Disclaimer: GetBackers isn't mine, mm'kay?
Notes: First Toshiki/Sakura thing I managed to FINISH, it's about friggin' time. Inspired by Amanda Marshal's "Beautiful Goodbye".


"...I will be disbanding Fuuga and joining up under Raitei and his gang, the Volts. Juubei, Sakura, Toshiki... will you follow me?"

And how couldn't they, after they'd followed him this far? Saizou had long since disappeared and Kazuki and mourned for him; his trusting heart told him that no way would Saizou have left of his own free will, and it meant he must have been killed somewhere. Kazuki could have, should have been there to protect him. He'd let one of his trusted and loved subordinates down. There is pain in his eyes still, but he stares at them all head-on, expression forced into a sort of nuetralness terribly unbefitting of his kind face. Juubei smiles (he so did smile more often when he was younger), and Sakura's head dips, "Do you need to ask? We will follow you anywhere, Kazuki-sama."

And Toshiki stands apart, behind the siblings who turn then to look at him. Sakura knows well the wounded look in his eyes, and she knows why it is there. She can see it all over his face and in the tenseness of his shoulders and the way his hands are balled into tight fists at his sides. Without a word, the blonde spins and stalks out the door, and they can hear his rushed footsteps hurrying up the stairs down the hall. Kazuki says nothing, but looks away, bits of his expressionless facade slipping away. Juubei goes to him, as he always does.

Which leaves Sakura to go after Toshiki, a ritual she knows well by now. She knows where to find him, knows the pain he is feeling and the guilt and questions he has but Kazuki would not know how to answer.

The rooftop is cracked and caved in some parts. There is little to shield one from the elements, but thankfully tonight leaves Toshiki and Sakura only windswept and not soaked through. Before she even opens the door and steps outside she can already vividly picture Toshiki, pacing, stalking back and forth and in circles like some caged, wounded animal, and the metaphor is fitting. Nothing is said between them as she watches him, broad shoulders hunched and hands flexing as though he's unsure what to do with them. He knows she's there, but such an unintimidating presence she is that he doesn't so much as turn to growl at her to go away.

When he does stop moving, she can see the tremor in his shoulders as he lifts his face skyward, and slowly sinks down to the cold roof flooring with his legs folded and hands palm-up in his lap. Sakura moves towards him, slow and careful, stopping just by his side.

"...Why?" he finally asks, though whether it's to her or to himself, she's unsure until his face turns to look up at her instead. "Why? Why, without even consulting us first? Aren't we strong enough to protect him, aren't we good enough?"

Sakura kneels, and Toshiki's gaze follows her. "Kazuki-sama has his reasons for everything. Juubei and I won't question his decisions," she hesitates, "but you usually do. Why not now?"

"It wouldn't change anything. He'll still leave." 'And you will, too,' lingers unspoken in the thick air.

Silence ensues while Sakura processes that comment. "You will not come with us?" But she thinks she already knows the answer, and she knows why. His constant quest for Kazuki's acknowledgment, his attention and love and devotion, will only be more impossible to achieve now that Raitei is in the picture. They've all seen the look in Kazuki's eyes when Ginji-san is near him, and Toshiki knows he can never compete with that as he is now. Toshiki's silent answer is enough to confirm her suspicions. There's a tightning in her chest and she can't help but look away. "Will you say goodbye before you go?"

Still he says nothing, but she hears him move, hears him reaching for her before his hands are grabbing her shoulders and pulling her to him in a tight hug. It's the first time he's hugged her, and seems to be making up for all the times she hugged him in comfort and he never reciprocated. Her surprise quickly fades, and she rests a delicate hand on his arm and leans into him. She doesn't ask questions, again, she knows. This is his goodbye to her, and she's in no hurry to end it. He's crying into her hair though silently, and she twists until she can lift a hand to brush the tears away.

And she doesn't know why she kisses him, first on the temple, again on the cheek and eventually his lips, hands careful but frantic in their attempts at petting and comforting. She realizes then, that she doesn't want him to go; he's become a part of her family and life without him seems so strange.

And he doesn't know why he lets her kiss him; they're just brief touches of lips to skin, but they soothe the ache in his heart enough that he can stop crying, and just leans into the affection, large hands resting on her waist.

Eventually it does start to rain, and Sakura manages to coax Toshiki back inside. They don't stay in the room with Juubei and Kazuki tonight, instead take up residence in the neighboring room and Sakura's shawl proves to be a warm enough blanket for them both. She knows he won't sleep well, and neither does she. She also knows that, when she feels Toshiki reluctantly draw away from her in the early hours of morning and press a kiss against her lips, that she has to pretend to be asleep to make this easier for him.

Sakura knows that Kazuki will mourn for him when he discovers Toshiki is gone, and perhaps even Juubei will, just a little, even if it's only for Kazuki's sake. Her tears she will keep to herself, because she knows that Toshiki will come back someday, be it in a four months or four years; her heart tells her that she will see him again.

It doesn't take away the pain, but it helps.

owari