A/N: A winter story from someone who lives in a tropical country XDDD Thanks to my beta Red Carpet Lies for this. Also, this is for a1y_puff who loves the song and requested it from me, like, uh, months ago? Nice song. Though I have to make an effort not to kill anyone. Don't blame me! even Aiy said the song could easily be made into death fic!
Disclaimer: PoT and its characters don't belong to me and thus I receive no profit from writing and sharing this. Snow Smile doesn't belong to me either. With my non-existent skill in Japanese I could only tell Bump of Chicken sang it. I got the translation of the lyric from random site and thus am not worthy of credit nor any kind of financial profit from it.
It's a really good thing winter is cold
Because there's no better reason
To invite your chilly left hand
Into my right pocket
"I wish it would snow!" you say with a pout
Well, if it doesn't go the way you like
Don't kick away the fallen leaves
We can still fall down in them
Why do you look like you're having so much fun
Even though you're angry?
The street was silent and empty. The gray sky and the low temperature had successfully kept people inside, giving them the street all to themselves. In the serenity, it was easy to believe this tiny, cold, grey world belonged to them, created for them, meant for them. Tezuka glanced at the boy beside him, trying to keep his expression neutral. Fuji was rubbing his hands together to warm them as he had forgotten his gloves at home. The tip of his nose was slightly tinted pink and his nails had grown a little blue from the cold. Fuji sighed softly, releasing a formless fog into the air, and glared slightly at the cloudy sky. Unable to help himself anymore, Tezuka took his chilly hand into the pocket of his coat quietly. He ignored Fuji's startled look and continued to walk, their fingers entwining in his pocket, feeling warmth seep into his body from the point of contact.
"I wish it would snow," Fuji complained with a pout a while later.
Tezuka glanced at him, noting the mischief in his eyes that accompanied the childish pout. A microscopic smiled curved on his lips, and he tightened his hold around Fuji's hand, melting the pout a little. Tezuka said nothing of the smile that curved Fuji's lips despite the complaint, and the way he kicked away the dry leaves on the ground. He shifted just a little closer to the shorter boy, wanting to share more of the warmth and the joy wrapped around them as they walked into the seemingly endless road.
In the still beautiful, untouched carpet of snow
Together we carve parallel lines of footprints
Even if this dream story never comes true
Smiles will overflow
This snowless road
There's a little trick to our walking together
Your stride is so small
I look at the scenery as long as I can
Looking back at the scenery of you
"Look, Tezuka, it's snowing!"
Tezuka watched the smaller boy raising his smiling face towards the sky, spreading his hands palm up to catch the fallen snow. He quickly missed the warmth around his hand, but watching Fuji's delighted face brought a different kind of warmth to him. Tezuka smiled slightly, listening to Fuji's childish giggle as snow began to cover them and the ground beneath them.
"We should hurry. You'll catch a cold." He heard himself saying. He hated himself for it, for breaking Fuji's fun. The pout on Fuji's face said that he wasn't very pleased either.
"Mou…" Fuji protested lightly. "I don't get sick so easily. You should be careful with your elbow though." But despite saying that, Fuji followed him closely behind as they walked home.
While Tezuka walked a few steps ahead, he was paying close attention to what Fuji was doing. He could tell even without looking, how Fuji was amused as fresh snow covered the ground they just stepped on, carpeting their path with its chilly beauty. Tezuka trained his gaze ahead without even looking where he was going, knowing where he was going without knowing his destination. His sole attention was on the boy trailing behind him who was happily enjoying the season and happily sharing it with him.
Tezuka stopped when he felt the distance between them grow. He turned back to tell Fuji to hurry up because it would get very cold soon, but he could say nothing, entranced as he was at the sight before him.
Fuji had stopped a several steps away from him. He was looking up to the sky, a genuine smile on his face, adoring the gift from heaven. Then slowly he lowered his face, his blue eyes locking onto Tezuka's brown ones, his smile, still genuine, widened slightly. Fuji was so pale, even as he glowed amidst the slowly falling snow in the grey world. His pink lips opened, perhaps to call him, but Tezuka could hear nothing but the soft chimes of Fuji's voice, see nothing but Fuji's angelic appearance, and feel nothing but the warmth in his heart, the warmth of love…
Into the still dry curtain of the sky
Together, we chime an orchestra of footsteps
Look! Before this dream story comes true
You will smile for me
I know it
Tezuka woke up with a start. He blinked his eyes, trying to clear the fog in his mind. In his sleepiness, he had thought he heard the sound of footsteps on the fresh layer of snow. But as consciousness returned, he realized it was merely the soft sound of footsteps on the sterile floor echoing against the white walls outside.
Tezuka swallowed back his disappointment and turned to the thin figure lying on the bed. Fuji had his eyes closed as usual, but his lips, covered by oxygen mask, were lax, lacking his gentle smile. His skin was paler than normal, and his body had lost weight, making him seem even frailer. The soft sound of his slow breathing was the only sign, the only hope that he would return to them; his family, his friends, Tezuka.
The sight made Tezuka's heart contract painfully. It's been three days; three days of living a nightmare and he couldn't seem to wake up. No matter how much he prayed, begged, cried, the nightmare wouldn't stop, and he kept waking up to the same reality, the reality where he failed to protect Fuji, where he hurt Fuji, where Fuji left him in his seemingly endless sleep.
Guilt nagged him persistently, keeping Tezuka here despite his exhaustion and other's objections. He was to blame. Even though people might say otherwise, he knew it was his fault. He shouldn't have selfishly called Fuji to come with him to the beach on that snowy day, he shouldn't have enticed Fuji with the promise of a view of falling snow on the ocean, he shouldn't have chosen that day to finally reveal his feelings. But everything was too late now. He couldn't take back what he said and did. Fuji had paid the price for his carelessness.
Tezuka leaned forward in his seat to gently hold Fuji's cold hand. He wished the fingers would close over his hand, those eyes would open, and those cold lips would curve into a smile and give him the reassurances that he so desperately craved right now. But the fingers were still and cold and another part of Tezuka was crushed.
"Syuusuke…" Tezuka whispered, taking the hand close to his lips. He closed his eyes tightly to stop the tears from flowing but failed. "Syuusuke… Syuusuke…" he chanted repeatedly in between the sobs that racked his body. Many words rose to his throat, but failed to escape. He wanted to apologize, plead, confess, scream, cry, but no words were sufficient. No words could express the turmoil in his broken heart.
"Syuusuke…" he pleaded again, but Fuji was still, his lips unsmiling. The nightmare continued.
In the still beautiful, untouched carpet of snow
Together, we carve parallel lines of footprints
Yes, even if you don't wish for this dream story
You taught me to smile
On the path that I take
Tezuka regarded the young woman somberly. Yumiko looked at him in concern, and he realized that he must've looked horrible, having spent days in the hospital, crying his heart out. But he couldn't care less about his appearance. The only thing that mattered was Fuji. Fuji…
Yumiko took a seat next to him and together they watched the falling snow outside the window. It could've been a view he shared with Fuji. He could've been out there, holding hands with Fuji, feeling his smile warming him, making their way into the unknown future. But Fuji was lying on the cold bed inside now, still, unsmiling, unaware of the pain and the beauty waiting for him, calling for him.
"Thank you for staying here while we were away on that family event," Yumiko began softly, not wanting to disrupt the distracted young man next to her, "You should go home now, your parents must be worried."
Tezuka shook his head. "I want to stay. I want to be with him."
"But Tezuka-kun, you have stayed here for days, your parents must be concerned." Yumiko tried again, turning to the tired young man, concern and… was it guilt in her eyes?
"I'll call them."
"You should at least get some rest and a proper meal. You can't stay here forever."
Tezuka finally turned to Yumiko, some kind of understanding dawned on him. Yumiko never insisted anything, even on her own brother. Why him then, why now?
Yumiko sighed. She looked away, trying to find the strength to hurt him. "Tezuka-kun, I must ask you to leave."
Even though he wanted to scream and plead with her to allow him to stay, all Tezuka could do was to watch her in silence. He opened his mouth to ask, felt his heart clench painfully in his chest, and closed it again. "Why?" he finally managed to asked after a long moment of silence.
"Though I do appreciate your help, some people aren't very appreciative of your presence here and I…" she stopped, holding Tezuka's chilly hand to offer comfort that she lacked. "I don't want anything bad to happen to you."
Perhaps he should be scared, concerned at the very least. But all he could feel was numbness in his body and his heart, the same that had overcome him the moment he heard the news that Fuji was involved in an accident. Tezuka shook his head again stubbornly. "I don't care." He didn't care what people thought or what they might do to him. He only cared about Fuji. He had to be here, needed to be here. He couldn't survive without him.
"But he would. Syuusuke would."
The name caught Tezuka's attention instantly. He searched for an explanation. Yumiko's eyes were similar to Fuji's, but lacked the gentleness and mystery he found in Fuji's cerulean orbs. Tezuka felt tears rise to his eyes again. How he missed having those eyes on him, watching him, looking at him, seeing him.
"Syuusuke wouldn't want you to be hurt in anyway. He wants you to be happy. I know it."
"Tezuka-kun, listen to me." Yumiko said, leaning forward to make sure she had Tezuka's attention "We talked to the doctor earlier and he said…" she paused to swallow back the tears that clogged her throat. "He said… that Syuusuke might never wake up… or even if he did, he might suffer from some kind of brain damage… He might not be the person he is or remember you, me, any of us, anything at all… And that's why, you must not stay."
The words seemed to have come from the distance. Tezuka stared at Yumiko for a long moment, not comprehending. But when the meaning finally sank in, he felt his body growing cold and weak. Tezuka hunched forward, clinging to Yumiko for support. Fuji… Fuji would…
"You can't stay here. It would only hurt you, and Syuusuke wouldn't want that. He would want you to be happy. He would want you to move on." Yumiko said, embracing Tezuka. She buried her own face on Tezuka's shoulder to hide her tears of grief. "So, please, please, leave, and be happy. For Syuusuke."
I'm so happy we met
The same season has come around again
In my right pocket, the memory I put away
Just as I thought, I put it away and walk
On a path without you
Tezuka looked at the tall, cold building of the hospital covered in snow. He stood at the gate, now daring to make a step onto the snow-covered path, knowing that he might not be able to control himself once he did.
A year had passed since that fateful day he left the hospital for good. He had transferred to another school soon after that day, as Fuji himself did after his recuperation weeks after. He had to leave; he must not see Fuji again. He tried to contended himself with the brief news of Fuji's recovery, forced himself to think that it was enough to know that Fuji was happy, tried to ignore the pain of not being able to share the joy and the pain.
It hurt him just to think of it. He couldn't lie, couldn't feign strength anymore. He was no longer the person he used to be. Tezuka realized now that though it might appear that he was the one supporting others, he was actually leaning on Fuji, depending on his strength, perhaps even pushing further than his limit. He never felt so weak in his life. He lost direction, not knowing what to do, where to go, only knowing that he must move on for Fuji's sake. Yumiko's words made sense to him. Though Fuji never said it, Tezuka knew he wished for nothing but his happiness, his smiles. By staying here, Tezuka wouldn't be able to do that, and he wanted to for once do something for Fuji, something to make him happy, even if it would hurt Tezuka.
Tezuka closed his eyes, recalling the last time he saw Fuji through the crack of the door; his fair skin, his closed eyes, his unsmiling lips, the slack hand. Tezuka stored them in his memory, understanding that he must not return here. He turned around and walked away from the building. He forced himself to smile, though it hurt. He felt cold, alone, hurt, but he knew this was the best. Tezuka raised his head to the grey sky, smiling for Fuji.
R&R? Oh and btw, a sequel is on the way.