Winter
Sequel to Cry.

To have her arms around him was pleasant. The way she clung to him as if he'd fade away if she'd let go, the way she caressed his soul with her mere presence, the way she silenced him with the touch of her soft, sweet lips – all of it was pleasant.

Yet pleasant seemed such an empty word.

And the only word he could use to describe their relationship after five years of marriage.

He felt her move and he let her, allowing the balance to slip from his hands into hers. He didn't mind; he really wasn't in the mood in the first place. Though he kept his hands on her as he drowned in her kiss and savored her touch, giving back the little pleasures he found himself able to, he just wasn't there.

She stopped, sensing his lack of enthusiasm, and as she retreated, coldness washed over him. It wasn't the same coldness he had experienced every night for the past five years. It wasn't because of sorrow, or loneliness, or regret. It was something else altogether. It was like the red-hot lava of a woman's fury frozen into an iceberg, and it had begun to melt, soaking his entire body, chilling him to the bone.

And he knew why.

She pried his hands off her, muttering something about him being an idiot and how he had once again ruined the moment. Then, she looked at him – really looked at him.

Her voice was but a whisper, but her frosty tone told him the situation was very, very bad. "It's her, isn't it?"

He did not reply. He merely allowed his legs to buckle and he sat down at the foot of their bed, whatever interest he had in their little game suddenly lost. How could he answer her? How did she expect him to answer her? He couldn't possibly tell her that their five years of marriage meant nothing because his heart had been with his ex-girlfriend all along. He couldn't possibly tell her that if it wouldn't be a crime to break a sacred oath, he'd put a stop to their relationship and go back to the waiting arms of his old flame. And he couldn't possibly tell her that he never really loved her, that Takeru was but an accident he deeply regretted.

He felt her lift his face by the chin with one slender finger, and then, when he had found her face with his eyes, a powerful force struck him hard on the cheek. He recoiled and quickly got to his feet, seizing her arm. "How dare you–"

"How dare you!" she spat back, the red-hot lava of fury flowing from her eyes. She forcefully wrenched her arm away from his grasp, but she did not move from where she stood, nor did she turn her fierce gaze away from his face. She wanted to scream. She wanted to hate him. But she couldn't. She just couldn't.

Instead, she turned around and walked away.

"Yoko, please." He was quick to catch up with her – or had she intentionally slowed down? – and take hold of her hand. It felt warm in his, and the feeling of security and comfort returned as he desperately held on to it. He couldn't lose her. He needed her, and he needed her badly. "I'm sorry."

This time, she didn't resist. Slowly, she turned back around to look into his eyes, even though she knew what she'd find there. And it wasn't love. That was the part of him that she'd never share, or even hope to know. "If you love her, why don't you go back to her?" she asked, and her voice trembled.

"I… I can't."

It stung. No, it hurt. She felt like her chest had been cut open by a sword, her heart ripped and fed to the dogs. She meant nothing to him, that she knew for certain – nothing but the fire on his winter night.

A night like this one, and every night thereafter.

But she had no tears to shed.

Not even for the unrequited love she had for him.