By: Psychotic Tanuki
AN: I'm going to try something new, and I hope that you like it. Although it's a BxK romance fiction, I refuse to make the romance happen in like…3 chapters or even have the characters like each other instantaneously. I'd like to draw it out as long as possible, so if you don't like that, this may not be the best read. Otherwise, please read and constructively review.
Chapter One: Empty Fear
The bluish light of my LCD flat screen monitor blinked out into nothingness as I shut down my computer with a sense of satisfaction. Even if I hadn't been able to say it to his face, I had still accomplished my goal of breaking up with my boyfriend. Lingering at my desk for another minute or so, I began to notice the vacant feeling that had begun to take root in my chest. Like a sprouting flower, this…hollow void of feeling spread throughout my body. From my head to my toes, I could feel myself shiver despite being in the middle of the hot, sticky moisture of a July thunderstorm.
Cursed with a full head of long thick hair, I could feel each strand glue itself to my sticky, sweat-beaded skin. It was as if my skin were like that of a frog's, completely drenched in moisture. Why, do you ask, was I sitting in a room enveloped in a blanket of searing air? I was sitting in a 102 degrees Fahrenheit room because the power in my apartment building had shut down in the middle of a heat wave. Frustrated, I ripped my elastic hair tie from my wrist and began to wrap my hair into a hairstyle that would hopefully, keep my hair off of my neck.
Glancing around my one room studio apartment, I felt the urge to clean and yet…the lethargy of the thunderstorm compelled me to stay seated. It was as if I was a plant reaching towards the sun, yet still rooted firmly in the ground. Such was my desire to actually accomplish something. Mind you, I didn't like being lazy. It was just that such suffocating humidity demanded as little energy output as possible.
Still, I had accomplished something today. I had broken up with that asshole Amakusa Shougo—and I was damn proud of it too. Shougo was overbearing, immature, a privacy invader, and a black hole. All of the energy I had put into my relationship with Shogo was sucked into that black hole, and I never received anything in return.
Almost phantasmal, the hot sticky humidity was shattered by the gentle melancholic strains of violin. It was a strange hum of honey and smoothness that left chills running up and down my spine. A gentle smile gracing my lips, I listened to the new violin concerto that my neighbor Misao was creating. Perhaps, the new piece was inspired by "the demi-god that rocked her world", her boyfriend Aoshi.
Sad and powerful, the music completely altered the thunderstorm. What had once been a lethargic rain was now thundering upon the earth in absolute anguish. Ubiquitous raindrops crashed into the ice of my window while lightning blazed ephemerally and thunder roared with fury.
With a rabid desire to be a part of the rain, I had risen from my desk and flung open my window. My building had no bug screens (I had the mosquito bites to prove it), and so I thrust my parched arms directly into the warm summer rain. The warm rain water flowed luxuriously over my arms and it wasn't enough. I wanted to feel something—I wanted to make sure that this empty void that I felt in my body was only temporary. I wanted to make sure that I was still capable of feeling. I wanted to make sure that I was right in breaking up with Shougo. I wanted to feel something, anything.
Grabbing my umbrella and slipping into my white sandals, I hurriedly ran out of my apartment. I didn't bother to close my window. I didn't know where my feet were taking me, and I didn't know where I was running to. The air was tense with humidity, and the water splashed at my feet, which were exposed for all to see. My lungs felt like they had combusted into a violent flame whose pinpricks could reach all the way into my side like a knife.
I didn't know how long I had been walking or where I had been walking to. Stopping for a moment, I quickly surveyed my surroundings. My feet had taken me to the park that ran right along the Hudson River. I'd never really taken the time to walk through the park before, mainly because I could never find the time. My pace somewhat slowing down, I began to feel stupid.
No one else was out during this maddening thunderstorm. I mean, there were people outside, but no one was outside without a destination in mind like I was. They were all going somewhere; they had a destination in mind. And I still felt empty inside. I didn't want to sound cliché, but it was as if there was something missing in my life. It was as if I was a nearly completed jigsaw puzzle, and the missing piece was nowhere to be found.
"What am I doing here?" I tightened my grip on my umbrella, and roots sprang from my feet and held me firmly in place. My head felt as if it was reeling and the faint traces of a headache gave me a feeling of indescribable emptiness within the confines of my skull. I was staring at my feet, which despite the humid air had grown cold.
The loud pitter-pattering of the rain accented with the ominous roar of thunder snapped me out of my daze. I had been so sure that I would find what I was missing, and yet—I glanced at my watch—after twenty minutes of aimless wandering, I had found nothing. Defeated and dejected, I tossed my umbrella to the side and indifferent to whether or not the bench was wet, sat down.
"Get a grip Kaoru—get a grip." My eyes burned painfully and my vision blurred as hot saltine tears threatened to overflow. I didn't know why I cried, I didn't even know why I was here—in the rain. Tomorrow I would go back to my regular life—tomorrow I would forget about this empty feeling and everything would be okay. Did I really think I could just walk out and find whatever it was that I was missing?
The rain, albeit warm, was beginning to feel cold upon my skin. I had run out of my house in nothing but shorts, a t-shirt and sandals, and thus, there was no heavy clothing to protect me from the rain. I had grown soaked and my ponytail had grown stiff with rainwater, slathering itself to my skin. I was sure that, with my diminutive stature, and somewhat plain face, I resembled a drowned rodent. The rain had no intention in stopping, and yet I had grown accustomed to the incessant droplets falling upon my head. The monotony of those raindrops was a painful realization of one thing, and one thing only; I was miserably unhappy and I didn't know why. A loud crack of thunder ripped across the sky, but it was accompanied by no lightning and somewhere in the back of my mind I slaughtered an ominous feeling.
Then suddenly, I could hear the click of a gun and feel the cold barrel poke into my side as another body sat down languidly next to me. Eyes widening, my gaze nervously teetered to meet a frightening shade of glowing brown eyes—so luminous that they seemed to glow amber. Amber eyes didn't belong on humans.
"What did you see?" The voice was cold and dispassionate, and yet it rumbled forth from the speaker's chest that I was sure it was a man. Sure enough, his face, which was framed by a curtain of violent crimson hair, was angular and masculine with a hint of androgynous beauty.
"Was I supposed to have seen anything?" My own voice was meek and barely audible as I was very unnerved by his presence.
"Don't ask questions, just answer mine."
"Nothing. I saw nothingness, a black pit of nothingness."
"Why are you here?" He removed his gun from my side and unconsciously, I breathed a sigh of relief. Until, that is, he cocked it straight in front of my face. I could hear my heart beat rapidly, until the pounding resonated loudly inside my head. At point blank, not even Speedy Gonzalez would be able to dodge—I didn't delude my self to believe that I could.
"I am here because…I was afraid that I was dead inside." I was going to die, I could feel it. His cold amber eyes showed no compassion or feeling, and I was afraid, deathly afraid that he would pull the trigger and then I'd be dead. My existence would be nothing more than a memory. Something told me that at this precise moment, I should be begging for my life; that I should be seeing flashes of random memories. I was walking the fine line between life and death, teetering along its borders.
"Aren't you afraid of dying now?"
"Then go home. As far as you're concerned, you were never here." He didn't have to tell me twice. As soon as he lowered the gun, I ran as fast as my sandals would let me. Ignoring the rain, I could hear gunshots ringing in the background and I resisted the temptation to look back. If I looked back, I would see something—and I didn't want to see any more than I already had.
It didn't matter how fast I ran, or how long the thunderstorm would keep me awake tonight.
Those eyes would haunt my dreams.