Disclaimer: I don’t own Gravitation. Gravitation belongs to Murakami Maki-sensei and her… associates. Whoever they are.
A/N: Unedited as of now. Will ask someone to revise later…
"There’s a sense of complete and utter loneliness wherever I go, an empty void within everyone, an apprehensive frown beneath every laughter."
"The halls are brightly lit and is always – always – filled with busy people going from one place to another. But it never feels too loud. Or Lively. Or intimidating. It never feels quite complete, or filled, just…empty."
"And this emptiness… everyone feels this emptiness. Like somebody took a huge piece of the puzzle that made up our lives and disappeared with it…"
"Incompleteness. The feeling that there should be three, instead of two. The whims that run our lives, the choices that have to be made for an unspoken reason.
The precious but lost reason that should be there, but isn’t, that’s there but can’t be seen. The reason that may just be the key to our existence."
"But I find myself sitting up at the edge of my bed, knowing it’s too big for just one person, in the mornings and staring at the wall as if there’s more or should be more to it than the dull gray wallpaper on it that has always been there.
‘Do you love me?’ I find myself asking eventually in those morning rituals but there’s no one left to answer me… no one else in the apartment to. And…that’s why the world has always felt wrong."
01 – Existence
The long-haired blonde reclined on his chair, a satisfied grin on his lips as he folded his arms behind his head and watched the numbers continue to run down the monitor in front of him. The power had gone out for a few minutes, disappearing with a loud bang and a few crackles of electricity that lit the whole mainframe in the complete darkness that washed the whole room, and that had seriously, seriously worried him like no other thing had. For one thing, this project was so big they had multi-billion companies all over the world funding their humble research company for it and the thought of it going down in few seconds after a tiny miscalculation, an overestimation of their mainframe’s capabilities maybe, was just… tragic. But, much to his relief, the mainframe came back up after a few long minutes of agonized waiting and guessing and fearing, and, by the way things were looking now – it was working as planned.
He smirked and sat up when the numbers stopped and the screen was washed in blue and then, moments later, in black. "Emulation load-up complete, hn." The blonde whispered under his breath smugly as he sat away from the backrest and his seat creaked as he placed his hands on the keypad right beneath the monitor. There were a few beeps – beeps that filled the silence that filled the spacious room along with the mainframe’s steady humming – and then, finally, the screen displayed what exactly he’d been waiting for. Something he was sure not many in the world had the privilege of seeing first hand like this.
"You finally got it to work, eh, K?" the distinctive swooshing sound of doors opening prompted the blonde to spin on his seat. K spread his arms out and grinned impishly at his colleague whom he knew carried precious life juice with him; Coffee.
"Well, nothing is impossible for the great K, Mr. Yuki."
Yuki Eiri, his colleague and superior, a tall young man in his early twenties with blonde hair and matching golden eyes, sneered at him as he handed the older man a cup of coffee. "Last I checked, the mainframe was just about up in the smoke. I thought we’d have another six-month delay. But apparently—" Eiri took a sip from his own cup and then grinned, "You somehow made it work." He walked closer and eyed the screen with a hint of amusement.
"Windows XP, eh?" Eiri muttered, "Apparently, the system’s emulated the OS’ crappy loading time. That or that wasn’t just our mainframe making smoke in its ventilation systems."
K frowned visibly and lightly brushed him off, "Well, at least it’s up and running. Who was busy typing away his latest crapvel while I was dealing with the crisis, hn?" There were a few moments of silence and just as the OS finally finished loading up, Eiri grinned smugly.
"I was." The golden eyed man said simply with a cheeky smile before motioning for his colleague to get out of his seat as he took over the operation from there. K laughed as he quickly got out of the seat and made way for the younger blonde. "Bastard." He said jokingly and watched as the novelist slash computer expert began exploring the ancient OS.
"For something that’s a little over a thousand years old, it’s a pretty good system." Eiri said finally after a browsing through the system’s interface for a few minutes with wide, interested eyes. Then, he smiled ruefully, "I suppose, it shows how much mankind lost in the war. To think we could be so much farther if our ancestors had gotten hold of this technology sooner…."
"Don’t go there, Yuki." K said in simply in a stern tone of voice, folding his hands across his chest before pointing towards one of the icons on the screen. "So, let’s try out the second phase of the project. Seguchi would want to see it as soon as possible and I’m sure he’d like us to at least have seen if the whole concept can work…"
Eiri nodded slowly and instinctively moved his left hand towards the touch pad at the side of the keypad to maneuver the arrow to what the program he knew would decide if two years worth of their research had been worth it, "Right."
It took one click and he smiled at the first page that loaded up at the window. So it seemed that after a few hundred years, Mankind was still a sucker of entertainment. Yahoo! was a testament of that. The page was filled with messages that looked to be geared more on the entertainment and superficial side than important news itself. It was eerie, at some level, to think that this had been then… before the succession of wars that had led to Man’s near extinction. Behind him, K grinned as he leaned forward, placing a hand on his shoulder as they both looked at the wonder before them.
"Yuki, I think we’re in luck."
Eiri dug his hands deeper into his coat and then stopped in his tracks before tilting his heads upwards and turning towards their building, washed in the orange light as it was, thoughtfully. It was hard to imagine how long the world had been in existence, or mankind for that matter Hard to think that Mankind had repeated a few hundred years of advance in all branches of science to get to where they were now. And now, they were just, give or take, a hundred years ahead of where they left off then. "Ah, the life." He whispered in resignation, realizing he was rambling and blaming their ancestors again, as he was told not to. He could help it if he felt so much regret over it. None of his siblings would understand the regret that dogged him whenever he thought about their loss. Or maybe, his loss.
His hands unconsciously snaked into the pocket inside his coat to produce a pack of cigarettes – an ancient addiction that he knew has been around for almost forever. He liked to think their pre-War ancestors would have laughed at the notion of calling cigarette smoking ‘ancient’ if they could. He knew he would, he still did now; cigarette smoking and ancient simply could not belong in the same sentence without warranting a chuckle or two.
"You know, smoking isn’t exactly very healthy, Mr. Yuki." His colleague’s voice sounded from behind him and he shrugged, plucking a stick out of the box and putting one into his mouth.
"I don’t exactly let former chain smokers preach to me about the hazards of smoking, K." He produced a lighter with his right hand and did a little saluting nod before lighting the cigarette in his mouth. He took a deep drag and, after returning the pack of cigarettes back into his coat, he plucked the cigarette out of his mouth and finally turned around to face the taller, older blonde. "And fifty years ago, smoking was declared complete healthy, finally, thanks to the wonders of nanotechnology."
K shrugged his shoulders and continued walking until he was right beside Eiri before speaking again. "And it’s still as dangerous as Coke, you know?"
Eiri only smiled as he returned the cigarette back into his mouth and gave his colleague a defiant look that made the taller blond frown slightly. "I know." He mumbled lazily and waited, watching K with feigned innocence until the older man finally gave in and brought a palm out.
"Give me one." K rasped out and Eiri laughed at the defeated look on the older man’s face before finally handing him a stick.
"Once a chainsmoker—" Eiri hummed as he lit K’s cigarette for him with his lighter, "Now a moderate smoker."
"Shut up. I’m trying to break the habit for Judy." K grumbled and Eiri arched an eyebrow.
"Apparently, you’re not making much progress." He pointed out. K grumbled.
"Were you aware about how second-hand smoking is just as dangerous as it was a thousand years ago?" The older blonde pointed out accusingly, implying more to his question once he was happily feeding his addiction, before breaking into a cruel grin. "I just took a year out of your life, Mr. Yuki." He said, puffing smoke towards the younger man’s direction with a laugh and Eiri rolled his eyes.
"This is why I’m higher than you in the pecking order, Mr. Winchester." Eiri stated quietly in an amused voice that only made the older man chuckle.
"We all know why you’re in a better position…And it definitely wasn't a matter of who had the better sense of humor." he paused and grinned, "Eiri-san."
The younger blonde’s eyes widened and he turned his head sharply to his colleague’s direction. He directed a dagger sharp glare at the older man, "I’ll pretend you didn’t just say that, K. Then we can continue living in happy co-existence."
K laughed loudly and gave Eiri a playful slap in the back, "Oh yes, Mr Yuki. Continue living in happy co-existence it is. Ha ha."
"You’re insane, K." Yuki muttered.
"And you need a woman." K countered flatly with a grin as the younger man stepped away from him. Eiri waved at him in dismissal.
"I don’t fucking need a woman and that’s that. They’re troublesome anyway….." He trailed away and then paused, "I just realized; what did you tell Tohma when he asked about whether we can change the date we want the whole database to be set in? He was asking about that, wasn’t he?"
The grin on K’s face disappeared in an instant and the man’s eyebrows furrowed, "Wasn’t that your department, Yuki?"
Eiri frowned, something wasn’t right, "I tried to look around the program and see what I can do about the date but you either didn’t set it up properly or… or it just completely got ignored at execution." He paused and his frown deepened, "Did Tohma ask you?"
"So what did you say?" Eiri questioned and the taller man looked away.
"I told him we’ll see what’s up with it." K paused and looked at Eiri gravely, "To be completely honest, Yuki, I hadn’t expected it to work. So I have no idea how the system came up today."
Eiri stared at the older man and then blinked before brushing past him in silence and heading back towards the building. "I’m spending the night at the office to figure out the mess we got ourselves into, K. Tell Tohma that."
"Wait—" K spun around and reached a hand out, grabbing the younger man by his shoulder. "That can wait til’ tomorrow, can’t it?"
"No… no it can’t." Eiri found himself whispering as he removed the hand on his shoulder and continued back to the building, one hand already fingering the key card in his pants.
Behind him, K yelled after him, "You really need to find a woman, you know?" And he responded with a smile.
Anything was better than the empty apartment and the emptiness the vacant space brought with it. Avoiding the cause of loneliness would save him the trouble of having to look for a bedmate for the night. A one-night companion or someone for a short-term relationship – or a mockery of it – work could be made into a better substitute for that.
The door to his apartment opened with an eerie creak that bounced about the empty halls and as he entered in and closed the door behind him, unconsciously locking it behind him, he felt the same heart-wrenching loneliness engulf him once more. The feeling of complete and utter loss intensified, increasing a fold, and he knew there was a time when he thought he would die of it. Now, he lived with it.
It was an oddity that became norm through time.
"Tadaima." He called out with mock cheer, his voice sounding painfully hollow in his ears. He dropped his backpack on the floor, right beside the leather sofa he didn’t even like very much but kept in his apartment anyway, and made a beeline into his study, where he sat himself in his sanctuary. His computer chair – where he sat as he poured out his pain into his computer every single night. Today was no different. It was ironic; no matter how famous or successful he got, the emptiness remained. Eating more and more of him that he’d like.
He placed his fingers on the keyboard and began typing:
"There’s a sense of complete and utter loneliness wherever I go, an empty void within everyone, an apprehensive frown beneath every laughter… today is no different…."