Title: Manhattan Skyline (Paradise Lost)

Author: Seraphim Grace
Archive: www.seraphim-grace. if you want it ask.
Feedback: Always appreciated and replied to.
Rating: 18.
Pairings: Past AyaxYohji

Gluhen period

The summer heat was exclusive. It pushed Aya away even as manipulating fingers dragged sweat from under his hair, down his neck, to pool at the small of his back. In front of him, to and fro on the choppy black waters the night ferry looked like a giant floating birthday cake and he could see the people at the railings, with summer clothes, and hats left from the day's sunlight late into the hot close evening.

He sat on the bench not far from the Akihabara amusement park, facing out to the water, he had his sister's letter in his hands, clenched up tight as he watched them, strangers sailing back and forth, the lights of the amusements polluting the night sky, reflecting in dancing shards of colour on the sea. It was a lover's place.

Aya was not a lover, not any more.

The sky was ominous, and the air thick and tight, so it was like breathing hot mist as if in a shower. Aya's white shirt was pressed slick against his skin. His trousers felt like he had soiled himself.

With a loud crack that lit up the sky the clouds opened spitting out thick hot splashes against his skin, and with the thunder came a breeze, that suddenly picked up out of nowhere whistling and causing his hair to dance around his face like blood drops.

Omi, no, it was Mamoru now, was late.

He stowed his newspaper under his summer jacket, to protect it from the rain.

A lifetime ago he had waited in the rain on this bench for someone else.

But that had been a lifetime ago.

He could hear the pleased laughter of women, lifting their umbrellas against the summer rain, the wind tugging them about like kites, as the women, black haired and black eyed, held down their skirts and held aloft their umbrellas and laughed at the very joy that they were doing these ridiculous things with people they loved.

He felt like an outsider.

Even the people on the ferry were huddling together, a girl with dyed blonde hair and a shimmering white dress clung to a salary man with thick frames on his glasses, he held umbrella over them rather than guide them into shelter.

Omi, Mamoru, came over, he wore black, a light silk duster and behind him was the telekinetic, Nagi, his hair covering his face and any hint of an expression. "Sorry, Aya-kun." Mamoru said, and in that moment he might have been Omi, even if he wasn't any more, an onlooker might have been confused, mistaking one for the other in a moment of weakness.

Aya couldn't afford that weakness any more.

Nagi didn't say anything, wearing a black tee and jeans, he looked more natural here than Mamoru in his tailored Takatori suit.

"You're late." Aya said and it wasn't an accusation, just a statement.

"I know." Mamoru said calmly, "it's a beautiful night though."

"It's a lover's night." Nagi corrected him, his voice was cold and even, he stated a fact.

"I should be leaving soon." Aya said calmly, "I have to catch the ferry before it shuts for the night to catch my plane."

"You're not going to say goodbye to Yohji?" It was a question that was more Omi than Mamoru, as if they weren't two completely different people.

"I think it's too late for that." Aya said, and knew in that instant it was completely true.

"He might still wake up." Mamoru said, and that youthful, insufferable hope and enthusiasm was a flashback to what he had been before, and was just as useless now as it had been then.

"I doubt it." Aya said calmly, "if he was going to he would have by now." He swept his hair, still too short from what it had been, catching around his face in the wind, glued in place by the hot summer rain. "And besides it was over long ago."

"But," Mamoru protested.

"What do you want me to say, Mamoru-bocchan?" Aya asked, suddenly full of vitriol. "That it's all true, what he accused me of, that i was cold and unfeeling. Shall I go stand by his hospital bed and say I never loved you anyway."

"Aya?" Mamoru asked.

"Enough," Nagi said suddenly, laying his hand on Mamoru's arm like a lover. "We are there for Yohji even if he can not be." Aya wondered if there was a reprimand there, and then wondered just who it was for, Mamoru or himself. "Fujimiya-san is right, we are holding him up. He has a flight booked."

"Here." From the pocket of his duster he pulled out a business card, written upon in blue biro was a cell number. "You can call me for anything, any time."

Aya took the card and slipped it into the pocket of his jeans to dispose of later. "I really have to be going." He said, "I have to catch the ferry to get to Narita in time."

"Safe journey," what surprised Aya was that it was Nagi who said it, and not Mamoru, whose eyes were blurring with tears, as if he was the lover being left behind.

"Where are you going?" Mamoru squeaked out finally.

Aya told him without any compunction, "New York," he said. The advert had said, "a chance of a lifetime" so Aya had seized it, wondering if perhaps some part of him was still Ran, young and innocent and easily fooled into believing the hype. The picture was battered, black and white, Manhattan skyline at night, silver white flecks against sharp glassy lines and the sky was velvet soft. It offered something new.

"Crawford's there." Nagi said. "He can handle you."

"I can handle myself." Aya replied calmly.

"It would give you more freedom, someone there." Mamoru called out as Aya went to walk away. "I'll arrange it."

"I don't need it." Aya said and then turned and walked away, hoping beyond all hope that New York would wash it all away, even if he had to murder Crawford, of all people, to leave them all behind.

He screwed up the paper and dropped it, and like an eye, staring back at him was the arch of the Empire State building lit, and Manhattan sky line.