Arctic

Written by Jia Zhang


They sat away from each other, at least a meter or two; one was on the sofa, the other on a chair by the table. Silence drowned the room; darkness enveloped it in a cold embrace. The window was open, a chilling breeze blowing through—it tingles the skin, making Goosebumps, but its hushed whispers replace the emptiness of the room.

Finally, Shuichi gets up from the chair and closes the window—the steel frame feels like an iceberg. He gazes out of the translucent glass to the streets down below, covered with a thin layer of alabaster white. People walk; people eat; people shop; people drive; the people down below went on, but time for him was still in that cold little room.

"So that's it then."

Shuichi turns, amethyst eyes gazing at the man with golden locks of hair. He peers at Shuichi with two orbs of gold; and those eyes bore into him, marking him, seeing through him—because Shuichi was much more of a pale ghost than of flesh and blood.

"I guess so."

Shuichi watches Eiri tentatively, examining him like an anthropologist would a fascinating new race of people on some far off island. Eiri is the world's great player in this moment—this room is his stage, and he had command of his audience. He shows nothing; no emotion or thought appears on his face; none of it convey what thoughts were through his mind. Shuichi watches him, anticipating some reaction, but receiving none, and he is secretly glad in his heart, but thinks nothing of it. Finally, Eiri nods—slowly, as if suddenly understanding some complex, algebraic equation. He walks stands up from the sofa, grabs a thin coat, and disappears with the click of the door.

The amethyst-eyed man listens as the sound of quickened footsteps fade.

Shuichi moves to the kitchen, opens a cabinet, and brings out a glass—he carefully pours himself a glass of scotch; he finishes it in one large gulp. And then he pours another. The liquor is cold, and burns as it travels down his throat.

This was an event being built from the moment they met each other—a moment of an artic coldness, frigid and burns the skin. It was inevitable, he told himself. This was it; that was all; the end of the story.

Shuichi had had an affair.

He and Eiri had been together for around ten years—and unfortunately, their anniversary began and ended horribly. It was a bad time, and they decided to separate and cool down for a couple of days. Then, Shuichi met a man at his office, a producer for his upcoming album. He was a charming man, with auburn locks and eyes of a deep, deep blue. They hit it off immediately—the attraction was undeniable. After a few days and dates, they slept together.

Shuichi expected it to be just a thing—a thing that wasn't nothing.

But it didn't turn out that way.

They began to spend more time together; the sex didn't stop either. Even after Shuichi moved back in with Eiri, it didn't stop.

He was different, this man—different from Eiri in many ways, yet still very much the same. But he was softer, kinder, simpler than Eiri. He lacked the history, lacked the past, the pain, and the doubt.

It was an affair of lust that became love.

Shuichi suddenly found himself torn.

Shuichi had never been with anyone else but Eiri.

Eiri was his first for everything.

But now—

Nobody knew about the affair. Nobody suspected it at all. Everyone expected Eiri to betray him, to be the one who screws up—not Shuichi, never Shuichi, because to Shuichi, Eiri was his whole world, and he would never do something so foolish to risk it all away.

But that was the Shuichi of before, he sometimes wanted to stay. The Shuichi who was obsessed with Nittle Grasper, who adored Strawberry Pocky, the Shuichi who had naïve eyes of a bright amethyst, and locks of pink hair. That was the Shuichi from long ago, the one who loved Eiri—Yuki—more than anything else in the world.

He pours another glass of scotch and downs it quickly.

But that Shuichi was gone—long gone.

This Shuichi had gone through much too much to be a sweet flower child again.

Whatever he felt for Eiri, it began to fray away; in the end, it all became a blur, a mesh of gray colours, and that was all. There was a part of him that still loved Eiri—but a part of him also didn't care—didn't care at all what would happen to him.

And it was that part of him that finally made him tell the truth.

Shuichi pours another glass of the fawn liquid, and brings it to his lips. He sniffs the scent, the aroma of sadness and sorrow, the lost tomorrow, and the bitterness and cruelty of love.

The glass falls and breaks, and smashes into bits of glass, drowned in a putrid yellow poison.

He crumbles to the floor, and begins to cry.

The room was of an arctic coldness.


Author's Note: I was in an angsty mood, listening to angsty music (Christina Aguilera's "Hurt" and Chihiro Onitsuka's "Infection" are not happy combinations"). And so, I decided to write a Gravi fic. I often find it hard to find a good break-up/affair story, because people write it with a lack of realism. Having seen this stuff first hand, I decided to explore the possibility of Shuichi having an affair. I don't know exactly what I'm gonna do witht his. It was stay as a one-shot, or it may become more parts. I may write another chapter on Eiri's POV, so I dunno. We'll see. Common imagery is the articic and coldness.

Jia Zhang