I should feel something. I know I should. It's absolutely amazing and I should be terrified, but I can't even feel enough to cry. Some people call it shock, but I just don't know. Everything has always turned out this way. I've always been the one to ruin things for myself… for everybody else. But still, like a fool, I let them in and I don't warn them that I ruin everything. I don't warn them that a single touch of these fingers of mine will turn everything to shit.
It's selfish, I know. But I want to badly to be accepted and finally—finally! – I had been absolutely happy.
What a fool to believe that I could deserve anything like happiness.
I'm desperate to erase everything that's happened. Desperate to know that I can still feel, because inside I've turned to stagnant, so dull and still. I'm desperate to know that I'm alive and after I know…
I can't have more people that I care about dying. Ouka. Father. Everything that I get close to will fall apart and they don't deserve that. If anyone does, it's me. I deserve to dissolve. If only I could find a way to switch places with someone. I'd hand over this damned throne that I've come to sit on. Hand over this Empire that I've created and watch it fall and simply laugh…
I would start over and keep myself from everybody else and be happy knowing that I wouldn't hurt anyone.
So I stare blankly at the lines of Ginsu on the countertop and slowly select one, tracing my fingers lightly over the stainless steel edge. "What have I become?" I ask it slowly, not hearing my own voice in my ears and I know that if I strain, I can hear it answer me. "Alone. You're alone now."
That's right. I haven't changed at all. I am stagnant, right? I'm the centre of this whirlwind and everyone continues to dance around me until somehow I throw them out.
I'm sick of this. I'm sick of standing around and watching things happen. I'm sick of seeing that image over and over in my head and knowing that this is what fate chose to happen. There was no way out! I should have been the one that the bullet hit! I'm the one it was aimed at. I should have died, but instead…
The image repeats itself again, another round of the whirlwind. The rough impact of the body against me and then a crash of glass three stories up. Again and again Yohji throws himself at me and crashes through the window, staring up with astonished, pleading eyes and reaching out for the hand that I simply couldn't move to give.
I can imagine his body on the pavement, sprawled out on the sidewalk, so much unlike the lazy catlike lounging, that he'd taken to. His subdued, lazy gaze suddenly wide, glazed, staring… nothing left of the soul that had urged him to take that damned bullet, to take that damned fall!
Why didn't I give him my hand? Why didn't I pull him up? I just watched aimlessly as the others rushed to ground level, tempted to simply take the short route and throw myself down with him. But I couldn't. I was too empty. So I came home to this emptiness, sitting and staring at the sharp edges of everything and imagining how I could join him and pay for this agony and torment that I so easily dote on the people I care about. I don't want them to leave me. As they wander away I want to scream at them, "What are you doing? I'm still right here! Why do you just walk away like that means nothing?"
So this is my Empire… and it looks as though it's about time to pass it on to another Emperor. My friends have suffered enough on behalf of me.
Yohji has suffered enough on behalf of me.
So I discard the Ginsu and slowly reach into one of the drawers to stare face to face with a small green dart, the liquid inside sloshing in an almost pleasant gurgling music. This is one friend that I will never fail… simply because -it- can never fail –me-.
I tilt it this way and that, staring at it in the light as the memories rush back to me, finally pushing in the aching pain that should have been there when Yohji jumped. It stings, you know. It's like a fire consuming your chest and rising up into your throat… but the tears won't come. They refuse and I begin to lower the point of the dart to my arm, the needle glinting in the kitchen's fluorescent lighting.
"Omi! What are you doing!" My eyes shoot up of their own will to stare at Ken, shaking in the doorway, his hair mussed from the rush home, no doubt. He's clenching his hands and moves to take a step forward.
"Don't move, Ken," I warn, deaf to the ferocity in my voice, an unknown sneer forming across my lips. "I'm tired of causing people pain. I want all of this to stop, Ken. –I- want to stop."
I can see him tempted to run at me and pry the dart from my fingers, but he wavers and I know, with a distant wave of relief, that he realizes that he'll never make it. He's angry. Ken's never really been angry with me, but I know that this is how he would look. His eyebrows are furrowed so deeply that I can see the creases from where I stand and a deep line has formed on one side of his down-turned mouth. "You're being stupid, Omi! He jumped to –save- you! Don't undo everything just so that you can—"
I can't listen to his babble anymore. He's trying to stall me until the rest of them get here… but they're a million miles from me now. None of them can stop me. None of them can save me from myself. "Yohji died because of me, Ken! The least I can do is go and keep him company, don't you think? I'll spare all of you the trouble of hurting because of me. At least you and Aya can be happy, right?"
"If you would have stayed longer, you'd know that Yohji –isn't- dead. It was only three stories, Omi!"
His voice is distant, but I know he's lying to me. I saw Yohji fall. I saw the pleading in his eyes and the dread on his face. He knew he was going to die. He –knew- he was going to die. "Stop lying Ken. You should just let me do what I have to. Be greedy for once! Let me do this for you! For Yohji!"
"Would you shut up and just –listen- to me, Omi!" He takes a step forward in an effort to get to me, but I sharply push the needle against my skin, pleased with the feeling of the cool metal and the closeness of blessed release and Ken stops. "Hold on a second, would you? Believe me like you used to, Omi. I'm not lying. If anyone it, it's you!" That's foolish. Why would I be lying? I have nothing to lose now. What would be the point in lying? He takes a step forward, an almost pleading expression on his face. Maybe he sees the sincerity in my eyes. Good. He sees that I can't trust him. If I do, he'll go away, too.
"Don't take another step, Ken. What point would I have in lying? I'm –alone-. I may as well be dead." But he hasn't stopped walking. I grit my teeth together and tighten my grip on the dart, raising it to gain momentum so that the poison can be released. "You're the one being stupid, it seems…" And I'm about to move to thrust it into my upturned wrist, but something makes me slow and then a voice interrupts me, calling me by a name I had never expected to hear again.
I look up and everything slows. My hand is going slack and I feel the dart slide from my grip to click harmlessly on the tile. I can feel the back of my throat working, swelling into a silent sob and for the first time tonight, my vision is wavering, being distorted by the onslaught of tears so that I can hardly see the slouching form in the doorway. All I can make out is the mussed blonde hair and the stained white bandage wrapped around his shoulder. "Yotan…" The form straightens slightly and pushes away from Aya to support himself against the wall. He sees me stumbling towards him, my previously numb body wracked with tingling shivers of relief and adrenalin and he opens one arm to accept my desperate embrace. "I thought…" and I had. I thought he was dead, but I can't admit it. I can't bring myself to face the belief and the numb pain that hadn't registered again. It courses through me now, a million tiny pinpricks against my fingers as I trace his tear-blurred face with them.
He's shifting slightly now and I almost panic, my pulse racing as I move to catch him… but his lips are brushing against my forehead and he whispers slightly into my hair. "I'm still here, Omittchi… I'm still right here…" The relief in my chest is flooding through me, coursing out in sobs so loud that I can't even try to reply and, for once, I'm glad. I'm glad to have these strong arms wrapped around me, comforting me with their warmth. We're sliding to the ground. Neither of us can support our own weight anymore and I find myself with my arms around his neck, tears slowing long enough for me to shakily inhale the musky scent of cigarettes and flowers that I had never thought I'd smell again. He shushes me slightly, petting the back of my head as he always has, his cheek resting on my brow so that I can feel the dampness of his own tears.
"I was so afraid…" I try to say, but he shakes his head as if to tell me that he doesn't need to hear it and I immediately know that he understands… and sympathises with my fear of being alone again, of inflicting pain on the people closest to me.
"I'm alright. Everything'll be okay… but you can't do that, Omi." He's using my name, something he doesn't do unless he's completely serious and it strikes a pain in me again, but I know I deserve it. "I jumped so that you could stay alive… not so you could…" He's cut himself off and I know I've started to cry again. The vague shadow of a smirk crosses his lips and he wipes away the fresh trickle of tears. "Alright… we won't talk about it right now…" I sigh and nod slightly, resting my head on his chest, breathing in his personal musk as I feel myself dozing to the sound of his heartbeat.
I open my eyes slightly, sleepily, with a thought that I can't let pass me by again. I've missed so many chances before… "Ai shiteru…"
He chuckles slightly, adjusting against me to kiss me on the brow again, causing me to smile despite myself. "Ai shiteru, bishonen."