Disclaimer: Gravitation does not belong to me or anything. I’m merely borrowing its characters for amusement purposes. I don’t get anything out of this but… fun and amusement. No, really.
A/N: Please don’t take this fic too seriously. I began this fic last December and have been really just writing it on and off. It began as a weird whim, you know? A weird urge and my goal had been to get Eiri to strangle Shuichi in a bathtub. I hadn’t really meant for it to drag out this long, the whole thing is around, maybe, twenty-thousand words. One thing led to another though and it bloated into one long fic where I find a way to hurt Shuichi one way or another… (laugh) Yes. So please, forgive the OOCness and just, read if you like. I was thinking it would be a sad, sad waste to throw away something this big even if it’s really… crappy. I’m posting it in three, four parts so, if anyone likes it… please comment and make me happy D:!
Also, it somewhat deteriorates towards the end and this hasn’t been really edited by anyone but me (I’ll get to that, really) and I had Aja/imayb1 read through it a while and…. she was…. swamped and yeah, I can’t remember whether I edited it or not so for now, please bear with me. :D Finally, this fic is dedicated to Rula.. err.. RuliRuli. You know who you are! You kept me going at this fic and yeah, probably scrapped this one without you :3!
He knew those eyes were watching him; a pair of striking blue eyes that almost didn’t seem blue in the glaring bright lights above them. The boy, or maybe it was a man who looked far younger than his real age, was smiling ever so slightly at him from across the other platform. It was discomforting but he ignored the man, intent on getting on the next train that arrived, wherever it was bound to, hoping to get away from Tokyo anyway he could.
The telltale sound of wheels booming on the tracks sounded in his ears and within a matter of moments his vision was clouded with a blur of white. Still, those eyes remained fixed on him or at least, that was what he felt. He told himself, fervently almost, to ignore the man and to get his feet moving, after all, here was a train and a train was all he needed to escape from the chaos that seemed to hound him everywhere he went. However, he could not find the strength to do so, the will to take that first step that would inevitably render everything else past and irreversible and hopeless. Before he could berate himself for stalling, the doors in front of him closed and the last train for that day was gone, leaving him stranded.
He looked up and found the man, the boy, still on the other side of the station, watching him. The slight smile on the boy’s lips widened into a full-blown grin and then he waved at him, like an old friend to another. He was dumbfounded, but reaction came moments too late when the boy jumped off the platform and began walking towards him.
He stood then, right in front of him as if jumping onto the tracks was an everyday thing, and beamed at him innocently. He noticed then that the boy had brown hair that looked disturbingly red beneath the overhead lights underneath the red cap he wore.
“Stranded?” The boy asked cheerfully, gloved hands dug into his coat’s pockets. He sounded older and younger at the same time but Eiri felt the other was definitely older than him. Before he could nod, the boy continued, this time arching his head to the unknown that lay beyond the tracks to his right and the silhouette the sleepless city made in background. “If you want, you can stay with me, at least until tomorrow and then we can head over to the station again first thing in the morning.”
That was when he found his voice, seemingly, and very soon he found himself speaking in the thick, sarcasm-laden voice he hadn’t heard in a while, “Why should I?”
The boy seemed to laugh lightly at him, “I’m not forcing you, I’m suggesting. If you don’t want, I don’t mind at all.”
“I don’t mind.” He answered immediately and then frowned before scoffing, “I don’t have any place to go anyway.”
Something flickered in the boy’s eyes and his eyes softened before finally smiling at him. “What’s your name?”
“I don’t give my name to people unless they tell me theirs first.” He deadpanned and the boy laughed, the voice sounding vaguely familiar and almost musical, if only for the hollow echo that it seemed to contain.
“Shindou Shuichi – that’s my name.” The boy blinked and then added, “You can call me Shuichi, if you like. So what’s your name?”
Unsatisfied but loathe to do anything else, he stared at the boy for a few short moments before finally replying.
“Eiri. Just Eiri.”
“Well Eiri, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Shuichi said quietly, with an equally quiet smile that told Eiri the boy and his new acquaintance was hiding something and was more than he seemed. The brunette held out his hand then and Eiri, without hesitation, took the smaller man’s hand into his.
“I didn’t know you were really blonde.” Shuichi noted with a tinge of surprise, and maybe outright fascination, when their faces were mere inches apart and their eyes met. Eiri did not smile back or react to the man’s comment in any way, when the smaller man’s hand slipped from his grasp, he could not help but think back on the delicate, near-bony fingers underneath those soft woolen gloves or the near weightlessness of the man.
He imagined the fingers under those gloves were cold, if not frozen, and void of any warmth.
Just like him.
The hotel room was relatively spacious, not homely but furnished with two beds (for which he was grateful for) and a bathroom that was clean enough for Eiri’s standards. Shuichi walked ahead of him, throwing the only luggage he carried, a black leather bag, onto his bed before collapsing on it, arms spread out wide. The brunette turned to him and smiled; “Don’t you just love cheap hotels?”
Eiri shook his head and sat himself on the other bed, “I don’t care about hotels, to begin with.”
The smaller man’s eyes narrowed into slits that gleamed with mischief as he shifted his weight on the side facing the blonde and propped his head up an arm. “You prefer to stay in love hotels?” Shuichi whispered, his voice carrying an undeniable seductive tone, as he languidly stretched on the small bed, letting his blonde companion eye him.
Eiri imagined those suddenly luscious lips curving ever so slightly in a non-too-innocent smile as he stepped forward, his eyes seemingly falling into place as it met and was held in the smaller man’s intense gaze. There was something about this man that intrigued him, that troubled him and, most of all, made him fear the deep dark shadows in his mind and what they hid within themselves. Finally, snapping out of his stupor, he opened his mouth and spoke, realizing for the first time that night how chapped his lips had become due to the cold.
“I don’t mind that either.” Eiri said, in a whisper though he did not do so on purpose. Even so, that tiny whisper sounded so loud in his ears; so painfully, terribly loud. So loud it seemed to fill their small quarters and his ears. He clamped his mouth shut afterwards, letting his lips press together so tightly in order to keep anything from escaping. To himself, he thought about how this was his first time outside the carefully placed, invisible, walls his older sister and her husband had made around him and how this was the first time he’d been in a dingy old hotel in the outskirts of Tokyo. He had never thought of ever needing to settle down in a hotel, in a warm bed, anywhere at all, when his energy left him finally. All he’d thought was of running away, as far as he could from the darkness that threatened to overwhelm him, from his sister’s suffocating vigilance and then, himself.
The cold, freezing fingers on his lips were chilling but, ultimately pleasant and when he looked up, he found his companion, his ‘friend’, the boyish man standing above him, his face hidden in the shadow the light behind him created, looking down at him. Eiri couldn’t read the expression on the brunette’s face and all he could focus on was the way the smaller man’s hair looked red in the white light. Shuichi traced Eiri’s lips with his freezing fingers and then, gently pressed them deeper until they were within.
“You should go back to your family, Eiri-kun.” Eiri heard him whisper gently and then the fingers in his mouth were withdrawn. It was seconds later when he realized and then, surprisingly, began to miss the soft fingers in his mouth. He rose from the bedside, not quite sure when he’d sat down and padded towards the center of the room. He stared at the bathroom door, and then at its silver doorknob, not quite sure of what to do. When he heard the sound of the shower running he sat down again, confused and deeply troubled.
Shuichi emerged from the steaming bathroom a little more than half an hour later, his face red from the heat and clad only in a bathrobe that almost left nothing to the imagination (and was obviously not from the hotel itself). Eiri swallowed and turned his gaze away then, not missing the amused smile dancing on the other’s lips shortly. “You like what you see? Eiri-kun?” Shuichi whispered slowly as he slipped out of the sheer bathrobe and began dressing himself in his clothes again. Eiri noted how he, like him, carried no change of clothing, but decided not to say anything.
“Aren’t you taking a shower yourself?” The brunette asked again after some time and Eiri replied with a simple headshake that seemed to have effectively silenced his companion. They didn’t speak for the rest of the night after that and Eiri found sleep claim him long after Shuichi had decided to close the lights.
The next morning, Eiri awoke to a gentle heat on his face, one that reminded him of home and the suffocation warmth and perfection that reigned over him. Deep down, the fact that he was no longer there, trapped within their nets lingered, floating in the sea of despair and refusing to go down into the abyss. It gave him comfort, if only a small measure of it.
“….yone knows anything about his current whereabouts, please contact us.”
His eyes shot open, shock, surprise and fear suddenly pooling into his mind. He sat up and was greeted with an amused laugh from his companion who momentarily switched the TV off. “Had a nightmare, Eiri-kun?” Shuichi asked quietly, holding in the amused laughter within him with a secure smile that made Eiri edge back protectively.
“Stay back.” Eiri hiss venomously but this only made Shuichi chuckle.
“Did that scare you, Eiri-kun?” The brunette sat himself on his bedside, ignoring Eiri’s earlier reaction and seemingly intent on provoking him more. It made Eiri pensive and increasingly intimidated. But at the same time, he was afraid. Somehow, he had an idea of what Shuichi had been watching then, before he so kindly turned the television off before. It had been about him, his family was looking for him and Shuichi knew it. That fact frightened him most; Shuichi knew.
It made him feel like he was suddenly under the complete power of the smaller man and as if to confirm his thoughts, the smile on Shuichi’s luscious lips widened.
“Were you worried about your family asking the public to bring their prince back?”Eiri recognized the predatory look on the other’s face. “Were you w—“
There was a loud smack, followed by a loud thump as the brunette’s body was thrown to the floor between the two beds by the impact. Eiri’s eyesight blurred as his pupils dilated into needlepoint and shock wrecked through his body. He brought his hand close to his face, feeling the shadows creeping closer from the corner of his vision. The sight of red on his pale palm was disconcerting and his tilted his head up, turning his gaze from his hand to the crumpled body in front of him.
Shuichi was motionless for a few long moments and then he lifted his head from the arms he used to shield them with. His eyes curtained by his mussed brown hair, Shuichi smiled at him as if nothing had happened.
“I’m sorry, Eiri-kun.” The brunette said, an almost venomous cheerfulness laced in his voiced, as he picked himself up from the floor. Shuichi laughed and then tightened the tie on his bathrobe before gesturing towards the bathroom.
“I readied the bathtub for you; take a bath before it cools down.” Shuichi said simply before turning his back on him.
Eiri stared before mechanically removing himself from his bed and heading towards the bathroom. The image of Shuichi with his left cheek red and thick red blood smeared lightly on the edge of his lips clung to his mind like smoke refusing to abate while it permeated, penetrated and poisoned.
“Do you like music, Eiri-kun?”
Shuichi asked him quietly while they waited for the next train, head bowed as he idly adjusted his gloves. With New Year just around the corner and Christmas already past, schools were off and the station was fairly deserted because of this. Except for several office workers who looked undeniably displeased with having to work on the holidays, they were alone. Eiri liked being alone, liked the silence it offered and was slightly irritated when Shuichi broke the pristine silence with his inquiry.
He snapped his head to the left and was all but ready to snap a negative reply when his eyes caught the brunette’s left cheek, bruised and sporting several band-aids. He managed to restrain himself then and looked away, guilty, before quietly answering back.
“No.” Eiri lied. He wasn’t a big fan of music, but he liked it enough. Music soothed one’s soul. It made him feel better when nothing else could. A little music could convey what he could not in words and action. He had done it for a while, until the bottled up emotion became too much for its vessel.
“Oh.” Was all Shuichi said to this but there was a tiny curve on his lips, one that Eiri did not, and could not ignore, because of the flesh-colored band-aid on the corner of his mouth. Beneath that band-aid was a testament of his actions earlier that morning, a small wound that bled profusely.
Eiri’s eyes narrowed, dangerously. Images from that morning began playing at the back of his mind and , somehow, in that vision, the color red that had been on Shuichi’s lips, was brighter, and… familiar.
“My brother.” Eiri found himself saying suddenly, his mind still half lost into the images. “…My brother… he likes music.” He continued haltingly, “Very much.”
A smiling mirror image of himself with darker hair flashed into his mind. When it was gone, he saw his dark-haired mirror image and his younger self, dancing across his field of sight and then around a familiar tall brunette.
Eiri froze immediately and felt the last vestiges of his delicate control loosen. He was overcome by fear, fear that was, curiously, wiped away when he noticed Shuichi lift his head up. He turned immediately and was met by a smile.
“You were lying, weren’t you, Eiri-kun?” The question was straightforward; almost a statement. It told Eiri that it did not need a confirmation to be a statement, a fact. Something about the simple question told Eiri that, in any other tone, it would have sounded terribly dangerous. Or maybe, terribly familiar. But before Eiri could ponder about its familiarity, Shuichi continued in a much more cheerful tone. “Music is part of our lives. It’s important. It’s sacred. It’s there…”
“It shows what you really are and what you are worth….” Shuichi finished, trailing away in an almost wistful tone before the sound of trains thundering along the tracks drowned out his voice.
Eiri watched then as Shuichi bent down to pick up his luggage, which he left beside his feet, and began striding towards one of the train’s entrances. The brunette didn’t look back, didn’t say anything as he did so, but something told Eiri to follow, without question, without reason. In a blink of an eye, before his mind could convince him otherwise, he had bolted into a run and moments later he was standing before a calmly seated Shindou Shuichi.
Shuichi looked up at him with a sympathetic smile and began motioning at the empty seat beside him.
The doors closed behind Eiri with a faint swoosh and he swayed slightly as the train began running. He glared at the man seated in front of him, suddenly unsure of why he was standing in the train with the brunette and not outside, alone like he had wanted to be. At the back of his mind, he wondered if Shuichi had played with his mind with one way or another and was suddenly more wary of the man’s intentions.
“Why don’t you sit down, ne, Eiri?” Shuichi questioned, reaching a hand out for what seemed to be the blonde’s cheek. Eiri responded quickly, harshly grabbing Shuichi by his wrist and pulling at it painfully while he bent down to meet Shuichi’s eyes.
“What do you want?” Eiri hissed into Shuichi’s face, ignoring the curious glances several of the train passengers directed at them. Shuichi leaned forward, in response, traces of pain etched on his face. When he spoke though, his voice was soft and calm, void of any panic.
“Let go, Eiri-kun. It hurts.” Shuichi told him quietly, almost in a whisper as he struggled against the blonde’s grip. “People are looking.” Shuichi met Eiri’s eyes with his pleading ones and after a few moments, the brunette began trying pry off the hands wrapped around his right wrist. Eiri’s grip was tight, almost far too much for his small and delicate fingers, whose effectiveness were even lessened by the gloves, but after successfully prying the blonde’s thumb off, Eiri let go and he sat back, cradling his wrists and yet looking relatively unfazed.
Eiri stared at him and the thought of it being commonplace occurred to him, though he was reluctant to believe such a thing.
“Please sit, Eiri.” Shuichi said suddenly, the same smile on his face, having seemingly completely recovered from the incident, and began motioning for the seat beside him again. “The train’s not full. You stand out.”
Blinking and partially in disbelief, Eiri looked away, guilt once more pooling in his being, and seated himself, though not on the seat directly beside the brunette. Eiri chose to seat himself several seats away from him.
Shuichi gave him a look that was almost forlorn from his seat before turning away and folding his hands in his lap neatly. Eiri never was able to confirm whether the look was forlorn, or not, and if his actions had directly caused it but, he found, he wasn’t too interested in it anyway.
Then, Shuichi began odd series of actions that weren’t obtrusive to him in any way but was still, disturbingly distracting. Once in a while, the brunette would drum his fingers on his right lap with his right hand – always in a pattern, never at random though it seem to vary sometimes, he found after continues observation -- lift his head up to glance at the window behind him and then glance at his watch before stopping and then, repeating the same action minutes later.
It called to Eiri, almost. Like he could relate and then not. Not at all. It annoyed him, for sure, but found his own worries did a good job of making any sort of action against it. He knew, by now, his whole family must have informed the Police about his disappearance. If they hadn’t already and if Shuichi hadn’t found out about his running away from his own family via the morning news, like he feared and still feared.
He glanced at his own watch and read the time; 8:49.
By now he’d have been gone for a whole sixteen hours and forty-nine minutes, he paused, make that fifty minutes.
The sight of blood pooled on the expensive grey carpet invaded his vision.
The blood would have dried by now.
His brother-in-law was most probably in denial, like his sister, and his brother. His father would be aghast but relatively unsurprised. He would be unsurprised because everyone had known what trouble he’d bring to his family eventually.
He closed his eyes and the image became clearer. The pool of blood reflected the moon outside the balcony and the moonlight selfishly danced into the darkened flat through the sliding glass doors, providing enough light for him to see the last glint of life leave those eyes.
He had wanted to close curtains but his feet felt like the floor had somehow swallowed them up. Motionless, helpless, broken, dead – those adjectives flashed through his mind once more, the very same words that had occurred in his mind, when phrases and sentences refused to form.
Dear God, he wanted for himself to die.
Eiri opened his eyes at the sound of his name being called and turned his head to the one person he was with. Shuichi was looking at him, not with concern, or pity, but with a frightening display of truthfulness that immediately unnerve him.
“You’re a good person, Eiri-kun.” Shuichi told him, “Please. Never forget that.” He offered a soft, almost-caring smile then, one that only confused Eiri more in his already muddled state of mind.
Shuichi stood up then, his luggage in one hand and soon after, the train stopped. The brunette began walking away, headed towards the exit, and once more, Eiri was compelled to follow.
Eiri wasn’t sure when the buzzing in his mind had begun but he had an inkling it was sometime after Shuichi left to buy something from the supermarket across the street. It had begun with a tiny whisper, a whisper that questioned his companion’s intentions and from there it grew to the maddening, almost screaming in his brain he now struggled to stop. But a fire once fed is hard to put out and he found the small fire of paranoia within him rekindled, and gnawing at the small measure of trust he’d somehow formed for his companion.
Why was the man helping him in the first place? He knew nothing about Shuichi, nothing except his name, the smiles and the knowing, almost mind-boggling looks he gave him. Shuichi, at least, knew the exact reason of his aimless wandering. It troubled him. It troubled him and made him paranoid to an almost maddening degree.
He of all people should know the dangers that lay in naiveté. He had been naïve for so long, unbelieving that the darker things in life he’d seen in other people could possibly happen to him, him of all people. He should be wary. But now, what did his action with a complete strange like Shuichi display?
The English noun appeared in his mind, in striking white against the dark black. Bright. Obvious. Thick. He remembered smiling to himself when he first learnt about the word, thinking himself to be learnt in the ways of the world. Little did he know, little did he know the very same hand guiding his fingers along the description of that word….
Eiri buried his head into his hands, letting his cold palms press tightly against every curve of his face until his eyes almost hurt. And then, he lifted his head from his hand, morosely, and surveyed his surroundings. The hotel Shuichi had taken him to looked newer than the last one, with its cleaner floors and still-colorful walls. The room he had chosen did not strike Eiri as being anything but normal, almost like the last one, equipped with a double bed and, several drawers and all the other necessities plus a bathroom. The brunette’s bag was on his bed, thrown haphazardly on the covers as if there was nothing important in them.
And idly, he wondered if Shuichi could be one of those murderous young men who looked normal on the outside but held an undeniable thirst of blood. And if, somehow, he was carrying a gun with him with which to kill him once he’d extracted what little bodily pleasure he could of him.
The image of Shuichi’s naked body, glistening with sweat, as he pinned a helpless, equally naked, Eiri on the mattress with a predatory look flashed through Eiri mind and he cried out.
“I. am. NOT. Helpless,” he growled angrily, unconsciously taking a fistful of the blanket beside him before standing up and throwing it angrily on the floor, unable to find anything else to vent his frustration on. He fell back again then, as he saw his vision blurring while eyeing the crumpled blanket on the floor, and buried his face into his hands again. He felt and tasted the tears on his palm and running down the back of his hands. It was warm and salty.
He wants to kill you.
The words were cold and hard and with nothing to fight it, he found himself led to believe they were true. And with that admittance, he found the very same thoughts that came to him earlier returning with more force. The gun in Shuichi’s luggage, he had to know if there was a gun.
‘And if there was a gun?’ he asked himself quietly. His mind answered back; ‘You kill him before he kills you.’
The words made sense and as he took his hands away from his tear-streaked face and stood up, he quietly reasoned to himself that several more sins to his list wouldn’t hurt. He had killed once, some more blood on his hands couldn’t possibly make any more difference. Almost mechanically, he covered the short distance between his bed and Shuichi’s with small, calculated steps and then stopped.
He stared the black bag, almost dreadfully knowing what it could possibly contain. He bent down slightly and slipped several fingers into the bag’s handle,his heartbeat increasing a notch as he did so. It took some courage and then resolution to finally reach for the zippers with his other hand and to begin unzipping them.
He drew an unconscious breath inwards and then gave the zippers a pull, slowly, almost gently guiding the zippers around the bag. And then, finally, the bag was open and he found himself with the paranoia and the paranoia alone. Whatever voice in his mind, whatever presence had been ushering him until now had left him to deal with the consequences and he felt the anxiety rise up his throat.
Eiri closed his eyes, feeling the dread increase a fold, and let one hand slip into the bag, fingers sensitive for the all-too-familiar cold metal of a gun.
The first thing he felt was the seemingly endless amount of crumpled paper inside the bag that piqued his curiosity. And then, his fingers encountered the cold smoothness of a metal. Wandering further, his fingers identified it to be a handle, definitely a handle… of a gun? He felt the panic reach unbearable limits. Shuichi had a gun! He wanted to kill him! That was his intention all along!
He didn’t hear the sound of their door opening, but somehow, the gasp and the sound of grocery bags falling on the floor with a dull thud hit his ears, ringing in his mind like an alarm. He turned sharply to the direction of the door, where a relatively composed yet obviously surprise Shuichi stood, both hands lax while groceries pooled around his feet. Immediately, the panic was replaced with anger, hot, red anger.
And that anger multiplied into a fold, turning into rage when Shuichi managed a smile and a small step forward.
“Eiri-kun, didn’t your parents teach you not to poke at other people’s things?” Shuichi said calmly, almost if not for the slight shaking in his voice, “It’s rude.” He finished plaintively but Eiri knew how Shuichi could have worded it instead, by the look that was a lot more readable than usual on the brunette’s face.
‘What are you doing with my things?’ was the unspoken meaning behind Shuichi’s words and it gave Eiri the feeling of an upper hand. He promptly let go of the gun inside the bag and began striding forward, towards Shuichi who instinctively backed away until he was cornered to the door. The look on Shuichi’s face told Eiri of his upper hand, he watched as the brunette struggled to keep a calm face throughout his advancements with morbid fascination. What his face would not betray, his eyes did and fear was written all over his blue eyes.
Eiri stopped in front of Shuichi, who looked up to him calmly, unfazed now though he showed he was anything but unfazed by Eiri’s actions moments earlier.
“Eiri-kun, what are you doing?” Shuichi managed to ask softly. Hesitantly, he lifted his right hand and then put it back down again, seemingly remembering what the man had done earlier and no longer wanting a repeat of that.
But he was not prepared for the hand that darted out and pressed his neck against the back of door and he let out a strangled cry when Eiri did so, being completely taken by surprise and shocked at the almost unstoppable action.
Shuichi tilted his neck upwards, giving the blonde’s hand the proper space and stared hard into Eiri’s hard blue eyes while the bigger man closed his face with his.
“You wanted to kill me.” Eiri hissed at first, his voice becoming louder.
“Kill you?” Shuichi rasped and then smiled while knitted his eyebrows. Eiri could see the glistening moisture on the smaller man’s lips, the tears that wanted to fall but were held back. Still, he felt no sympathy, just rage and fear – fear for his own life. The fact that the brunette’s chances of breaking from his grasp and running for his gun to kill him now were slim kept him from breaking down. But he was close, so close – what he could have, he had reacted with fear and trembling he would now have to face with pure rage to defend himself from further harm. He learned the hard way. He would no longer make the same mistake.
“Eiri-kun… Eiri..” Shuichi managed as Eiri forced him harder onto the wall, “I…I…” The brunette lifted his hands and reached out, suddenly unafraid it seemed of pain as they reached for Eiri’s face.
“I would never think… of killing you.” Shuichi finished and then smiled, the action causing a tear to escape his left eye. His fingers touched the smooth skin of the blonde’s face, unusually warm and red. “You… you are a friend.” Shuichi added and slowly let his palm press against those cheeks.
The voices in Eiri’s mind returned, screaming in unison.
In response, Eiri shook his head and then glared at Shuichi, hard, glowering, like knives. “Liar.” He spat, “Your façade, you mind games…. Sicken me.”
“Eiri-kun, you’re not thinking stra—“ Shuichi cried sharply suddenly, his words cut off abruptly when Eiri used his other hand to pry off the thin hands on his face. In one swift movement, one which Eiri did without care for the smaller man, he pinned Shuichi’s hands by their wrists above the brunette’s head.
Shuichi closed his eyes and he hung his head while tears ran down his cheeks.
“What… what makes you think that, Eiri-kun?!” He cried out but not in a desperate tone. It was a tone that held a different kind of fear, but was altogether one that made it sound like Shuichi did not care at all about being hurt by provoking his assailant more.
There was a period of silence and Shuichi threw his head up and eyed Eiri, patiently waiting for an answer. Eiri’s gaze softened and he replied in a solid, calm tone.
“The gun.” He whispered at first and then spoke more clearly. “The gun in your bag. You wanted to kill me after you rape me.”
Shuichi’s face changed then, becoming calmer, as if he understood Eiri’s thoughts. He took a deep breath and then smiled, gently, and spoke in a much, much calmer tone.
“Eiri, let me go and I’ll show you the gun you’re talking about.” Shuichi told him and then paused, noting the dissatisfaction on the blonde’s face. “Ne, please trust me, Eiri-kun?” He pleaded and gasped when Eiri tightened his hold around his neck.
“Please.” Shuichi said finally.
Eiri calmed down when he heard Shuichi’s voice and, as if he had been possessed and had no idea of his possession, he looked down, guiltily at the brunette whom he had forcefully pinned against the wall. Shocked by his own actions, he pulled away, releasing Shuichi’s neck and hands as if he’d been burned and leant against the wall.
Without a word, Shuichi strode towards his bag and picked it up. He slipped a hand in and moments later produced an army knife, still in its sheath. Eiri stared, torn between fear and understanding but Shuichi quickly explained.
“It’s an army knife. It was a gift from a friend.” Shuichi said slowly, and then smiled gently. “Eiri-kun, if I was planning to kill anyone, it would be myself,” He added in a softer tone and suddenly Eiri wasn’t so sure what the words meant exactly.
Shuichi turned his back on him and began emptying the contents of his bag on the bed. In the silence, Eiri watched as bits and strips of paper, both crumpled and not spilled onto the bed, followed by pens, cards, several CDs, clothing articles and then a small laptop.
After that, Shuichi spun around and faced Eiri again. “I hope that answers your questions, Eiri.” Shuichi whispered, “If anything, I’d rather send you back home alive. I have no intention of killing you at all, Eiri-kun.”
With that said, Shuichi walked back towards the door and began picking up the various items that had spilled on the floor and putting them back into their plastic bags. Eiri, wordlessly, bent down then to help him while Shuichi managed a small ‘Thank you’.
At the back of Eiri’s mind, he was even more confused and wary. Disturbed by Shuichi’s actions and intrigued. He wanted to know his reason. Need to. He hated this.
Eiri stopped short of picking up an orange on the floor and met Shuichi’s gaze.
“Despite this. Please. Don’t think it was your fault. You’re a good person.”
I believe in you.
Eiri turned away, ashamed and disgusted.
When he had been younger, he had thought about flying over the towering walls that sternly guarded his family’s estate and having a grand adventure outside those stone walls. He had thought the world outside to be an exciting place, dangerous but nothing he could not handle. He remembered afternoons penning thoughts into one of his notebooks; thoughts about the world outside, from what he’d seen on the television and movies his older sister enjoyed watching with him. He’d write stories, in the very same talent his mother was proud of and they were sure he’d be famous for one day. They thought it funny that sometimes he would write about damsels in distress and whatnot, a romantic adventure over the usual ambitious adventures where the hero overcame all and the heroine was not mentioned until the happily-ever-after clause.
Eiri laughed suddenly, a bitter one that echoed across the empty living room and briefly drowned out the dicing sound coming from the kitchen. In the state he was in now, those thoughts seemed distant and, flatly, ridiculous. He had seen and experienced enough to feel worthy to think so.
Eiri reached for the coffee mug set on the small table beside the two-seater sofa he was currently seated on and took a sip from it, while his right hand worked on erasing the last few paragraphs he had typed onto Shuichi’s laptop.He paused, set his coffee back onto its place and leaned forward as he read a certain sentence and then continued with much backspacing, a look of dissatisfaction clear on his stern face.
Shuichi emerged from the kitchen then, carrying his own coffee mug though Eiri smelled chocolate from it, and sat himself at Eiri’s feet, making full use of the small, wooden coffee table in front of the sofa by setting his own mug on it. The brunette looked up at him once, before turning away and drumming his fingers silently on the table.
Eiri didn’t know when it happened or how, but somehow, following Shuichi led him here, in an old two-bedroom apartment in middle-class Tokyo. It was scarcely furnished, almost like the hotels he had gone with Shuichi in the course of one week, and had a lonely but warm atmosphere that struck Eiri the moment he stepped into it. There were no televisions, no telephones, and except for an old microwave, a refrigerator, a water heater and a music-component that looked like it was ready to fall apart into pieces anytime, the apartment was void of electronic appliances.
There was only one bed in the house, one that Shuichi readily gave up for Eiri’s comfort while he slept with a thick blanket on the sofa. He supposed he should feel guilty and offer to sleep on the sofa instead, being in the stranger’s home, but he never got to offering to warm the sofa instead. And it irked him that he should be bound by the rules of hospitality and that Shuichi should make him feel sorely guilty of himself.
He never said anything about it though, for fear of tainting that seemingly pure vision Shuichi held for him, needing it but at the same time loathing it.
“Eiri-kun.” Shuichi said suddenly, tilting his head up to gaze at the blonde curiously. “Don’t you miss your family?”
Eiri looked up from the screen and stared at Shuichi, his eyebrows knitted slightly. With the subject brought up, his mind briefly wandered back to his family and its state at that very moment. In tatters, perhaps, his mind offered with a tinge of sadism. Or they’d probably given up, under his father’s commands too, no doubt.
His father was probably the one benefiting from his absence, his decision to run away from his sins like the coward he was and that thought reopened some of the deeper wounds within him, wounds that had been caused by his father that had never had the chance to truly heal throughout the years.
His lips dissolved into a thin line before moving to form a single syllable.
“No.” Eiri said under his breath and was ready to drop the subject when his brunette companion shifted his position, propped his elbows on the sofa and looked up at him with an almost childishly curious look.
“I think, they miss you, Eiri-kun.” Shuichi stated softly, almost too truthfully it hurt and Eiri was quick to frown bitterly at Shuichi. The brunette remained unfazed, as Eiri thought he would though, under his withering glare and it brought back that feeling of deep disgust. “If they’re anything like you, I think they’re probably nice.”
Eiri breathed in sharply and reached for his mug to take a sip from it before hissing through his teeth with all the calm he could muster. “I’m not nice.” The statement passed his lips in dangerously quiet tone and Eiri watched as something lit in the other’s hazy blue eyes for a fleeting moment before disappearing. Shuichi’s expression softened and he edged closer, folding his arms on the sofa while his smiled seemed to widen, turn even more suffocating.
“Eiri-kun, I think you are.” Shuichi whispered softly in a low, almost seductive tone that sent alarm bells ringing in his mind. Eiri blinked and shook his head, wanting nothing more but to ignore the statement and push back the disgust and hate rising up his throat. He tried, he really did, but when he opened his eyes again, he found himself in front of the face he had been running away from. Soft brown eyes watched him under slightly lidded eyes, glinting with mischief as its owner smiled knowingly…
You’re a nice kid. I like you, Eiri-kun.
Panic burst from his chest and he was barely aware of the movement his left hand had undertaken, seeing nothing but the laughter in those eyes.
The sound of Shuichi’s sharp cry brought him back to his senses later on and the mocking face of the man he had no wish of ever seeing again was replaced by a whimpering brunette who was shivering slightly. Eiri stared as the brunette hugged himself while his hair, soaked by an unmistakable brown liquid which dripped and soaked into the sofa leaving a dark stain on it.
Eiri opened his mouth, all other emotion replaced with thick confusion and then pity as he tried to apologize for the action. He could not find the words though and deep down, could not call himself guilty for something he had done in his unawares. Somewhere, a voice told him it was Shuichi’s fault for provoking him and for continuing to reopen old wounds with his supposedly offhanded and innocent questions, and comments. He believed that.
“I’m sorry.”He heard Shuichi whisper weakly with his head bowed. The brunette pushed himself up with his hands and then seemed to shake slightly as he lifted his head up and faced Eiri. The expression on his face was almost unreadable, neither calm nor unfazed but distinctly hurt.
The brunette bowed lowly and then was finally able to smile. Eiri noticed then how chapped his lips were suddenly, bruised and slightly red, like he’d been biting them with his teeth.
“I’m sorry, Eiri-kun.” Shuichi repeated once more, in a louder, much more confident tone that made Eiri’s heart sink with guilt. Pure guilt. “I won’t talk about your family for now, if it hurts, Eiri-kun.”
Shuichi bent then and silently extracted the empty mug from Eiri’s lax hand then, ignoring the dark look Eiri was directing at him. After that he spun around and headed for the kitchen. Eiri heard the sound of the mug being added to their growing pile of dishes and then Shuichi re-emerged from the kitchen, his destination clearly the bathroom.
With the guilt having slowly begun building inside his chest, Eiri found himself unable to do nothing anymore about all the guilt and self-hatred Shuichi seemed to be on purposely causing to stir within him. The mind games had to stop and he felt like a pawn trapped in a mastermind’s game, unable to free himself despite his wish to do so.
The laptop fell onto the carpeted floor with a thud that quickly caught the brunette’s attention as Eiri bolted upwards. For a few moments their eyes met in an intense staring match and then Eiri broke into a quick stride and grabbed Shuichi by his shoulders, ignoring the difference between their sizes and the pain he could be causing the smaller man. Shuichi managed a “Why?” before being cut off abruptly and then bombarded with Eiri’s own questions.
“WHY are you doing THIS to me?” Eiri cried sharply, tightening his groups on Shuichi’s shoulders until a pained cry reached his ears. “What exactly do you hope to accomplish?!”
Shuichi began his struggle then, lifting his arms as high as they could before beginning to push the bigger man away, in an attempt to break the stronghold the blonde had on him. He opened his mouth and seemed to be, once more, struggling to keep his calm face in place.
“Why are you suddenly asking me this, Eiri-kun?” Shuichi questioned in a hurried tone even as he attempted to free himself from the man. The brunette clutched at the blonde’s shirt and continued, making an effort against the shaking Eiri was subjecting him to. “I’m not doing anything.” Shuichi added, almost desperately. “Let me go, please, Eiri-kun.”
“This… this isn’t like you, Eiri-kun.” Shuichi whispered as he tugged at Eiri’s clothes and looked up with pleading eyes at the man whose mercy he was under now. Eiri’s blue eyes seemed to glow with madness and Shuichi’s worry showed on his face.
The shaking stopped and Eiri brought his face closer to the brunette’s. “And what do you know about me? Shuichi?” Shuichi’s eyes widened and then, before he could do anything else, Eiri forcefully pushed him downwards.
“You talk as if you know me. But do you really do, Shindou-san?” Eiri spat and began hissing through gritted teeth while his face displayed an expression of complete and utter hurt. Shuichi began edging away slowly, unable to say anything else.
“I’m a murderer, Shindou-san.” Eiri hissed and finished with a bitter laugh, taking small steps towards Shuichi who was continuously edging away.
Eiri stopped then and gripped his chest while tears began trailing down his cheeks in thin lines. “Tell me, Shindou-san. Am I good person? Am I?”
He paused and then took a deep breath while standing still. He eyed the brunette warily, finding relief in channeling all the self-hatred on the very person who sparked them within him, not quite seeing any other way around it but that.
Shuichi picked himself up from the floor then and finally made his stand. Just as desperately, he answered back, “Eiri…You are. Please. You are.”
Eiri breathed in sharply once more and yelled back. “WHY?” He took another step forward and Shuichi broke into a sprint, making his way around Eiri and then the bathroom where he tried to close the door and to lock Eiri out, obviously meaning to talk things out with the safety of a very solid door keeping them separate.Eiri was quick though, years of training made him naturally agile and before the smaller man could close the door on him he was at the doorframe, holding the other end of the knob while he used his body to stop the door from closing.
Shuichi stumbled back, tears beginning to stain his cheeks though Eiri could not be sure when the other had begun crying. As for him, he could feel the warmth on his cheeks, feel the dampness, but couldn’t care less.
“You make me feel guilty. Feel disgusted with myself.” Eiri hissed as he watched Shuichi tremble under his gaze. “I’m murderer. I killed. I KILLED. Tell me how I can be a good person!”
He strode forward and grabbed Shuichi by his shoulder. “Did you think you could pick up a random person on the street and make him follow you… make him..” He paused and then spat, “to whatever you want him to be?”
“I hate you.” Eiri finally hissed before yanking the smaller man into the bathtub where he pinned him down with his body.
“I didn’t… pick you off by random..” Shuichi whispered pleadingly and gasped when a pair of cold hands wrapped themselves around his neck. “God, Eiri-kun.. please… no…believe me..?”
Shuichi screamed when the fingers tightened around his neck and began struggling against the blonde. “Listen to me, please…. Eiri-kun.. EIRI.”
“I dare you say I’m a good person! Right now while I wring your life off you.” Eiri cried angrily as he pressed his fingers harder against Shuichi’s neck. He didn’t realize he was crying so hard until his own tears began dropping and trailing down Shuichi’s face.
And he realized how different, and helpless, Shuichi looked under him. It was a far cry from smug, mocking expression…
“You’re good person!” Shuichi managed to cry under despite the increasingly difficult process of breathing. “Eiri, believe me.. .you are.”
Eiri sniffed but was otherwise unaffected, he kept his fingers tight around the smaller man, ignoring the tears, the red cheeks… the pain in Shuichi’s eyes.
“You have to be a good person. You just have to be.” Shuichi whispered finally when Eiri did not respond, finally stopping all form of resistance. Those eyes closed and he finally began sobbing, causing Eiri to loosen his grip as he stared, unmoving, in a state of shock.
“I want to believe you’re a good person.” Shuichi finished, mustering enough courage to stare Eiri in the eye. “Despite all.” He whispered softly and Eiri collapsed into a broken sobbing heap on top of him.
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry…” Eiri cried repeatedly into Shuichi’s arms, finding more comfort in those stranger’s arms than he did in any of his relatives after committing his sin. After being tainted. For the first time ever since the night he committed his sin, he found someone to pour his pain into, someone to accept him. “I didn’t kill him… God.. I didn’t want to… He wanted to hurt me… he raped me.. didn’t want to… not a good person…”
The last thought that came to his mind before sleep and exhaustion finally claimed his broken body was the one Shuichi had told him repeatedly.
“You’re a good person, Eiri-kun.”
He believed that. He desperately wanted to believe that.