Author's Note: Here we are! Final chapter. I want to thank everyone for reading and following. I know that I wasn't really reliable when it came to updating. That's what happens when life bends you over, and you know the rest. Believe me, writing... is something that I take very seriously. So, I never intended on giving up on this story.
If you'd like to read the original story, with all of its horrible typos, and differentish plot, then do go here: fiction . gurabiteshiyon story . php? no = 1193
If you'd like to read my new story with Lee Min Babe/OFC, then go here: www . fanfiction s/ 9223017/ 1/ Keepsake
You'll fall like a guillotine and I will rise - Yadi "Guillotine"
Chapter Ten: Last Letter (DEAD)
There was so much speculation going on since Tohma started visiting Mika at the hospital. Photos showed up in the paper of their outings. Rumors started circulating about them even possibly getting remarried. Yay for being back home from tour. So glad that I could go home now to relax—Oh, wait. I was living with my ex-lover, so I guess I had nowhere to go. How fucking appropriate. What was it, square one?
I had just finished writing another letter to myself, when the van came to a halt, and I was informed that we had arrived at NG Company. I folded the notebook into my back pocket and stepped out without caution. Fujisaki was beside me, but Hiro went in the opposite direction, probably to meet with Ayaka, and go on home.
"Shuichi! Shindo-san! Please…a comment!" The paparazzi were standing between me and the company building. I kept my head down and continued on past them, quickly making my way to the room where tour staff, as well as my manager, was now currently situated. Kei looked up from his spot at the table, a small smirk playing against his lips. "Did the press say or ask you anything unusual?"
He started once he knew I wasn't going to bother answering, "I'll give you the scoop. While we were away, your image was compromised. Witnesses have spotted you and Tohma in rather compromising situations. Situations that would both blemish your career and also raise question to the integrity of our president. Eiri came forth for your sake and confirmed that those accusations were false."
So, I'm back to being with Yuki? Sounds like the siblings work well together. "And what did Tohma say?" I stepped closer, but my overall defeat was looming over me. What did Tohma have to say to the press? What was real and fake at this point.
Kei gave me a sympathetic look, "He simply agreed with the statement."
He simply agreed.
I wasn't a happy person anymore. Couldn't they tell? There was nothing positive left for me anymore. It was ripped away long ago, once I had stopped believing. My final hope was gone. Slowly, I shook my head. Understanding and accepting the facts, because what else could be done? It was only a matter of time before Yuki did something aggravating 'for my sake'.
A part of me still wanted to believe that this was all a joke. It's just a miserable dream. Tohma's assistant will come in at any second to tell me he wants to see me. He'll call upon me.
Sakano gave a surprised gasp, "I… Uh…He just walked right in."
I turned to see Yuki standing there, taking note of the confident smirk on his face. Too defenseless to do or say anything, I allowed him to grab my wrist when he did, roughly pulling me against him. His mouth was against my ear, "Welcome back."
Maybe this wasn't a dream, but a nightmare.
Everyone knew that attempting to do anything against the blond was futile, so they didn't. Instead they looked around pitifully, unable to do anything while I'm tugged outside towards the hungry paparazzi. I felt Yuki's hand at my hip, squeezing painfully hard. It was a warning. I probably looked mildly uncomfortable, and within reason.
"I only want to celebrate Shuichi's return," he lied, being the loveable novelist to the face of the media. That's rich, though. I'll be sure to quote him later. If only they knew that the love between Yuki and I had faded long ago, that if I had the chance to be anywhere else in the world, with anyone else, I'd take it.
Once inside the limo, I veered my gaze towards the tinted glass window. I found it to be more relaxing and for Yuki's 'sake', I'd pretend to be elsewhere, since reality wasn't working out. That didn't stop him from thinking it was alright to talk to me, "I'm sure you're broken up about this whole Tohma-Mika thing. You probably don't want to hear this anyway, but I told you so."
Shuichi then proceeded to open up limo side door and throw himself out of the moving vehicle. He was then disappointed, since he was still alive, and in one piece. Wishes can come true if you wish hard enough, maybe.
"Why did you tell the press about the rumors being false? I'm never going to go back to loving you, no matter how hard you try. You can't keep me chained to you."
He laughed, "Who says it was my idea? Tohma came to me and told me what to say."
Wait… what the hell did that mean? I closed my eyes for a long moment, trying to understand. "Why would he do that? This wasn't Mika's idea?"
Lighting up a cigarette, he casually crossed his leg over the other. Golden eyes stared like darts right through me, making me feel uncomfortable. "It's true she's depressed over losing Tohma, especially to a brat like you, however she wouldn't dare scheme or plot to do anything that could hurt him. She'll probably always be in love with Tohma."
If it wasn't Yuki and it wasn't Mika, then it really was Tohma. Why would he do that? The limo came to a stop. It was somewhere I knew very well. Hiro and Ayaka's home, well, this was officially weird. "Why are we here?"
"I heard you have nowhere to return to, so here should be good, is it not?" Tohma must've told him. That fact only confirmed things further. "I would have offered my place, but you didn't seem so thrilled about it the last time we spoke." He cleared his throat when I looked over at him, seeing someone else entirely. Did Yuki finally get it now?
There was a knock on the door, the sound pulling Tohma from staring off into nothing, thinking without thoughts. It was late and his assistant had already gone home. He'd hoped most of the company was at home by now. He just didn't want to return to Mika's place, where he was temporarily staying until he gets around to speaking with realtors.
"Come in." A part of him wished to see someone specifically, but he knew Shuichi wasn't that kind of child. He'd never be the one to do the actual chasing, would he? The blond gave a sigh, but his heart did stop for a fraction of a second as the door opened, and then it fell when it was Yuki who casually walked in, "Did you do what I asked?"
"He's safely at Hiro's…" Yuki trailed, seeing the sad look on Tohma's face. He didn't even look like he was all there, withdrawn, and cold. The novelist gripped the notebook in his hand and wondered if he should honestly hand it over. "Isn't this painful for you? The press shouldn't be able to ensnare you so easily."
"It's not me I'm worried about."
Yuki countered, "It's not him, either." He stared hard at Tohma then. "Believe me. This kind of thing doesn't even bother Shuichi. Not when he's in love."
"Why are you suddenly concerned?" Tohma met the glare head on. "His first experience with love was with you, and what did you do with that love? You treated it carelessly. It was something that could be disposed of at any given moment."
That was enough, Yuki decided, as he slammed the book down in front of the NG president, "What makes you any different?"
He looked to Yuki and then at the notebook, not even startled, but intrigued by the sudden feeling of familiarity, "What is that?"
"Shuichi's feelings…" And with that, the novelist turned to leave, but he had to wonder if what he did was the right thing to do. He had debated several times just returning it to Shuichi, but nothing would get solved for him that way. How could he have left something so valuable behind? The writing it contained was so personal, like little confessions.
01 – Denial
This will be the last letter I'm going to write to you, since my heart is tired now. Each day just seems to further exhaust me. To just breathe and exist, do you know how hard that's been? Even before you, I always thought of disappearing into nothing. I'd never kill myself for the end, but I would end whatever was killing me. You're what hurt me, but you also keep me living in a world that I can't understand. I vowed to be strong, yet I'm only fooling myself. My outside now reflects what's on the inside and I worry about who I'll become. I'm worried that there's no coming back. Whatever I'll be from now on, just stay healthy. Stay happy. Stay you.
I looked up once Hiro opened the door, only to be met with the same concerned look that's always appeared on his face when I was lost. I haven't been myself, but please accept me. I haven't seen this look from him in a long awhile, but only because I stopped paying attention. I stopped coming over. I stopped being a friend.
He pulled me into a firm hug. There was a hint of a smile in his voice, "You finally came to me." I slowly brought my hands up to his back, returning the embrace.
"Hiro-kun, who is at the door–Shuichi!" Ayaka clasped her hands together with a look of delight on her face. She only wanted Hiro's happiness and I was a top contributor.
Somehow I knew that he'd always be here for me. Who cares if we grew apart from each other? Who cares how long I remained in the dark. He took me through his new home, "Sit down. Relax."
I accepted his offer, obliging all too willingly. Ayaka came out with a tea tray, pouring and serving us like a good wife. "Remember being young, Hiro? How easy it was to just drag yourself through anything."
He laughed, "Ever since your parents got divorced, you always wanted a simple life. How the hell is this simple? You must always aim to be better than you already are. Because you're better, you probably avoid dragging yourself through anything. You probably know how to get yourself out of these situations as well."
Smiling, I was pleased that he knew me so well. "After Mom and Father split, I refused to see them, almost hating them. That witch was going to force me to go to America with her. Then you showed up looking like you were in prayer, tears streaming down your face, and begging."
"She thought I was nuts," he chuckled, getting caught up in the memory. "I knew she'd allow you to stay if I offered to pay for your schooling, which we never went through with by the way. Does she hate me?"
I shrugged, shaking my head. "We've lost contact."
That particular day played in my head now. Had my mother also been crying? She let me go without hesitation. I could barely remember her voice, but I knew she said she loved me. Maybe I made that part up for myself? I was young.
"If you don't mind, I'd really like to rest." He nodded, gesturing me towards one of the spare bedrooms. The bed looked so comfortable, but would have been better if Tohma were beneath those sheets, taken away in a deep dream. I thanked Hiro and Ayaka both before landing face first into the soft pillows. Despite how tired I was, I wouldn't sleep. My mind wouldn't allow me such luxuries.
That's what I get for neglecting my thoughts. I could always write them? I brought my hand to my back pocket to retrieve my notebook, but it wasn't there. How didn't I notice that sooner? Shit. At what point did I lose it? Maybe it was out on the couch? I remember having it back at the company. Maybe it fell out then and someone placed it on a table?
I'll retrace my steps tomorrow.
Fall off the wagon and get swallowed by dragons.
I opened my eyes, wondering if I had fallen asleep at some point. It had only felt like a second, but when I looked over at the clock, it was already one in the morning. I knew how this was going to go and I couldn't stand pretending to sleep for much longer. While my mind ran wild, there would be no rest. Every single part of my being ached painfully, and I could hardly breathe under these conditions.
This is what it felt like when your heart has been ripped out. Why would he betray me like this? How was he even capable? Sure, Tohma was powerful, but he wasn't, couldn't be, not even a little bit like this, unless you take the past into account. He had already proven to me that he wasn't like that anymore, so even still…
I remade the bed and left a note on the table, once again thanking Hiro and Ayaka for their hospitality. I wouldn't be able to return here, either. I gave a thorough sweep of the couch, but there was no sign of my notebook. My legs took me to the bar I used to frequent. The last time I came here was with Tohma. It was when we watched that wedding. Sadly, I tend to remember everything in vivid detail. I even remembered what I had been wearing.
After having a few drinks, I stepped outside into the crisp night air. The ocean breeze was salty and intoxicating. I was so comfortable, probably due to the alcohol. Even if it had only been a little bit, it was still having its effect on me. Next step would be Yuki's limo. My fingers dialed the familiar digits, listening to the ring.
The waves were something tonight, rolling and crashing together.
"It's late, Shuichi." He didn't even sound tired. It wasn't like I interrupted him from his sleep.
I nodded slowly, still fixated. "I know and I'm sorry, but this will only take a moment."
"Have you seen a notebook around? It might've dropped out of my pocket earlier inside the limo." There was a long pause of silence, when Yuki finally answered.
"Nope, I haven't seen it. My driver would've noticed it, since he does maintenance before leaving for the night."
"I see. Well, thank you for your time." And then we hung up like two strangers.
The last place to check was the company building. If it was there, it was probably safe for now, but I honestly didn't want to stop now. I took a taxi there, deciding that I'd still like to have use of my legs tomorrow. I did too much walking for one day. The tall building wasn't very intimidating at night, but at least there weren't any paparazzi. It was almost bleak without so many people coming and going.
One of the cleaning staff opened the door for me. "I'm just going to grab my things real quick." We bowed out of custom, thanking him, and respecting him. This kind of thing really was not allowed, yet there I was, breaking all the rules. Or whatever.
Reaching the same floor as the recording room, I could already tell that it had been cleaned spotless. There was nothing on the floor, on the tables, on the counters, anywhere. They wouldn't have thrown out a notebook. I turned off the light, closed the door, and stood there for what seemed like forever. Of course the outcome wouldn't be in my favor.
I followed the corridor down its well-known path, thinking of where else it could be. There were several possibilities, and yet they all seemed unlikely. I stopped in front of a door, the president's specifically. I would lead myself here. Maybe it was possible that the notebook was in there? It probably wasn't. I knew for sure that it wasn't possible.
Just in case…
My hand felt heavy on the doorknob and it took effort just to turn it, and shove it open. This room again. The first time we made love. The many times my career had almost ended. I took a step inside the darkness, and brought my hand up to turn the light on, allowing my eyes to adjust to all that was illuminated, when I saw him there.
He was asleep on a pile of papers. It was almost like a dream, to see him here, like this. I must've been dreaming. I stopped just as I reached the desk. In his sleep, Tohma's face was soft and calm. Choppy blond hair lay in his face and I'm almost tempted to touch my fingers to his skin, to his silky hair, or to his parted lips. Then a tear slipped from beneath his lashes, over the bridge of his nose, and onto a sheet of paper.
It felt like my heart was being squeezed in my chest, constricting my breathing, like something was crushing my windpipe. "Tohma…I'm sorry."
He slowly stirred, causing me to freeze. He blinked a few times, before settling his clear blue eyes on me, "Shuichi. You came."
I nodded a few dozen times before answering, "Yeah."
"That's not like you."
"You haven't been yourself either." I watched as he sat up and right there beneath him was my notebook. He had been sleeping on top of it. "Where did you get that?"
He looked at the book. "Yuki dropped it off."
He looked directly at me, "Read it? Yes."
"You shouldn't have done that." How could he have read all of those intimate words? How frustrating. How embarrassing.
"It was written to me anyway. That last letter, Shuichi-"
I cut him off, "How dare you sit here crying and feeling upset! You lied to the press. You made Yuki lie. I thought no way would this have come from Tohma. I believed in you. I didn't think you would do something like this…"
"It was for your sake." He brought a hand up to his tired face, sighing. "I thought it was the right decision. Also, since we weren't together, I only wanted to protect you." His voice lowered, as if speaking only to himself, "It's the one thing I can do for you anymore."
"There's another letter. One I didn't get to write on paper. It's a letter I've kept inside." I could feel his eyes watching me as I slowly moved around the desk. I needed to be closer. He looked so defeated, so vulnerable. That was my role. Now I knew what it was like to play the savior. "I lied to myself. I lie all the time, if you think about it. I'm sorry I never showed you how much I cared, or if it felt like I was resisting you all the time."
"No! I'm sorry. It's not like I haven't actually been living this whole time. I have been, but it's because of you. I took you for granted. You shouldn't have to read my thoughts, my feelings. I should have just expressed them, instead of fearing what that might mean."
My body shook, overwhelmed once the tears wracked my body. I closed my eyes, not wanting to be weak here. I needed to be stronger than this. I wanted him to understand me, yet there I was breaking down. The chair Tohma was sitting on slid back, as he stood and pulled me to him. The gesture was so pleasant that I leaned into it, the warmth and comfort was like bliss.
Being held by the man I was in love with…
My voice broke as a small whisper, and trembling. "I love you."
It had to be enough.
Gentle and slow in his movements, he grabbed the side of my face as he stared down into my eyes, searching me. "I love you, too." He leaned in as if going to kiss me, his thumb parting my lips, "Be with me, Shuichi. Stay with me always." I pressed a kiss to his finger, before leaning up the extra inch, confirming my response.
I could feel his lips form into a smile against mine, returning the kiss with equal passion. The hand on my face slid down across the back of my neck, holding me firmly. There was nothing to hide behind. Everything was exposed and it felt exquisitely perfect. The doubt that would usually creep itself into the back of my mind wasn't there anymore.
It felt okay to love this person and being loved was right. It was safe. Tohma was everything that I desired in another living person. He was what I deserved. My broken heart, those painful memories I thought I couldn't bear, days where I thought living was impossible without Yuki, were gone like a passing storm.
I never imagined being able to love this deeply again.
"That was a very clever plan." Kei said, as he stood in front of Yuki, lowering his shades to the bridge of his nose to look the writer in the eye, azure meeting gold. They couldn't look away from each other.
"That's why you came to see me? You wanted to commend me." That was priceless. It wasn't like Yuki had wanted to give Shuichi up so willingly. He gave a snort, "Is that all?"
"I'm wondering what to tell the press." Both men stood outside the large company building. What a cliché it turned out to be, Tohma and Shuichi. It was something he would throw into one of his sappy romance novels. He honestly couldn't stand it, probably because it would be a good read, a better read.
"That's something you should work out by yourself. Now until you come up with something better worth my time, please refrain from speaking to me, Claude." The manager smirked upon hearing the rude response, half expecting it, but he hadn't heard his real name in awhile. That was quite interesting to him.
He figured he could try to leave a mark, speaking before Yuki could walk out of earshot, "You're not fooling anyone. Everyone will start to notice that the cold writer truly does have a heart."
"If I could get rid of it, I would." Yuki stopped for a moment, thoughtful. "It's what keeps me living. Feeling, I mean, whether it's bad or good."
"What happens when you stop feeling? What if after awhile, it's all just dead?" Kei had to ask, since that was the shaky path the novelist was currently on. The more Shuichi would disappear he'd imagine Yuki falling into nothingness as well. Why did the manager care?
Yuki turned then, finding it ironic to be saying this with all things considered, "Write a letter about it." The older man tilted his head for a moment, not quite getting it, but he nodded all the same. Slowly, surely, he'd try to get more used to the idea of Yuki. He wanted to deeply understand the novelist, even if it meant holding a gun to his head, and listening to each and every fear by either force or manipulation. Maybe even a combination of both.