worried there for a second.”
Confusion begins to sink in; his last moments flicker before his eyes like negatives on a moving picture reel. “But,” he begins, suddenly aware of the hammock beneath him and the cold air that fills the room and the person he thought was dead is very much alive.
The feather-light strip of bandage wrapped tight around his clenched fist begins to weigh down his arm as if it were made of lead. Yamagi can’t will his legs to move, his feet planted to metal beneath as if they were encased in concrete. Something tells him to hold on — to just wait five more minutes. Something tells him that this is the moment.
Fear gnaws at his insides leaving them raw and aching; every barrage of explosions bring in a fresh wave of nausea and sickly, burning bile rises up his throat. There have been many times where he has felt fear, but nothing will ever compare to this. Not ever.
A voice begins to scratch inside his head; persistent and needy. It starts off small and near silent; annoying and nagging, pulling at the coils of his brain until they feel like they’ve all unraveled. From there it gets louder and louder; pounding until sharp fissures crack along the walls of his skull. Until he can no longer ignore it and he hears it clearly over the cacophony of sounds coming from both inside and outside the ship. It tells him to give up hope; it tells him it’s already too late.
Yamagi’s chest pulls tighter; his lungs are starting to feel like they’re filling up with fluid when really it’s stale oxygen he has yet to expel. He feels like he’s drowning, slowly sinking into an unending abyss while all the while falling up to a surface he cannot breach.
Then the sound comes — the most dreadful sound he’s ever heard in the entirety of his short life. It’s the sound of Orga’s voice, strained and all too telling. The name Yamagi fears echoes hollow throughout the ship, reverberating off the metal plates like a defeated battle cry.
It starts in his knees as they become sore and weak like he’s supporting three times his bodyweight on his shoulders. Yamagi’s legs begin to tremble, the muscles begin to decay until they feel like liquid. His body begins to shake until every joint has puddled and he becomes as limp as string, tethered to nothing and no one and he sways to the violent aftershock of a large explosion. The final blow ends in his arm. It tingles, prickling pain until it goes completely numb and hand that holds the only thing he has left of Shino’s becomes as heavy as a steel mallet. Gravity drives him down to his knees and suddenly everything begins to spin. Whirling around and around until all Yamagi sees is a wet blur of light and colour. He’s dangerously close to vomiting inside his helmet and he’s barely getting enough oxygen as it is. His lungs feel as though they’re about to burst, ballooning against his ribs until each one snaps under the agonizing pressure. His heart bleeds out their final beats, each one more slow and torturous than the last. The chaotic commotion clamouring around him ceases as his vision begins to fade a murky black around the edges and that’s when Yamagi realises he’s dying of heartbreak and somehow, he’s okay with that.
His name. He hears it again and again, disembodied and increasing insistently in volume until he has to cover his ears to keep them from bleeding.
How cruel, he thinks, that his name would sound so gritty yet pleasant; a unique hybrid of sound that belonged to only one man that was just as unique. He’s gone now, Yamagi reminds himself and though the world around him remains empty black like he’s floating in the vastness of space itself, Yamagi feels like this must be heaven. The place where souls go to be reborn.
One side of his body begins to rock; calmingly at first but as the alarm in the voice gets louder, his body shakes harder. He’s not even aware of how he feels the movement as he’s not aware of a corporeal body here, aimlessly suspended in perpetual darkness — a limbo of sorts.
There it is again, that awful noise. Merciless and unending, so damn bright that Yamagi can almost see the luminance far off into the distance. It begins to grow and take shape before him, balling into something round and beautifully iridescent, spinning towards him. There’s nowhere for Yamagi to run yet he doesn’t fear it. It soon engulfs him in its radiance, so bright that it’s blinding and he has to blink through the dried tears that have sealed shut his eyes —
“Hey!” There’s laughter and it sounds all too familiar and Yamagi doesn’t trust the signals his senses relay to his brain.
He can see. He can see the edge of a jaw, lips splayed out into a grin and two eyes that shine like raw gold through the darkness. He needs to blink again, there are tears welling up and they burn but he’s afraid to close his eyes again. In front of him is a sight worth never taking his eyes off of, even if it means never blinking again.
“Sh… Shino?” His voice warbles, barely an octave above a whisper but the other appears to hear it just fine.
“Yamagi,” Shino says with relief. “You had me worried there for a second.”
Confusion begins to sink in; his last moments flicker before his eyes like negatives on a moving picture reel. “But,” he begins, suddenly aware of the hammock beneath him and the cold air that fills the room and the person he thought was dead is very much alive.“But you’re —”
“Fine!” Shino interjects. His grin broadens as he slides his good arm under Yamagi’s head. “Just my arm, but I don’t even feel it now! We won, Yamagi! I did it! We did it with the Super Galaxy Cannon! Went right through the cockpit and speared the guy right in the face! Ah man, you shoulda seen it! I was awes—”
Yamagi’s heart is pounding in his chest. Looking up at him now, seeing that smile like he doesn’t have a care in the world. He can’t bear to look at it. “Shino.”
His grin drops, his eyes widen just a little too much. “Hey, hey,” he recovers with a laugh. “Where’s my praise? Shouldn’t you —”
The tears have started falling, rolling across his temples into the fabric in wet, hot streams. Yamagi props himself up on his elbows, still feeling woozy. “Enough,” Yamagi says softly, wanting to allow himself the elation he should be feeling instead of this heavy dread.
Shino stops and stares, unblinking like he’s been caught in a crossfire. He doesn’t say a word but Yamagi can almost see cogs shifting and gears turning inside the other’s head. How nice is it to be able to see that once again, Yamagi thinks and all the anger and confusion begins to dissipate until he’s left with nothing but overwhelming relief.
“Enough,” he says again but his voice cracks and the levee breaks and the tears flow freely. His chest heaves an awful cry that sticks in his throat but finally he can breathe. The air strikes fire in his lungs, leading heat throughout his veins until his skin burns hot. “Was it,” Yamagi asks between sobs, “was it —”
“Yeah,” Shino exhales as his arm wraps around Yamagi’s shoulders. “Yeah, it was enough. It’s all over now.”
Yamagi buries his face in Shino’s chest and deeply inhales. He smells of sweat and blood and fuel but it’s the sweetest scent Yamagi has ever smelled. “I’m… I’m so glad,” he cries.
He feels Shino’s nose press into his hair and there’s a moment where Shino just holds him tight, so tight that Yamagi can delude himself into believing the other will never let go. It’s warm here, in Shino’s embrace and even if Yamagi never has a home to return to, this is the only place he’d rather be. Here, in this moment with nothing else but the sound of Shino’s heart beat pulsing softly through his chest.
But then the moment is over just as quick as it began. Shino pulls away from him and Yamagi is left once more with the numbing cold. He uses the back of his hand to wipe away the tears and finds himself sniffling through the subsiding sobs.
“Yamagi… there’s something I need to tell you.” Shino’s tone is serious, not one Yamagi is used to hearing and he knows now what the other plans to say next. It’s fine if his feelings remain unrequited so long as he’s able to see Shino alive and breathing, laughing boisterously through the corridors of the ship and ignoring all laws of personal space. He can deal with all of that as long as Shino is happy.
So he nods in invitation and braces himself for impact. The words will hurt regardless but it will be nothing compared to how the alternative felt.
“I was… Eugene was. I mean, we were —” Shino stops to laugh nervously and run his hand through his hair. It’s dark in the shadows cast off by the cot above but Yamagi can still see colour filling the other’s cheeks.
“Just… say it,” Yamagi resigns, more bitterly than he intended. He can’t bear to look at Shino’s face anymore and see the pity in his eyes when Shino breaks his heart.
“Well see, I know — No.” Shino draws in a breath. “Remember that promise right before I headed out? Remember that I told you I was going to take you out and we’d get drinks, just the two of us? Well I… I don’t think I can do that now.”
There it is, Yamagi thinks as his heart sinks into his stomach. “It’s fine,” Yamagi replies shakily. “Some other time.”
“Yeah,” Shino agrees and when Yamagi brings himself to look up, Shino is smiling again. No, grinning. Wider than Yamagi has ever seen. “When my arm heals and Orga’s done with business, that is.”
“I see.” Yamagi nods slowly and forces a smile. “Sure.”
“Good. Great. Then it’s a date!” exclaims Shino, shifting on his knees so that he’s impossibly closer.
Yamagi raises his a brow. “A date?” This isn’t a joke, he thinks and has half a mind to remind Shino of it. But he bows his head and allows himself a smile. Even if it doesn’t mean what Yamagi wants it to mean, he’ll take it. Shino is alive and the war is over and they can go home without ever having to live through the nightmare of losing someone they love ever again. It feels as if there’s a giant weight lifted off of his shoulders and — his train of thought is suddenly derailed when he feels the slow slide of fingers underneath his jaw, up the side of his face and into his hair. His heart stalls out on a beat and when he glances up, Shino is looking at him in earnest. Yamagi can see light dancing in his eyes, his mouth cocked into some half-assed grin. He’s never looked so serious yet not in all the times Yamagi’s had the pleasure of looking at his face. He thinks it’s an expression he’ll remember forever.
“So Yamagi… will you accept this until then?”
Yamagi’s brows knit pensively as his heart picks up pace, each beat firing more rapidly than the last. His breathing gets more shallow and he fears he may pass out again. “A-accept what?”
There’s a laugh and Shino’s fingers are pushing the hair off his face and finding purchase once more in his hair. Yamagi watches as Shino’s eyes fall to his mouth and suddenly he feels sick with panic but before he can push away, Shino’s ducking in and then there are lips pressed against his own. For a minute, Yamagi goes still, frozen in place as if the subtlest of movements will ruin the moment. But then Shino’s mouth is moving; something warm fans along the seam of his lips and Yamagi succumbs to the instincts screaming to take over. His hand reaches out and grabs Shino’s hip, his fingers sink into skin hard enough to leave behind starry bruises but if he let’s go now he runs the risk of everything disappearing into a cloud of smoke.
Yamagi’s lips part and then there’s heat against his tongue. Shino licks at the roof of his mouth and maybe it’s a little too wet and maybe there’s a little too much teeth but the inexperience of it all makes this experience worthwhile. His stomach drops out and suddenly he’s weightless at zero gravity, melting into Shino’s warmth. He can feel Shino’s fingers trace down his spine until he reaches around and pulls at Yamagi, encouraging him even closer. Yamagi isn’t sure how but he complies, his body turning and maneuvering so that both his legs end up on either side of Shino’s ribs and Shino has to tip his head up to keep their mouths from parting for even a fraction of a breath. Yamagi brings his hands up to frame Shino’s face, his thumbs slide against the ridges of his cheeks and his fingers curl into Shino’s wiry hair. Everything fits and falls into place and Yamagi feels like he’s finally found the place where he belongs. Here in this moment, here by Shino’s side. Here is home.
Warmth blossoms in his chest, spiraling out into all his limbs, buzzing with a euphoria Yamagi would never be able to describe in words. Even when they part and Shino rests his forehead against Yamagi’s own and laughs, Yamagi knows that this moment is never going to end. Even when it actually does, he’ll be able to hold this in his memory and relive this feeling for all eternity.
He’s smiling so wide that it crinkles the corners of his eyes and Yamagi feels like it couldn’t get better. “That was —”
But Yamagi isn’t ready to let go just yet. There’s something Shino needs to hear to make everything entirely complete. So he dips in one last time and presses his lips to Shino’s. “I love you,” he murmurs against Shino’s lips, forming the words around a kiss that feels more like a goodbye than a confession.
“I love you too,” Shino hums, the thrumming vibration burning through every inch of Yamagi’s body. The moment is perfect, something Yamagi could only dream of.
I would be the person who would look at the hearts of people and try to heal the wounds that they have. But never do I heal the wounds that my own crying heart has. I sprinkle love in their hearts and never leave some for myself.