title: with you
fandom: Natsume Yuujinchou
characters/pairings: Natsume/Tanuma, Nyanko-sensei
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Natsume and Tanuma, just one afternoon
notes: the Tanuma that is in the anime is a slightly different character than in the manga, but only slightly. the anime version is a bit more confident, whereas the manga version's personality mirrors Natsume's a bit more. i guess i'm drawing a bit more from the manga, then, but hopefully it won't be jarring to anyone who is only familiar with the anime. also, the image below is taken from the manga, volume 12, an in between chapters doodle.

Tanuma drilled his fingers against the handle of the refrigerator in a rhythmic, staccato beat. It was because he was nervous, though he told himself... there was no reason to be nervous, per se. He didn't have anything... well, cool to drink, but that most likely wouldn't matter. Natsume would say he liked anything Tanuma brought, but. Tanuma wanted to bring him something he actually would like, so he tried to remember what Natsume got to drink when they were just hanging out together. His mind was a blank, though.

Ponta was scratching at his legs, asking for something. Something to eat, probably. Tanuma was only halfway listening. He got a tray and put the drinks on there, juice, just juice, but that was the best he could do. He grabbed some snacks, too, though his father didn't really keep much in the way of snacks. It would probably be enough to keep Ponta happy. He was still nervous, but he managed to balance the tray and make his way back to his room.

Natsume was there. They were going to study together today.

 Even though they weren't in the same class. And Natsume would normally study with his friends. Nishimura and Kitamoto were Natsume's best friends. Tanuma knew that, and it didn't even make him jealous, really. Because he was the one that Natsume shared the important things with, at least, the important things he was able to share. Or, rather, the important things he felt like sharing. Tanuma would depress himself if he thought about it too much. He was the only one, though... no, wait, himself, and Taki. They were the only ones who really knew Natsume.

But Nishimura and Kitamoto, and the Fujiwaras, they were the ones who got to see Natsume how he wanted to be. The person he'd be without all the trouble with things other people couldn't see. So they were his best friends, but Natsume... Natsume was his friend. And they were going to study together today. Tanuma's father wasn't home, and they weren't really in the same class... but... it didn't really mean anything except that they were going to study. Right now, Natsume was in Tanuma's room.

That was all it meant.

"I brought juice," Tanuma announced quietly. He stopped in the doorway, though. Natsume didn't answer him. He really couldn't. He was laying face down on Tanuma's bed, the manga Tanuma had been showing him still in his hand, sort of. But not.

For a half of a horrible second, Tanuma thought something had gotten Natsume, but then he could hear the soft sound of Natsume breathing as he... he slept. Natsume was sleeping on his bed.

"That kid is really an idiot. He was up all night chasing some damned youkai. He didn't tell you, did he?" Ponta cackled, though he didn't sound mean, precisely. Sometimes, Tanuma thought of Ponta as Natsume's frustrated, caring uncle or something. Like some relative that was a bit too cantankerous to be kind, but he still wanted to look out for Natsume.

It still made Tanuma feel small.

"It's all right," Tanuma said easily. He set the tray down on the low table in his room, and sat on the floor next to the bed. "He can sleep if he wants."

 Natsume was asleep on his bed. Natsume was asleep on his bed. Natsume was entirely stretched out over his bed. In fact, Natsume's face was in his pillow. Natsume was sleep-smelling Tanuma's scent, and when he woke up, Tanuma's pillow would smell like Natsume, only, no, it would smell like Natsume and Tanuma together.


This entire line of thought was so inappropriate, Tanuma couldn't handle it. It wasn't like he wanted to crawl up on the bed with Natsume... crawl up there and... and...

No, he didn't want to do that. First of all, that would be completely and totally embarrassing. And. Natsume. Natsume probably wouldn't like that, anyway. Natsume... didn't feel for Tanuma what Tanuma felt for Natsume. To Tanuma, Natsume was the precious friend he could share everything with, but to Natsume, Tanuma was the friend he could share with, but not everything. Never everything.

So, it was probably ok that Tanuma had one secret, too, but he shouldn't be thinking about this. Shouldn't be... wanting this...

He fidgeted a little bit. He really didn't want to bother Natsume, especially if he didn't get to sleep last night. He tried not to do something as embarrassing and silly as just... watching Natsume sleep. After finding himself sneaking glances at Natsume, Tanuma decided he needed something to do. They were going to study together, so...

He crawled over and grabbed his mp3 player, and then crawled some more to get his headphones. He wished Ponta would eat more quietly. Natsume was sleeping. He dialed up some music, and leaned back against the bed. He looked over at Natsume, and smiled a bit. He... he wanted Natsume to hear this song, too. Maybe later, though.

At least... at least Natsume felt completely at peace with him. So at peace, he could just fall asleep in Tanuma's bed. They were... at least that close.

Ponta came up to him and started to bug him for more snacks. Really, he was cuter when he was being curmudgeonly protective of Natsume. Tanuma just put his hand on Ponta's forehead.

"Sh. He's sleeping."

 Tanuma actually did want to touch him. Natsume's skin and hair looked so soft... well, even if they weren't soft... they looked... looked...

See, Tanuma didn't want to think this way. He just wanted to enjoy being near Natsume, just enjoy being what help, what comfort he could be, so. He didn't need to have desires like that... selfish desires.

Natsume did fall asleep on his bed, though. And.

It made Tanuma happy.

Maybe it was selfish, maybe it was wrong. Maybe it was even pathetic. But it was his own feeling, and as long as he didn't... didn't try to push that onto Natsume... well. It was his own feeling. That was all.

Sometimes, he did think about what would happen when they were finished with school. Their paths would diverge... and who knew what sort of life they would lead. Nishimura and Kitamoto didn't have to think about this sort of thing, because they were Natsume's best friends, and they were, well, normal. So it was normal to just assume that they would stay in touch. Tanuma wasn't so sure. He was sure, though, that he didn't want to come to day when he would never see Natsume again.

He wanted to have lots more days like this, when they could just be together. And Natsume... could trust Tanuma completely.

Natsume began to stir, and then he stretched a bit and started to turn over. Tanuma slipped his headphones off a bit, and just... grinned a bit.

It was just a fact that Natsume was cute when he was waking up.

"Tanuma?" Natsume asked, still blinking himself awake. "Ah... did I fall asleep?"

"Nishimura said you were always falling asleep in class, too," Tanuma teased him. "Is just the thought of schoolwork enough to make you tired?"

Natsume just stared at him for a moment, and it was like they could both feel that there was something that wasn't being said between them. Then, Natsume just smiled brightly. "That's why I need your help! It would be kinda bad to fail, right?"

Tanuma laughed. "Yes, I think failure is generally considered a bad thing."