So what can I say, it's been forever, I know it, and I just hope you enjoy reading this, God knows you've been waiting long enough, lol. Thanks to everyone for reading!

Must Get Out

I had tried to eat, but found that my appetite was lacking, and ended forcing myself to at least swallow a loaf of bread before going back into Kazahaya's room. The blonde was still out cold, his mind and body so completely exhausted there wasn't even a chance for him to have nightmares yet, though I was expecting those to come sooner or later. I sat by his bedside, flipping the paper open in front of me, trying to force myself to concentrate on something other than the stillness of his body, his lightly swollen lips and the way the sunlight glinted off his hair… trying to keep my mind from wandering over the night before, and distract it from the stinging pain in my heart at the memories.

All of a sudden, I wished that it was months later, so that I wouldn't have to go through seeing him wake up back to reality, that I wouldn't have to watch him struggle with his vision… that it would all pass us and stay behind us. I couldn't deny it, I was scared of what the next couple days would be like. Kazahaya wouldn't be himself, and I would have to watch him… struggling… in pain…

I threw the paper off in disgust at my inability to keep my mind off the sleeping angel at my side, and instead turned to him, crossing my arms and resting them on the bed, placing my chin on them as I reached out and stroked his silken hair.

Hell. The next couple days would be like hell for the both of us. Him most of all, of course, but I would suffer. I turned my head away, gritting my teeth lightly. This wasn't helping… I needed to think of how I could help Kazahaya, not worry so much… that wouldn't help at all.

I sat there for hours, drifting between thought-overrun consciousness and light sleep, my hand alternately stilling above his face when I slept, or stroking it while I was awake. Late morning was turning into early afternoon, and early afternoon was slowly giving way to late afternoon. In a couple hours, I thought, glancing at the clock, Kakei and Saiga would be dropping by.

In stages, the sleeping boy faded out of exhaustion and into normal sleep, and eventually, he began stirring, and soon, that turned into fitful thrashings. I didn't know whether that was out of nightmares yet though, and I wanted him to sleep as long as he could, so I didn't consider waking him up.

I lifted open my eyes to find that I had drifted into sleep again, and immediately my eyes coursed over to check on Kazahaya. His brow was furrowed, his mouth mumbling something inaudible, his hand twitching at his side. I frowned, sensing the beginning of a dream that could very well turn into something nasty pretty soon.

"You incessant troublemaker," I muttered, trying to get any semblance of normalcy back. Me teasing him and calling him names was normal, and it helped get something for me to hold on to. If I called him names in my head, it would make the situation seem more mundane… take the serious edge off it. Bring back some of the relaxed and careless feeling of their lives before. I felt like everything had been turned inside-out, and I was desperate for the apprehension to stop making my stomach clench.

"You little bastard…" I whispered, hating how my voice was only a fraction away from breaking as I saw his hands grip the covers, and his head shake. His face was scrunched up in a mix of disgust and fear, and he strained to get as far away as possible from the imaginary horrors he was seeing.

"Kazahaya… wake up," I reached my arm out, gently touching his arm, but as soon as I'd applied enough pressure for him to register it, he flinched and drew away, crying out as if burned. I let out a shaking breath and sat down on the bed, watching helplessly, wanting so badly to just touch him, and offer physical comfort.

"Kazahaya," I repeated, louder, and pounded on the mattress. He frowned, his breathing gradually speeding up, "Kazahaya! Wake up!"

He only whimpered, ignoring the edge in my voice and curling up into himself. I reached out again, aware that it was probably a mistake, but what else could I do? But once again, as soon as my fingers ghosted over his skin, he jerked violently and this time, he lashed out to strike at me, his fingernails scraping my skin deep enough to break it. I hissed and drew back, and he lay still for a moment, his breathing coming in short bursts broken by occasional whimpers and short cries.

"Damn it, Kazahaya, wake up!"

Yesterday's glass on the bedside table suddenly burst. I don't know if it was my words or the explosion that jolted him, but he did wake. His eyes were suddenly open, staring into the nothingness of the wrinkles of his covers with something like disbelief, but his breathing didn't slow, if anything, it sped up, and his face gradually paled. My arm stung, but I was too busy nervously watching for Kazahaya's reaction to acknowledge it. I didn't want to acknowledge it either; I felt it would be selfish to.

His eyes were still wide and out of focus, lost in some memory or image that I didn't want to imagine, and he slowly raised his arms to plant the heel of his hands on his eyes, and that's when the first choked sob came, just like it would for many days ahead. I didn't want to watch, couldn't stand to, and so looked down, watching the blood ooze steadily from my arm.

I was expecting a full-blown break-down, much like yesterday's, but he surprised me, as the seconds ticked by, and I was still afraid to look up and face anything other than how fascinating those red drops crawling down my arm were. There were a few strangled keens, that made me flinch every time one broke loose from his throat, but other than that, there was no sound, no movement, and when I finally found the courage to look up, he was still in the same position, shaking with suppressed cries, his eyes covered by the palms of his hands, so that all I could see of his pasty face were his clenched teeth, and the repeated shake of his head in denial of his visions.

"Kazahaya…" I murmured, and sat down on the bed. He didn't respond, only shaking his head once more, sharply, and I wasn't sure if it was against me or not. I hesitated for a moment before whispering, "Is it alright… if I touch you?"

I felt almost ridiculous asking, as he'd let me hold him all of yesterday, but today was different, right now he wasn't seeking comfort, and I felt the need to ask. He tensed, cringing.


I froze, my hand midway to his shoulder, and slowly retreated. I felt like I'd been slapped, like icy water was running down the walls of my stomach, and for one moment, wasn't sure how to mask my dejection.

He didn't need me here… he didn't want me here.

I closed my eyes briefly and stood. He needed time alone, I told myself. He hadn't meant it, he simply needed space, it had not been a personal assault. But the fact remained the same, and even my logic couldn't dissuade my heart from the hurt, the stinging, painful bruise it had received throbbing with each heartbeat. He didn't mean it.

The cold tap water from the kitchen sink startled me, and the blood, already clotting, was washed away from my arm, leaving two lightly swollen scratches. I didn't bother with bandages, and went on numbly through the motions of picking up the paper that I had earlier discarded. But the headline barely made sense, and I had to have read the first line at least five times before it became comprehensible, and after that, it became a sort of morbid game to see how hard I had to read to distract myself from the small body that I knew to be laying in bed a wall across. Needless to say I lost, and the paper was soon discarded for the second time that day.

I missed the sound of padded footsteps, but jumped when I heard the bathroom door click shut, and gritted my teeth when I heard the lock follow. A tip of the newspaper suddenly combusted, and I slammed my hand down on it to keep it from actually catching on fire.

Stupid… like that would ever stop me had I wanted to Break in… but that wasn't the main point, of course. He had locked the door, and shut me out. After everything I had given to him- my devotion, my constant care and watch, my hopes, my purpose of life, and most importantly, a heart that was still heavily scarred from the last person it had allowed itself to love. And he shut me out…

I admit I was hurt and confused. It was with a bitter feeling that I recalled how trustingly he'd allowed me to hold him the day before, how I had been the person he'd come to and asked for comfort. But then again, who else was there? We were so much closer to each other than we'd ever be to Saiga and Kakei, and they were the only two other candidates. It was almost pathetic to realize that they were the only people we had. It showed, in a way, how complete we were with each other, even amidst our isolation and painful pasts, that we had never really sought anyone else. At the moment though, that was hardly a comforting thought.

I couldn't seem to get out of my head how badly his rejection was affecting me. I had thought that I had control over myself and my emotions, that I would never allow myself to be hurt by someone's actions, that I'd never become emotionally attached enough for that to happen… but somehow, Kazahaya had wormed his way into me, and now I was no more than a doll controlled my its puppeteer, no matter how unaware he was to the strings he pulled with his words and actions. The saddest part was that I wouldn't have it any other way.

I think there was a point in my life, before I met Kazahaya, and after Tsukiko's… accident, during which I was seriously worried about my humanity. I wondered if it was okay to be so emotionally isolated, to really and truly not feel, not care. And I didn't, not when I saw children dying, not when I heard of massacres and rapes, not when saw people sick and dying, it didn't affect me, like a movie that one knows is staged and fake, but worse, because I knew that they were not the fakes—I was. Even my worry was a small subconscious one, almost a mere curiosity- If I couldn't feel, was I human? The only thing that ever got me riled up, and usually it was in a sort of tenacious, self-righteous way, was the thought of finding Tsukiko. And even that died out after a while of no leads.

Kazahaya had done so much for me… he really didn't see it, and I didn't think he'd ever find out, as it was a bit of a sore subject for me to touch upon, but he had brought me back my humanity. The first time I laughed, was at him. The first time I truly got angry and worried about something other than Tsukiko, was at him. The first time I felt pity, and understanding, was for him. The first time I felt affection, was for him. The first time I was sad, was because of him.

The sound of the shower being turned on broke my train of thought. I sighed and dug my hands into my hair, resting my forehead on my palms as I closed my eyes. Kakei's words rang out in my mind, --He'll probably take long showers, lots of them. What could I do? How could I help him… that's all I wanted, but there's nothing harder to obtain than what you really want. I stood and paced about the kitchen for a while, kicking the newspaper aside, before passing the bathroom. Steam trailed slyly from underneath the hinge, and all I could hear was the pounding needles of rain on the tile, nothing more. In his room, I bent to pick up the shattered glass pieces, and they gleamed dangerously up at me. Just don't let him hurt himself… I prayed.

I finally figured out that at the least, I could prepare something for him to eat, though it was highly unlikely that he'd eat it. I was tired, partly from lack of food, but I had neither the appetite, nor the will to force myself to eat something. He was a different matter, however. I'd make him eat…

I couldn't help the strong wave of overprotection that I felt towards him. A while ago, I would have never believed that it was possible to feel hurt for someone else. But that was what I felt, and the worst thing was that I felt a sort of guilt, or regret, of being tainted, as if I'd done something wrong… Logically, my brain told me that none of this was my fault in any way- that there was no way that it could be my fault. But maybe it was because I felt that I had failed in protecting him like I'd told myself so many times I'd do, or because I didn't know how to fix the problem now, but I felt like it was my fault.

I banged my head on the wall gently and told myself it'd all work out. Somehow.

An hour passed, and I become more and more restless, growing more frantic by the minute, so that by the time that I heard the shower knob squeak closed, and the gurgling sound of the drain, the rubber ball in my hands was a tattered mess on the floor, bits and pieces Broken off as I'd squeezed it out of impatient anxiety. It only told me that I needed to have tighter control over my powers, so that traces of it would not leak when I was emotionally distraught… or maybe the answer was to freeze myself over so that I would never be able to let anything affect me enough to upset my control over my powers. Kazahaya had managed to make that an impossibility, however.

Twenty minutes more ticked by painfully slow, my eyes fixated on the door, aware of each breath that passed through my lungs, and the continuous droning of my heartbeat. Twenty minutes of silence, and then ten more. Apprehension twisted in my gut like a cold metal coil, and I wondered uneasily what was taking him so long.

Breaking the bathroom lock took no more energy or concentration than flicking a piece of paper, but I hesitated in actually opening it. Still… I figured it was better to follow Kakei's advice and make sure he was okay. Inside, the mirror was fogged, and the air was heavy with humidity, almost misty. I took a deep breath and gingerly pushed open the shower door.


I took in the sight of him huddled in one corner of the shower stall, his sopping clothes clinging to him, his hair plastered against his face. His skin was an angry pink from the hot water, and he looked as defenseless as a child, curled up around himself protectively. What could I do to save him?

He shuddered once, and raised his eyes almost shyly up at me, "Rikuou?"

"Hey…" I said softly, "You've been in the shower for an hour and a half," I was worried.

"… Sorry."

I sighed, feeling out of place as he lowered his eyes and stared at some indescribable spot, "C'mon, you should put on dry clothes…" I didn't question the fact that he hadn't taken off his clothes—it was probably a question of vulnerability to be naked, in this case. Humans tend to feel the most unprotected when they are naked, and considering that rape was the case of a traumatic breach in personal security, he'd probably felt much more safe in his clothes.

I handed a towel to him, and he looked at it for a moment before turning to me with the most melancholy pair of eyes I'd ever seen, that I just wanted to kneel down and gather him in my arms again.

"Dry off. I'll come back with dry clothes in a sec," I murmured, and left him there, staring at the towel as he sat in the shower. I closed the door quietly behind me, and after a moment of standing against the warm door, went to his drawers, sifting through them to find him clothes. I knocked on the bathroom door, and after a moment, it opened and his small hand stuck out, and I sighed, giving him the clothes.

I sat back down at the kitchen table, and attempted to eat some of the re-heated ramen, but in the end, there was little difference in the amount that was in the bowl before I had eaten. Was he okay, would he accept me again? Could I help him in any way? The bathroom door creaked, and I turned to look at him, looking small and withdrawn in clothes that were a tad too big, as if he had the answer. He did, of course, but I don't know if he knew how to give it. Much less if it'd be favorable.

He stared at me with those baleful eyes of his, and they raked over the kitchen as if seeing it in a new light. Was like so dark now that it was hard to recognize it? Did he see nuances of what he'd been through in things that seemingly held no importance? Did he now see me as a threat that he'd never understood. Or, very simply, was he afraid of me because my physical appearance, and the way I'd acted before reminded him of what he'd been through? God, I was so stupid… I just felt it, realizing that how could he trust someone that he saw as a pervert half the time, or suspected of an ulterior motive? How was he supposed to know that never in my life… would I ever try to hurt him?

I'd set up his plate and chopsticks on the table, and he suddenly sighed and came over to sit. He didn't even bother saying 'Itadakimasu' and simply picked up the chopsticks and poked his food a bit. I carefully took another bite, watching him all the while, and hating how he avoided raising his gaze the whole time.

"You should eat."

He nodded almost imperceptibly, his wet hair sticking to his forehead and neck, and he pulled it away before lifting up a bite to eat. His movements were slow, as if drugged, or in a trance, and through some more gentle coaxing on my part, he managed to take several more bites, until he'd eaten about half the bowl.

"…I don't feel good," he finally muttered, "I want to sleep."

"Of course," I said, and waited for him to stand and leave, frowning when he didn't, and just sat there looking at his lap. His behavior made me so uneasy, I hated seeing him this lifeless, in contrast to the whirlwind of animated spirit he normally was. It was scary, as if something had been sucked out of him, leaving an empty shell, like this was a ghostly afterimage of what was normally there.

"…Can you carry me?"

I blinked, but the words had been clear, and I felt a weight lift off my shoulders, and sort of white relief that spread through me along with warm affection. Silently, I stood in front of him, feeling my heart shatter into a thousand pieces as he raised his arms up like a small child asking to be picked up. I tucked my arms underneath him, gathering him close to me and feeling the pull of his arms around my neck, and took him back to bed. I don't know how to explain the odd mixture of contentment and relief that I felt at having him back to me, to have his trust again, after that cold fear of rejection. His face was pressed tight against my neck, and I relished in the warmth that came from his small body. He would be mine to hold forever, though he would never know it.

I dunno what's going on with my writing style- it's hard being consistent in one story when you haven't worked on it in forever, and real inspiration's not quite there. But hopefully this was good, so review and comment! I thought Saiga and Kakei would be coming in this chapter, but it'll be next chapter. Only one person got it right about Kakei... but I won't say who until next chapter. Btw, I'll eventually work on Insecurities too... i've got the whole plot already, it's just writing it that's killing me... Bye!