A/N: I decided I needed to rewrite my SMJ series, so I did. Welcome to the first of five installments, formerly titled "What Shall Be Left Unspoken." Enjoy!


You are the air that I breathe. The air, and the moon and the stars, and all things bright and beautiful and must I go on?

I hope you know that. I hope you know that if it weren't for Yumeji, I'd be up there in seconds flat. Hanagata Mitsurugi's final flight—!

I have to make the jokes in my head, even if I know how angry you'd be if you could hear me. Because damn, have I ever been this afraid in my entire life? Gartlant can't even hold a candle to this. Not even Daddy can. That's saying a lot.

I wonder if he's okay.

What are you guys doing up there right now? The explosions get louder, closer, every minute. I wonder if everything's all right. I mean, look: you're you, Otaru-kun. And they're them. You can do anything. Still, there's this insanely stupid and marginally suicidal part of me that feels left out, that wants to be right there by your side. Then maybe...

But we all know I would die up there, and I could never do that to my brother. Maybe if he were a little older, I—… But he's not. So here I am, cursing heaven above that I was born such a coward. Though it's not like you would have me go anyway, would you? I bet that's just your way of telling me you care. Right? Right?

I think my life may be flashing before my eyes. I don't know; either it's never happened to me before or it's happened so often that I don't even notice anymore, but that's not really the point either way. What's important is that I remember how it was a year ago: the sun was shining, birds sang in celebration of my moving in next to you (like I know you were in spirit, but you're a little clumsy with your feelings like that, Otaru-kun). Those pesky girls were just beginning to finagle their way into your good graces. Those pesky, pesky girls. Lime was the worst by far. Lime is the worst, with the perpetual vise-grip she has on your attention and the talking and the talking and the talking and the talking…

Cherry's tolerable. And her pickles are fabulous. Don't tell her I said that, though. Not that it's anything I care to think about, but she also needs to get laid. Not by you, of course. Don't tell her I said that, either.

But don't you even get me started on Bloodberry. Crazy amazon. I'm surprised she hasn't killed us all by now. Before you come back, you can invite her to stay up there a while longer for me!

…I don't mean that. I just thought I did. Once. Oh no, Hanagata Mitsurugi said, what do I want to do with her? Nothing, that's what. Nothing at all. Not me. Nope.

It's kind of funny. In an insane sort of way.

And you. I don't think I need to tell you by now that you go without saying. You're an angel. You're also a dolt. But you're also an angel. My angel. That's right.

Shush, Yumeji.

Fine, ours. For now. Ha. Funny that I pick a time like this to sort things out intelligently.

Yumeji, please.


So. You're back. —What the hell, you're back and it's over! And don't you walk away from me; have you any idea whatsoever how I've been worrying?

…Your party's looking a little slim there, Otaru-kun. And I don't like the look in your eyes. You're tired. And no one else is coming.

Are they.

It's not a question.

You're warm, though. Even with those shadows under your eyes. Not that I can see you very well— it's a little blurry. From the smoke from the wildfires raging in the city. That is.


Push me. Put your arms around me. Do something, will you? Say anything. Silence doesn't— it doesn't flatter you at all. Dammit, talk!

…Or leave. Sure. You're not seeing me anyway. Bye-bye, Otaru-kun's back.

Door in my face. Beautiful.

Goddammit. Just tell me what's wrong already so I can tell you it's all right even though it is most palpably not.

Throw me a friggin' bone here, somebody. Anybody.

Even God.

God, God, God.

It's been hours, and not a sound. Frankly, I think it's remarkable that I've waited this long to intervene, but it was your eyes, Otaru-kun. They scared me. Kept me away and burning until I couldn't take it anymore, so now I'm here. Your door feels a little rickety; it's probably Lime's fault. There's a crack running up the wall, too.

I understand if you never fix it.

You shouldn't sit in the dark. Don't you know how terrible that is for your eyes? It's pitch-black outside and your stove is cold and the room is dead. It's two A.M.? Three?

There you are. Lovely and strong. Buried so far in the darkness of your bed that it looks like you might disappear. That would be absolutely unacceptable.

Absolutely… unacceptable.

I guess I should come back. No, no— that's not it. You do this; it's because you're you. You wouldn't tell me to stay even if it'd kill you to be alone. I know you. So…


I think there's something wrong with my ears. Everything is distant. My voice, your breathing.

"Otaru-kun. Hey..."

Your back is warm, though. Warm and alive and I really hope that means something to you. It sure as hell means something to me.

"…what is it?"

Ow, that voice.

Come on up. Easy does it; that's right. Now, give me some bloody answers and I'll pretend not to notice that I'm sitting in your bed. I'm a smart man, Otaru-kun. I know better than to screw this up, especially when you need me. Yeah, I said it. You need me. You wouldn't be breathing into my shoulder if you didn't. I wouldn't be able to smell sorrow all over you like cologne. Why do you suppose tears have a scent?

Your skin is perfect. Your breath is… very, very hot. I like it, and yes, I know that makes me a horrible person. But honestly, can you really blame me? I love you, you hopeless clod. You dying ghost.

I wonder what it would be like, though.

Ruining the moment.

"They're gone."

I thought I would be prepared.

"We made it. To the Mesopotamia. Dammit, I said I'd go alone, but they— God, they—!"

What do I say to that?

"Idiots— those— God…"

Do you know what it's like to watch someone suffer, Otaru-kun, and be completely powerless to do a thing about it? …Of course you do.

The smell of tears has squared itself.

Those people (it's not a good idea to say their names). I… honestly don't know what to… There is a hole in some part of me. Somewhere in there. And finally, Otaru-kun, we're exactly the same.

Lie down. I won't call attention to it. I'll just be here beside you. Just like this. Yeah.

…You smell good. You smell good and they're gone and so are you. And so am I. I love you. I never really wanted it to be this way. Not like this. If there were lights on you'd look like hell. I'd see you wet and red and it would be horrifying. I love you. Don't leave.

"Don't cry."

Silence. Sniff. "Sorry. …I'm a pathetic excuse for a man, huh?"

I can see the exact look on your face. Rueful with a difference or something like that.

"That's not true and you know it. You need to sleep." I'll even get up off this half of the pillow.

The rest is silence. A little rain. That's good, I think the city's still burning. And I… I'd kill to stay, but I have to go. I have to think.

Who knew it was so cold in here? You seem comfortable enough, though. You wouldn't wake up for the world itself, but it owes you plenty after tonight anyway, huh? Do I get a little of that, too? I'm asking; I really don't know. But I bet if I kissed you, you'd never even know it.

So I think I will. I am a Terrible Person; you don't need to spell it out for me. I always give into what I want. Because I'm me.

Good night, sweet prince. Mind that crack in the wall when you wake up. I'm afraid of what it might do to you.

It's wet outside. I think most of Japoness is awake, though. It's entirely your fault. You're you. People love you. Otaru-kun loves you. I…

Well. Not that it matters. As soon as we start to get back on our feet you'll be back to claim him for yourselves. No one could get rid of you if they tried. I'm glad you weren't here to see tonight, anyway— even I'm not unsympathetic. But you'd want me there to comfort him, wouldn't you? Maybe I should go back… Maybe not.

Because you're you. Lime. Cherry. Bloodberry.