A/N: For mixe! Because we like mixe, and mixe writes pretty stories, so if we write for HER she may write more in THEM. *_*

Max's POV; shounen ai. Beware the mad-angst beast.

"The Not And The You"

It's cold today. My body aches.

It's raining, you see, and the rain is cold. So, by default, today is cold. Or maybe the rain is cold because today is cold.

The sky is gray. Gorgeous, swirling grey. Is there a difference? Gray and grey.

The rain tastes like you. But everything tastes like you. Just like everything reminds me of you.

Only . . . I've never tasted you, so how can I know what you taste like? I suppose it's half wishful thinking and half just the feeling that comes from the presence of you.

My hands are red. Probably 'cause it's cold, right?

And wet, too. But everything is wet, because it's raining.

That's why my hands are wet.


There's a taste on my fingers- one not quite of you, but of life and death and the sour tang of copper. I like it, but something in the back of my mind is trying to warn me about it. As if there's something I should know . . .

What should I know?

I see you before me in the rain, but you aren't really there. The not-you kisses me, and it smells like sex and war.

I remember the name of that taste on my hands.

It's blood.

I'm bleeding.

Why would I be bleeding? That happens when you're hurt. I don't remember getting hurt.

I can taste it . . . death and God and a hint of breaking dreams linger on my lips, like rock salt caught in the sidewalk cracks and melting through my defenses.

I want to taste you too.

The not-you smiles at me and the wind and rain blow gently across my face, half-freezing the tears that fall from my eyes into swirling frostlike patterns. Not-you touches my face with ghostly fingers of wind and ice and rain, and I ache for your warmth.

You're beautiful. You don't know it, it probably never even occurred to you- but you are. You are so alive it hurts. When I look at you, I see hyperbole given human form and breath.

I see heroes' glory in your eyes.

And sometimes, if we're close enough, I see myself there too.

The rain is heavy on my hair, dragging it down into my eyes and pinning it to my face. It's cold. I tip back my head and open my mouth. I wonder if I could drown this way. I've heard it's possible, if you're stupid enough.

I am. Because I never told you . . .

That you make me smile.

That I'm always so happy because I'm always with you.

That you're beautiful.

That I lo . . .

That I like you.

No, I should say it for real. Just once. Even if you'll never hear it, I should say it.

"I miss you. I love you."

I want you. Come to me.

And the not-you suddenly shatters as a figure steps through it and lifts me into its arms.

"Idiot," a voice whispers in my ear. "You gotta be more careful."

It's you.

And I don't hurt anymore.

"Takao . . ."

* ende *

. : review the not-you : .