This is the "Encore" chapter of Victim of Circumstance, (set a little over a year after the actual story of Victim ends) which could have been posted as a separate fic, but I wanted it to be a bonus for the people who did read the fic. It would make little sense on its own, plus it's just a lot of angst and fluff at the end.

It's also my entry for Undying Devotion's spring contest.

So read on for the Encore…

[Dedicated to the person I never want to be apart from…She knows who she is.]


Encore: Ameagari - After the Rain

It's raining.

Not just any little spring shower, however, it's a torrential downpour and it shows no signs of stopping. The sky had filled up with foreboding clouds early the previous evening and the storm had spilled forth sometime early in the morning, causing the outside world to look as if it had been flooded. The whole area is lush and green -perfect for the time of year- but it can't be enjoyed, due to the non-stop deluge of rain.

It's perfect weather for sitting around and moping.

I'm sitting here, slumped down against a wall, staring at my fingers. There's a pale, silverfish light filtering into the room caused by the grayness outside. It's damp and chilly, but I don't feel like moving, just sitting here and staring at the blue veins running under my skin. I wonder, I muse, what would happen if I made a little gash right along that vein…Wonder what my blood tastes like…My fingers wiggle before my eyes and I pick some dirt from under my nails.

There's nothing to do.

I sigh. This is boring.

The rain continues to streak down the window, creating rivers on the glass. Normally, the sound would have been soothing, but I'm alone in the room and it seems dreary and empty without you here. Normally, on days like this, we would snuggle up together and watch a movie, but you have to get ready.

You have to get ready to leave me.

Tomorrow, you graduate. We both knew this day would come, but we've always avoided the subject. It's been something we skirted around for the past year or so, since I finally stopped running from the truth about myself. I know you're excited about it and I want to be happy for you, but more than anything, I'm scared.

I don't want you to leave me.

What will I do next year without you?

For the past two years, all I have known is you. When I came here, I didn't know anybody. I was alone, no friends here, no friends waiting for me at home. Sure, I had my fuck buddies -the girls I shagged with- and I had people I worked with in classes, but you were my only true friend. You are the only one I really want in my life. When I moved into the dorm, I was scared of you. But I quickly learned you were nothing to fear…

You like to tease me so much. Back in the beginning, all you did was make me blush. You would say things that embarrassed me, things so suggestive that the most lewd people I knew probably would have been blushing. You had more guys around than I could count, more people who hated you simply for what you were and more crazy schemes than any one I know could think of in a lifetime. As I got used to you, as we became closer and closer to one another, I saw things in you that I had never seen in another person before in my life. I had never seen any reason to trust another person in my life.

But you…Somehow, you pulled me into your little world. You made me care about you, made me trust you, made me love you. I don't know how you did it, but you did it nonetheless.

And now you're going to leave me.

I slump down lower on the bed until I'm sprawled sideways across it. I don't want you to leave me. What am I going to do? What am I going to do? My hand drags across my face, then runs through my bangs. My fingers are cold and shaking. It's only hit me right now.

You're really going to be gone.

Has the past year meant nothing to you at all? Are you really going to be so cruel as to leave me now after I gave up girls for you? I know you need to get a job and start life after school, but I don't want you out of my life. I need you to be there for me when I'm afraid, when I don't know what I want, when my parents starting digging on me. They still don't know about us -I want to keep it that way- and I need you here to keep me safe from what will happen if they find out.

I'm curled up on the bed now, clutching your stupid stuffed snake. It's pointless that there are even two beds in our room -we only ever use one of them- but you say we have to keep up appearances, even though I'm sure the kids in the other half of our quad know we're so much more than "just friends." You have the snake; you like to sleep with it almost as much as you like to sleep with me.

It smells like you.

I burry my nose in the plush, inhaling deeply, never wanting this moment to disappear. I want to capture every little memory of you that I can. I have two more years here without you and I never want to forget us…

"Hey, are you okay?"

I sit up abruptly when you come barging into the room. Your feet are bare, the bottoms of your pants wet and trailing behind you, and you're toweling off your hair. You're disheveled, but you look beautiful to me. "I'm okay. The weather is getting to me or something, that's all."

"You'd better not be getting sick." You're kicking off you pants, revealing pink and purple plaid boxers. Instead of pulling on new bottoms, you climb up onto the bed with me, drawing me into your arms. "I want you to be there for me tomorrow." A smile lights your face; you're so excited.

How can I tell you that I don't want this at all?

"I will." My head rests on your shoulder. You're cold. You've been running around in the rain all day while I studied for finals. I think this is the only time I've been so selfish to wish I could deny you something you're excited about. I don't want to be like this; I want to be happy for you. But I feel like a part of me is dying.

"This is going to be the most important day of my life." You continue, settling yourself comfortably on the bed, me in your arms. "I'm going to be able to get a real job now. And do all of the things I've always wanted to do…I won't go back home ever; I can't go back there. I'm gonna get my own place and finally have a life away from my parents."

I listen silently as you prattle on and on about all the things you wish to do and how thrilled you are. I try to smile, but it makes my face hurt, so I snuggle up closer to you, twisting around so you can't see the frown on my face; can't see the tears threatening to come unbidden. I can't cry; not now, not while you're holding me in your arms. Not while you're so excited about moving on. Who am I to hold you back? Who am I…? Only the person to whom you've professed undying love. That's all.

"…You'll have to come visit me. You'll have to come spend a lot of time with me. I'll miss you so much." You're speaking into my hair, one hand down near my waist, under my shirt, palm cold against the bare skin of my stomach. "I'll be lonely without you." You whisper. Your voice suddenly sounds choked and I feel bad for being selfish and not taking your feelings on our separation into consideration. "You're going to get a new roommate and make new friends and I'll be all alone…"

"You'll make friends too." I twist around in your arms so that my eyes meet yours. I want to reassure you, but I don't know how, "And I'll never forget about you. I love you, remember?" I'm completely turned over now; lying on top of you, we're chest-to-chest. My head rests under your chin, I can feel you swallowing. Are you trying to fight back tears? It's okay for you to cry…

But you don't cry and what you say next makes me want to cry instead. "If you find some one else, I'll understand. I know there are a lot of pretty girls out there, even if I don't see them as pretty. I know you're bi, not totally into guys like I am. So if you want to…I won't stop you."

No. No. My world comes crashing down the second the words leave your painted lips. How could you…? Do you seriously think I would ever want some one else? Is there another in your life? Have you been lying to me? Is this how…? Are you subtly trying to break up with me?

I suddenly feel ill.

I pull out of your arms and alight from the bed, running out of the room and down the hall without bothering to put anything on my feet. You're calling after me, but I'm not about to stop. I don't know if I'm going to throw up or not, but my stomach is churning and I'd rather not risk it.

There's no one in the bathroom, which is good because I'm slumped down on the tiled floor, hanging over the toilet. My chest is heaving and my stomach turns a few times, but nothing comes up and I lay my head against the cool porcelain. How can this be happening? Is it real? Or just some sort of bad dream? You did not seriously just tell me that…

My eyes well up with tears. Why? Why does it have to be like this? How will I make it for two whole years without you? Before you, life was meaningless. You give me a reason to live; for the first time in my life, I am loved by some one who is not "obligated" to love me like my parents and the rest of my family. How will I go on if you don't want me any more…?

The tears roll off my face and onto the toilet seat. My stomach does one final somersault before its contents decide to make a second appearance. Never in my life have I been so glad to be alone; it would have been embarrassing for any of the other guys to find me like that. A part of my mind is telling me not to care what they think, but I can't help but care. I hate seeming weak.

There's a taste of bile and vomit in my mouth; it won't go away no matter how many times I rinse my mouth out. I lean over the sink, arms shaking violently; I hate throwing up. All I want is for you to hold me in your arms and tell me it's okay; but I can't go back to our room like this. I can't go back knowing you don't want me any more.

"Are you all right?"

I don't have to. Your voice startles me; I jerk my head up. You're stopped in to doorway, wearing a wife beater, your boxers and a worried expression on your face. Just looking at you makes me want to cry harder so I turn my gaze back to the sink. My whole body shakes and I have to brace myself against the countertop to keep from collapsing. "I threw up." I mumble miserably.

There's silence for a moment -a long dreadful silence- then you leave the doorway to stand beside me. I see us reflected in the mirror; see the fear in my eyes, the concern etched across your pale face. One of your hands finds its way to my forehead, soft and cool against my damp skin. "You don't have a fever." I'm ready to crumble at your touch, but you…You don't love me. "Come on; you'd better go to bed."

Bed…Bed would be nice; but I don't want to go back there. I don't want to be alone in there with you, knowing you're ready to spread your wings and fly. I don't want to be there where every little thing will remind me that only yesterday we were both happy and in love. I'd rather stay here in the bathroom where everything is sterile and unfeeling. But even here...There are still things which remind me of happier times. I can hear your voice echoing the songs you sang in the shower; see you in the mirror combing your hair and putting on your lipstick. In here was where you smacked me in the ass with a wet towel…Everywhere I go, everything I do, it only serves to remind me that you're going to be gone.

Obediently, I allow you to lead me back to the room and put me to bed. I'm not even sick; I know I'm not. I'm just so nervous it's making my stomach jumpy. This isn't the first time I've been so anxious I've made myself throw up.

You tuck me in, blankets snugly around me even though it's the middle of May. "You're going to be okay." You push back my bangs, wiping the sweat from my forehead. "It'll go away. You'll be better by tomorrow." Your fingers are so gentle, but it sounds more like you're reassuring yourself than comforting me.

I turn away from you. Tomorrow…That's all that matters to you, isn't it? You're going to go off and leave me behind and I'm not ready for it. I'll never be ready for it. I put so much on the line for you and now…If I don't feel well, will you stay with me? I thought I was important to you…I thought…I can't think any more; tears are filling my eyes. You don't care. You don't care at all. "You don't seriously think that…" Is all I can manage before tears start rolling down my face.

"Think that what?" Your hand finds its way to my cheek and you're wiping away the tears, "Why are you crying?"

"Don't you understand? Don't you…" I'm scrunched up on my side, clutching a pillow to fill the void where you usually are. Tears are running down my face and I'm shaking uncontrollably again. "Why are you so excited about…leaving me…?"

There's another dreadful silence and your hand draws back from my face. This is it. I ready myself for the blow. You're going to tell me you don't love me, you don't care about me, you don't want to be with me. You're going to…I love you and all I've been to you is pleasure. It's all a lie.

Then suddenly you're sobbing beside me, pulling me back into your embrace, your face squashed up against my back. "You think…You think that…How could you possibly…?" You finally manage to squeak out, "You think I'm excited about leaving you?" Your tears are mingling with mine now, "I love you. How could you think I'm happy about being apart from you?"

"You said that…" My voice wavers, "You…You'd understand if I found somebody else and I thought…I thought you didn't want to be with me any more…" I feel miserable. My heart aches and I just want to turn back around and throw myself into your arms. But I'm still afraid…

"I didn't mean that I don't want to be with you." You coax me around so that we're facing one another, "I'm sorry; that came out wrong. I just wanted you to know I love you so much that if you found happiness with some one else, I would let you go. I only want what's best for you…"

I bite my lip. What can I say in reply to this? You love me enough to let me go and I…Do I love you the same? "What's best for me…" I pause to gather my thoughts, "Is to have you by my side. Always." My voice is slow and hesitant, "I don't want you to go. Tomorrow is going to be our last day together. Then…Then you're going to go away and…and…" I can't continue because I'm crying again.

A slow smile spreads across your face and you caress my cheek. "Do you honestly think I would be so cruel as to leave you behind?" You ask softly, "I'm not going far away. I'm going to get an apartment in town. I'm going to stay right here; not leave, Silly." You pull me close to your chest, "What would I do without you?" You bury your face in my hair, "I love you so much."

"R-really?" I manage to gulp out. This is the most wonderful thing you could have said.

"Really." You affirm, "Is that what you've been so worried about these past few days? You kept saying it had something to do with your economics final, but I didn't believe you. I know you better than that. You can come see me whenever you want. I'll only be a bus ride away. Hell, I'll be close enough that you could walk."

I throw my arms around you, trying to contain my excitement. You're staying! You're really staying! I never, ever have to be without you! This is the happiest I've felt in the past month. I was so afraid of you leaving…It had been hard for me to pretend I was happy, yet I did it for your sake. "I was so scared you would leave me…" My face is nuzzled into the warmth of your chest, "And you said we would be together forever."

"I'm scared too." You admit almost shyly, "This is going to change everything, you know. But I don't want it to change any more than you do." You're absently stroking my hair, fingers twining through my thick braid, "I'm scared of being on my own, of not having you there always, of what people will think of me. Who's going to care when I cry? Who's going to tell me not to listen to what other people say? How am I going to live by myself? I need you because you are the only person who has ever loved me." You pull back a little, studying me, then draw my face up to yours, "And I love you more than anything. I know," You whisper as our lips brush together, "That we can make it side by side."

"Together forever." I agree softly and we kiss again. "I love you too. I won't ever let you be alone." I snuggle down further in your arms, perfectly content to stay that way forever. I'm still scared of what tomorrow will bring, but knowing we will face it together…It makes me less scared.

"Are you okay now?"

I nod. "Are you?"

"Very." You're smiling. I can tell without even looking. Your gorgeous smile has graced your face; the rainbow after the rain. This may only be the calm at the eye of the storm, there may be hard times ahead for us, but I know without a doubt that I can do anything with you by my side. I know…Somehow, I just know.

Outside, it stops raining.

The End; Take 2 (...I think it's really done this time!! ^_^;;)


Thank you all for reading the bonus chapter! It's titled after my penname. I hope you enjoyed the angst, fluffy goodness ^_^