A/N: Well, I've watched this movie since long ago and I can't stop to think that they should have another adventure in Vision world, therefore, I wrote this fiction. I never write shounen ai before and I'm not thinking to write an explicit shounen ai story – yet. However, I still warn you guys if you don't like shounen-ai whatsoever, you better don't read (because even if you DO flame me, I'll just use fire extinguisher +laughs merrily+). Now, please enjoy.
Note: Revised thanks to wonderful BloodRaevynn. ;)
Disc: The characters and the movie is belong to their rightful owner (Basically, I'm just too lazy to search for their name. Probably I'll do that in the next chapter…)
Chapter 1: Re-tomare
"Mitani-senpai, could you please give this to Ashikawa-senpai?"
Wataru, who was leaving his classroom, turned to see a first-year girl standing shyly; a white envelope with a heart on it was apparent in her hand. The black-haired boy sighed inwardly and gave her a tired smile.
"I believe it's better if you give it to him yourself," he rejected politely, hands firmly attached to his side and bag, making no move to receive the love letter, which still sat comfortably on her upturned palm.
The girl recoiled slightly and looked at the floor.
"I… I know," she stammered. Wataru wondered why she had taken the trouble of finding him if she had known – it was evident that she actually did not. "But… But I'm too scared to give it to him myself and… and if I leave it in his locker he will throw it away without reading it." She was at the verge of crying. "Would you help me, please…?" Wataru groaned inwardly. He hated it when a girl cried.
"Fine." He took it with a sigh. "I won't guarantee his answer though. And I don't intend to be a postal service again," he said, waving the letter in his hand to make sure the girl took his point. The girl nodded so fast he could almost feel the vertebrae in her neck cracking under the weight of her scull. She thanked him and ran away to somewhere Wataru didn't bother to care about. He continued on his way to art club and slid open the door.
The small room was bathed in afternoon sunlight spilling through a big window. Some canvases were left out to dry and some were covered with white fabric. All of them clustered neatly at one side of the room, giving enough empty space to breathe and walk around the room. Wataru walked over to the far corner beside the window.
His friend was brushing a red tint over his unfinished sketch. His figure which lit diagonally by the sunlight gave him an aura of mysterious elegance. His blonde hair had a golden luminescence. The scene reminded Wataru so much of their first meeting in school, the night after he had found out about the 'gate'. But that past was carved in his mind alone, for the past had been rewritten; everything had been different since his return from 'that' world.
"Finished already?" Ashikawa Mitsuru asked without looking up.
"Yeah." Wataru stood behind Mitsuru looking at what he was drawing. It would be a lovely sunset he predicted in a glance.
Wataru was picking Mitsuru up for today's part-time shift. They had the same work schedule and had agreed to go together to the fast-food restaurant. Wataru was doing class duty today so Mitsuru was taking the chance to finish his painting.
Wataru watched as his friend draped a white cloth over his canvas and cleaned up his tools at high speed. In less than 5 minutes, they were ready to leave. Walking halfway out of the room, Wataru gave Mitsuru the letter, which was received with a scoff.
"Doing social work again, Mitani?" He usually used his family name when he wanted to mock or tease his friend.
"I tried to refuse but she kept insisting." Wataru shrugged. Mitsuru waved the letter in his hand and was averting his eyes to the dustbin near the door - considering throwing it in - when Wataru glared darkly, following his friend's gaze. "Don't you dare," he said.
Wataru had reminded his friend to be more considerate of those who had written him letters with all their heart and not just throw the letters into the dustbin without even a glance at what was written inside. Mitsuru had answered that he already knew the contents of the letter without needing to open it. Well, yes. He had been popular ever since they entered this senior high school – no, even when they were in junior high-school.
"You sure didn't learn your lesson well." Mitsuru thrust the letter into his bag.
The last time Wataru had preached at Mitsuru that he should read all the love letters he received, Mitsuru had made Wataru read the letters with him - threatening that if Wataru didn't read it, he wouldn't read it either. They read more than two dozen letters that day and though Mitsuru had been tired and fed up with them, he was satisfied over his friend's flushed and nauseous face.
"Do you want to go through dozens of letters again?" He asked Wataru. His friend's face turned grim.
"No. But it's just one!" He justified himself. Mitsuru nodded, they were crossing school yard, heading toward the gate.
"Yeah, just one right now; but next time you'll have two and then more and more. I'm pretty sure all of them will be giving them to me through you by the end of the day because you're so kind."
"I've tried to reject them!"
"You're weak when you see girls' tears."
"Fine." Wataru admitted his defeat. "Just do what you want, but don't do it in front of me."
Mitsuru smirked. They walked down the busy sidewalk and entered the restaurant through the back door.
"How is Aya-chan?"
Aya-chan, Mitsuru's sister, who was three years younger than him, was entering her first year in junior high school.
"Fine. She is coping well in her lessons."
"Great. I suppose first year junior high school lessons are not that hard. Not like our second grade senior high-school lessons..." Wataru trailed off, sighing.
"It's not that hard."
"Yeah, that's easy for you to say, smart boy." Mitsuru's score had always been in the top five of their school.
"You only need to study harder and complain less," Mitsuru said, locking his locker and walking out.
"My brain is not like yours." Wataru said. He slammed his locker shut, followed him outside, and started serving the customers.
You will pay for what you did to me! I'll curse you! I'll curse you for destroying my plan! I'LL CURSE YOU!
Wataru awakened in his bed drenched in his sweat. What he had just dreamed about? He could see a finger pointing at him from the darkness… the voice. The voice of an old woman.
He wiped his brow and sighed. "Just a simple bad dream." He assured himself; however, he ended up not being able to go back to sleep until dawn and woke up earlier than usual.
"What's the matter with you? Lack of sleep?" Mitsuru frowned at Wataru's sleepy face that morning. Aside from Wataru and Aya, everyone would have been badly shocked to hear a concerned question from Mitsuru, for he was notorious for his indifference and cold attitude.
"Yeah, had a bad dream. I feel like someone was cursing me," Wataru answered sleepily.
"What? Aren't you just imagining things? Isn't your specialty in adventure?" he asked teasingly. Wataru gave his friend a sidelong glance.
When Wataru had returned from that so-called 'imaginary' world, he was surprised to see Mitsuru alive and well. It's not that he wasn't happy, but the fact that Mitsuru didn't recognize him had confused him. When they had quiet time together, Wataru told Mitsuru about Vision, but apparently his friend didn't remember a single thing. It was as if Ashikawa Mitsuru had never been there. Their first meeting had never occurred and their adventure existed only in Wataru's own memory. Wataru had decided to leave the matter as it was – it was better for his friend not to remember something so painful; besides, Mitsuru had started to label him as an insane kid who loves to hallucinate. Things got better after that; they became best friends during elementary school, attending the same junior and now senior high school.
"I'm not imagining things, and no, it wasn't an adventure type dream." He sulked, earning a pure laugh from his friend. Wataru could see in his peripheral vision how the girls around them glanced in their direction – at Mitsuru in particular because he seldom laughed, which made him far more attractive. They looked at Wataru in envy and a little hatred, because he was the only one who could make Mitsuru laugh like that.
The dream returned the next day, and the day after that. Wataru believed there was something wrong, but he couldn't remember what his dream was about. Every time he woke up, he could only vividly recall hearing the voice of an old lady. However, the sound grew stronger each day. He was sleepy throughout the day, even napping between lessons and he had difficulty sleeping at night.
Tonight, when he closed his eyes, he prayed to anyone who would be kind enough to hear his prayer to grant him a good night sleep. Pity, he still saw the same dream and when he had awakened, he felt his chest hurting. Opening his pajamas, he could see a faint black scar – shaped as if being clawed - on the left side of his chest, over his heart. Rubbing it softly, he puzzled over how he had gotten that mark. The pain subsided after a moment, but the mark remained.
Wataru told no one about this but he was clearly distracted in all his activities. He was walking out of the school gate, when someone clapped his shoulder and startled him.
"Mitsuru! Don't do that!"
"What did you space out for?" Mitsuru frowned.
"Don't 'nothing' me." They walked together to the train station; they had no shift today.
"How is your aunt?" Wataru asked.
"Fine, still single until now but I think she is seeing someone." Mitsuru answered; clearly displeased with the change of topic. After their parents' murder-suicide. Mitsuru and his sister had been taken in by their distant relative – a kind, single woman, who lived in a small apartment.
"Really? That's great! Soon you'll have something to celebrate then," Wataru said cheerfully. Mitsuru was going to return to the original subject again, but watching his friend's expression, he decided not to. They talked about mundane things and separated at the platform.
Wataru dreamed again that night. This time he could clearly hear the voice.
I'll curse you to death! When those marks have spread over your entire body, you'll die a nasty death…
Wataru tried to speak; tried to ask what crime he had committed to deserve the curse, but his voice didn't come. He could only see the finger point at him from the darkness.
Wataru awakened with a shock. For the second time, he could feel the pain in his chest. How surprised he was when he saw the mark was getting clearer and a small, faint, black spots had also appeared on his abdomen.
For the next two days he saw the same dream and dark lines were starting to reign below his eyes as a result. His mother was concerned but he brushed it off as "studying hard." However, it was not as easy to brush off Mitsuru. He insisted on knowing what was bothering Wataru and what his dream was like. Wataru kept repeating that he was fine and he didn't remember his dream. Luckily today was Sunday and no one could nag him. He was going over his homework when he fell asleep midway through.
Again, he was in the darkness and the finger was there as well. Wataru became frustrated at hearing the same words over and over and in his desperation he shouted back; finding, to his surprise, that he could speak this time.
"Who are you?! What have I done?!"
The owner of the finger seemed startled and the voice ceased for a moment. Suddenly it replied with a roar:
How dare you forget?! Come to me! Come to Vision and find me! I'll make you repent for what you've done!
Then Wataru woke up. His head felt dizzy and hurt. Wait, it was not his head which was hurting, it was his chest and abdomen. He pulled up his shirt and saw the claw mark was now outlined by a thin red line, the black spots also had turned deeper, and a fainter spot had also appeared on his chest. He paled visibly. His dream was not a joke! After seven years he had heard the name "Vision" again – he had never thought he would hear that name again. His dream-like adventure had long since passed, but it was not forgotten; on the contrary, it was still fresh in his mind as if it had happened but yesterday. He spent the whole day musing over his dream, his adventure in Vision, and he didn't dream again that night. For the first time in a week, he finally had a good night sleep.
Monday was a fresh start, the first day in the week, and the first lesson was a physical exam. Wataru felt much more refreshed after a calm sleep and Mitsuru in turn felt relieved to see him okay. They would have a soccer game for the males and a volleyball game for the females. Wataru hummed in excitement; soccer was his department – he had loved it ever since he was a child.
The game was played with spirit and before long Wataru kicked in a goal. Everything had been going perfectly when suddenly Wataru felt his chest hurting; the mark hot in his skin. He could hear Mitsuru shouting his name as he doubled over in pain. A second later, both his mind and sight went blank.
Mitsuru ran over to his friend whose head had been kissed by the soccer ball. He took Wataru to the infirmary with the help of another classmate and noticed that the school nurse was not present. Mitsuru decided to wait for the nurse and sent his classmate back to the field. He was wondering what Wataru had been doing – why he hadn't seen the ball coming – when his friend groaned faintly.
Wataru opened his eyes and his vision slowly came into focus. "Mi… tsu… ru…?"
"You got hit by the ball."
Wataru's hand flew to touch the side of his head. "Ouch…"
"Of course it would be 'ouch.'" Mitsuru shook his head. His glance then suddenly fell on Wataru's abdomen. When Wataru had lifted his hand, his shirt had lifted up a bit too, revealing his smooth skin and the black discolorations that marred it. Alarmed, Mitsuru pulled Wataru's shirt up further to take a better look – which startled Wataru badly.
"What are you doing!?" he asked, flushing.
Mitsuru didn't avert his gaze and ran his soft palm over the sensitive skin of his friend's abdomen. He wondered why there were so many black marks, it felt… unnatural.
"Stop it!" Wataru blushed furiously, suppressing his laughter. "That tickles!" He tried to sit up.
"Where did these marks came from?" Mitsuru asked seriously, staring into Wataru's eyes – completely unaware of the red tint of his friend's cheeks.
Wataru remembered the marks and sighed. He couldn't lie to him and say it was a birthmark; Mitsuru would know better since it had not been there last summer when they had gone swimming together. Well, there was no benefit in lying anyway. He told Mitsuru about the dream and showed him the dark mark on his chest and the barely visible blemish on his torso. Mitsuru just sat, listening carefully; displeased that Wataru hadn't told him earlier.
"I thought it was only a dream!" Wataru defended himself. Mitsuru shot him a hard look but decided to drop the subject for the time being.
"What is this 'Vision' world?" He wandered aloud, evidently puzzled.
"It's the world I told you about, back when we first met."
"Wasn't that just an imaginary world?"
"No it isn't! I told you, it was real! I did meet with you there! It was even you…" Wataru trailed off. He was going to say; 'it was even you who told me about the existence of that world,' but he feared reminding Mitsuru of how much pain Mitsuru had experienced and inflicted on others as a mage in Vision.
"What about me?" Mitsuru inquired, one arm crossed over his chest and his cheek resting in the palm of the other, looking interested in the broken sentence.
"Nothing." Wataru avoided his gaze.
"Then where do we go to get from here to… to that 'Vision' world?" He didn't believe in the existence of another world but he didn't want his friend to wander around in strange places alone when he obviously had some kind of physical illness. 'Perhaps a bit of a mental illness as well,' he added as an afterthought.
"I don't know. The gate used to be on the roof of an unfinished building near my apartment. Now that the building has become an office, I doubt that it would still there…"
"Shall we have a look then?"
Wataru was surprised.
"What? If it is there then we can go through it and straighten everything out, right?" Mitsuru said to his still-amazed friend. He might not believe that there was another world, but if he went there and by some unlikely chance found one, then his friend could be helped.
Wataru considered the fact that his friend didn't remember anything about Vision and began to worry that Mitsuru would regain his memory if he went back there. All of his pain, all of his mistakes, all of the killing… Wataru shook inwardly. No, even if he should return to Vision, Mitsuru should not come. This was Wataru's problem – there was no need to involve Mitsuru.
"Oi! Stop daydreaming!"
Mitsuru was annoyed. "I said: shall we check and see whether the so-called 'gate' is still there or not."
"No, no need." Wataru refused - a bit too fast. Mitsuru's narrowed his eyes. "I mean, I went there before and I found nothing." Wataru lied. Mitsuru still looked unconvinced when the nurse came. Before Mitsuru managed to say another word, the nurse made him leave so that Wataru could rest.
That day, Wataru had made his decision – he would return to Vision and sort everything out. He would sneak into to the office building that night. Mitsuru appeared to have given up pestering him about the marks but Wataru didn't notice that he also became unusually quiet for the rest of the day.
After dinner, Wataru cleaned up his dishes. His mother would return late at night and he left her wrapped dinner with a note telling her that he would stay over at his friend's home for a couple of days and not to worry. He packed up some things for camouflage and ran down the apartment stairs.
The cold breeze sneaked into his jacket and he shivered. He walked out of his apartment complex and saw a familiar figure below the street light.
"Mitsuru!" He was very surprised.
"Don't 'yo' me! What the hell are you doing here?" Wataru saw Mitsuru was shouldering a small sport bag.
"The same as you." He answered calmly, staring at Wataru's backpack.
"Wha? What do you mean?" A bit of panic crept into his tone, which did not go unnoticed by Mitsuru.
"You are too easy to predict." He smiled.
"No. You're not coming with me," Wataru said firmly.
"And why is that?"
"Just… No, you shouldn't go."
"You can't stop me."
"This is my problem!"
"Of course it is. But I'm your friend. Best friend." Mitsuru was clearly not backing down. Wataru shook his head again.
"No. You mustn't go."
"I can't accept illogical reasoning."
Wataru bit his lower lip. He looked adorably nervous below the dim light. "What if… what if returning there will make you remember harrowing memories?"
"If they are my memories, then it is my responsibility to bear them."
"What if you remember painful things?!" Anxiety was written in all over Wataru's face. Mitsuru took his time in answering; trying, in vain, to understand what would terrify his friend so much. His answer came in barely a whisper.
"If those painful things are really mine, then isn't it irresponsible of me to be living in ignorance of them?" They both grew silent.
"What did you say to your aunt and sister?"
"That I'm staying over at your place. I bet you used the same explanation." Both of them laughed.
"Well, that's the most logical reason for someone to disappear for a few days." Wataru said while they resumed their walk.
"Wow, I'm amazed by the improvement in your thinking." Mitsuru was definitely teasing him. They walked side by side, their height was similar but Wataru was slightly taller.
The building was divided into a smaller section for parking and the rest for the office itself. They slipped past the sleepy guard without much trouble and went to the parking garage, sneaking thorough the emergency door and heading straight to the roof through the emergency stairs. At the last flight of stairs, the staircase extended into the murky darkness. Wataru was now convinced that the gate was still there.
"The stairs…" Mitsuru trailed off, baffled over the existence of impossibly long staircase in the small building.
"Let's go up."
Wataru climbed with confidence. He recalled how determined he had been the last time he had climbed this flight of stairs. This time, the determination hadn't changed, just the purpose.
A generous ray of light poured through the small crack in the big, magical, black doors.
"I never expected to see this door again." Wataru stood in front of the gate. "I didn't even know that the gate was still here," he said in amusement.
When he saw the door, Mitsuru was astonished and wondered what that such an unusual door was doing on a building roof, but then he felt a surge of familiarity – it was as if he had walked through this door numerous times before. That was impossible, this was his first time, he chided himself silently. He had no way of knowing that the world beyond the door beckoned to his deepest inner self – the self that was sealed inside of him - to return.
"C'mon, let's go," Mitsuru said, walking to the door, when Wataru grabbed his wrist. To his questioning gaze, Wataru spoke.
"Promise me one thing." Wataru's voice was stern in the midst of the wind gusting out from the opening door; the warmth encircling Mitsuru's wrist far more distracting than the biting cold wind. From his peripheral vision, Mitsuru didn't fail to notice that big, white wings had grown on the door.
"Promise me that you will never, ever sacrifice others, no matter what happens." Wataru's serious expression was unusual and Mitsuru could sense another unidentified feeling in his dark eyes – was it possibly… fear?
He nodded, still confused as to what his friend was implying. Wataru released his grip and they both walked forward, crossing through the huge, silver gate which was still pouring out the relentless wind, and entered into blinding white light.
A/N: The title re-tomare was taken from Anglo-Norman language; it literally means 'to turn back'. I like to use Old language and I have my kind sister to find it for me +laughs+. If you have anything to say, please give me a review. Every thought will be much appreciated. I'm still confused whether I should continue writing or not because even if I really do, probably the update will be pretty slow (university is suck!). However, I'm trying my best to commit my time so please give me some moral strength.