Hiro sat at the table, his eyes running across the intricate lines of the wood. Behind him, the teapot steamed and squealed loudly, the microwave beeped, letting him know dinner was ready, the phone sat behind him, the empty dial tone ringing loudly. His fingers sat gently on the wooden table that was so highly glossed letting condensate from his fingers permeate itself onto the bright polish leaving small, clear droplets of water on the wood. Hiro blinked. Once. Twice.

He needed a shower.

Hiro stood, letting his feet lead him to the shower room. His socks dragged against the wooden floor and rugs, his body slowly following the movements of his feet. He felt as if he were going to fall, as if his legs were about to collapse beneath him. But he held strong and continued to walk.

When there, he removed his shirt, exposing his soft, white skin to the light. The air was chilled, sending shivers down his body. He continued this motion, removing every article of clothing, letting the cool air nudge against his body so that when fully naked, his fair skin was covered in small bumps, and his hair was on end. He turned the shower knob, putting his hand under the stream of water to feel the temperature. Cold water came out first, causing Hiro to jolt his hand back, but the cold water soon became hot. And scalding. He turned the shower on, letting the hot water fall against his body, each droplet forming a firm, red circle on his skin. The water fell though his hair, each strand absorbing more liquid than it could hold.

He stood like this. The water running over him, burning off layer after layer of skin. He continued to let the water fall onto his scalp, scalding it to where his head was as red as his face had been ten years ago on that Christmas day when Nowaki and he had walked through the park, with little droplets of snow falling onto their faces. Then, Nowaki leaned over, and ever so slightly with those warm lips of his, kissed Hiro. Hiro, of course, jumped back, frantically waving his arms, and shouting how could Nowaki have done such a thing! Kiss him in public!? But deep down, as Hiro punched Nowaki in the arm for doing something so embarrassing, Hiro felt the most unexplainable warmth. Warmth so hot that it hurt to think about, warmth so hot that it felt so wonderful to feel. Hiro's face was such a bright red, from the snow and from that embarrassing, unbelievably childish, sweet, loving man named Nowaki. Nowaki. Nowaki. Nowaki…

The water continued to fall over Hiro's shoulders, but it was no longer that comforting, scalding hot. Now, the water was ice, each drop a shard piercing itself inside of Hiro. Hiro turned off the water, his body shivering from no heat. He wrapped a towel around his waist and walked into the living room. That big, comfortable, peaceful, lonely living room.

Hiro sat on the couch, picking up the crossword that sat on the table next to the lamp. He sat staring at it, the pen firm in his hand. #1 Across, Something that causes laughter, six letters. Nowaki. Hiro skipped to the next one. #26 Down, A music shop oddity, six letters. Nowaki. Next one. #8 Down, Perhaps, four letters. Nowaki. #52 Across, Feeling down (hyph.), five letters. Nowaki. #48 Across, a writer's tool, eight letters. Nowaki.

And then it hit him. Tears began to roll off of his cheeks, sticky and warm, each one slowly falling down the curvature of his face. And he kept crying, crying, and crying until it became a sob. A sob that tore his body apart as he gasped for air. His hands wrapped around his bare arms, his fingernails digging themselves into his skin, forming perfect red semicircles. Each sob turned into a convulsion, his body becoming wracked with pain.

Christmas. New Year. Golden Week.

More sobs filled the air, his breathing becoming frantic as his lungs desperately clung to air as his body rocked back and forth.

Hiro's birthday. Nowaki's birthday. Anniversary.

Hiro screamed, letting the sound echo across the apartment. He screamed and screamed and screamed, unable to stop himself from letting the shrill sounds come out. He screamed until his throat was raw, and his voice was gone.

"Kamijo Hiroki? This is St. Maria's Hospital. You are listed as Kusama Nowaki's emergency contact. We are calling to inform you that Mr. Kusama was involved in a car accident at 5:22 p.m. this evening. He sustained severe and untreatable injuries. I am sorry to inform you that Mr. Kusama has passed away. If you could please come by St. Maria's Hospital within the next forty-eight hours to fill out paper work for the deceased Mr. Kusama."


"Mr. Kamijo?"


"Mr. Kamijo, did you hear everything. Do I need to repeat something?"


"Mr. Kamijo."

"Kamijo Hiroki isn't here right now. I'll tell him the news as soon as he gets back."

Hiro hung up the phone.

The tears dried up leaving only salty trails behind. Hiro continued to breath hard, the newspaper clenched tightly to his chest. Another sob came up, but he stifled it.

Hiro stood, his legs feeling weak beneath him, and went to his dresser to change. He needed to go to St. Maria's hospital to fill out some paper work.