A/N: I can't believe they don't have an Absolute Boyfriend section. Anyway, I don't know exactly when this takes place; it's sometime between when Night tells Riiko to give him back so she can save herself a lot of trouble, and when Riiko and Night 'do the nasty'. AU, Riiko returned Night to the Lover's Shop of Dolls, and her life after she gives him back.
Disclaimer: Boy, if I was Yuu Watase, Night and Gaku would be lovers. (Why am I saying this in a Night/Riiko fic?)
Just once more, she thought as she stood in front of the glass doorway. Just once more.
The hallway, once so frightening to walk down, was now familiar, and her footsteps were steady as the light from each spotlighted doll briefly splashed upon her fragile figure, the darkness in between a requiem for her still-adjusting eyes.
There he was, positioned between the busty blonde and another, taller boy, equally as silent. The metal ring around his neck, connected to the pole propping him upwards; the natural smile that graced his lips, his closed eyes; they were all still there, seemingly so alive inside that glass case, so untouchable. She placed a hand where his was on the glass.
She sat her book bag down on the cold tile floor beside her, easing into a more comfortable position on her knees. "It's been a month since I last came…" She paused; what to say next?
"But everything's still going fine." He would want to know about her, about the people in their life. "School is okay. I like college a lot better than high school; not many girls are so catty anymore.
"I'm working at Sushi Katsu now, it just opened on the corner. I like it there." An old memory found itself tugging on her lips: she allowed the smile to show. "Remember when I started at the Manteiv restaurant? And the first day I couldn't even hold trays upright…" A small giggle escaped her. "You had to help me balance them. And afterwards I washed dishes all night, and Soshi had to help me…"
Oh: Soshi. Would Night want to know about him? Yes, she decided: he would… "Soshi's transferring to a school in America next semester. Can you believe it? I always knew he was smart." …because Soshi was a part of their lives. "We're throwing a goodbye party for him next week."
And Mika; Mika was too. "I heard that Mika is dating a boy who lives in Harajuku. The girls think he's majorly hot, and now he has a fan-club, just like you used to." Something unexpectedly hitched in her throat; she swallowed and struggled to keep going. "Mika's so mad! Yea, we talk again. It'll never be exactly like old times, but…" Another swallow: "You have to take what you get in life, right?"
It was harder, now; tears blurred the surface of her eyes, and she stuttered as she tried to keep the topic light, cheerful… away from the reason she had come once again. "U-um… oh! Ishizeki. He called me the other night and said he was sorry for all my pain." Ishizeki was a nice distraction; she was almost giggling again.
"He's so silly. I don't hate him nearly as much as I used to. I think I realized that he was just a silly high-school boy who wanted to be liked, just like anyone else." Hesitation pawed at her heart, but she ignored it. She had to tell Night everything. "He wanted to go out for coffee. I almost let him because… well…" Because I'm lonely, a thought surfaced, ballooning up in her mind, and with difficulty, she pushed it down.
"I don't know why. But I told him that if he thought I'd ever give him a chance it'd only be in his dreams. I'm pretty proud of myself for that."
Night… "Night, how are you doing? Does Gaku visit you a lot?" She sat back on her haunches. "I'm sure he does… he misses you, you know that? I had some trouble getting him to open the doors for me today, but he did it in the end. He asked me why I came again… and…"
The lump was bigger, more persistent, and this time when she tried swallowing it, it wouldn't go away. "And… I m-miss you too, Night." She was speaking in barely whispers now. "I miss you. I miss you a lot, so much."
Night grew hazy, blurred before her eyes; she couldn't stop now. "God, I miss the stupidest things about you, like the takiyaki you used to cook in the afternoons, and how you held your pen, and how you smelled after a shower, and the funny way the hair on the back of your head stood up in the mornings.
"Sometimes when I see someone who has your hair, or that sex-drive, or your goofy optimism, there's this pain I get, right here," she pointed at her chest, "and I get stupid delusions at night, thinking you're in the next room and I can just go and sleep in your arms…" Truth was, she had trouble sleeping at night now.
"The pain comes back a lot, for no reason." This was a lie; she knew exactly why it came. "And it only goes away after I take Advil. Strange, huh?
"I mean… you're just a doll." Just a doll. Two liquid pinpricks fell from her eyes and stained the spotless floor. "You don't even remember me right now. You don't even know who I am." She steeled herself.
"Sometimes, I think it'd be easier if you were just dead. You know?" She hoped, in an odd way, though she knew he couldn't hear her anyway, that he understood. That he'd listen to her justification. "At least that way I'd know where you were, could see you in a better place watching over me. But here, now, this…" And she voiced the question she'd been longing to find the answer to, forever, for as long as she'd given him up:
"Where are you, Night?"
In a computer somewhere, waiting for his next client? Stored up inside the artificial mind of the doll she was staring at right now? …Or simply nowhere?
There was a long stretch of silence, the words echoing emptily down the hall of dolls and back to her as she stared at the being that was once Night, once her life, her world.
After a calming stillness, she took a shuddering breath. Wiped her tears away, and with as much effort as the first, smiled. "That's silly. I'm being stupid."
She quietly stood up and brushed herself off. Her hand moved to trace his features on the pane of glass, coming finally to rest on his hand again, so near, but so untouchable within his casing. "I'll keep smiling, okay? Don't worry.
"I'll be back next week."
And she was gone, her footsteps out as silent as the row of dolls resting quietly in their cases. She had promised herself, just this once more… but she had secretly known all along that she would break it.
A/N: Part two is an optional ending only... you don't have to read it if you don't want. I like it, but pt. 2 raises a lot of loose ends and unanswered questions.