When Kouji woke up, he found that he was alone in Keiko's bed. Wait, why was he in Keiko's bed? Blinking, he tried to refresh his memory as to what he was doing here.
~Oh, that's right. I spent the night at Keiko's house. Wait, why would I spend the night at her house? Why didn't I go to my own house?~
Obviously, she had been sleeping next to him, as the sheets on his side were pulled to the side. She must've gotten up before him. Laying back, he decided he wanted to melt into the bed forever.
But then, he could hear soft notes floating through the door. A piano? Kouji climbed out of the bed and padded lightly out of the room, going down a few flights of stairs and following the sounds of the piano keys.
It was a complex song, he could tell. There was a mixture of highs and lows, but whoever was playing it was quite gifted. They must have been playing for years.
Kouji opened the glass doors to a room down a couple of hallways, and found that Keiko was sitting at the piano, still in her pajamas, moving her fingers gracefully across the keys. She turned and looked at him blinking. "I'm sorry. Did I wake you up?"
"No," he mumbled, shaking his head. He moved to the bench she was sitting on and took a seat next to her. "You're really good."
"I've been playing since I was four." She turned her eyes back to the keys. "I just talked to Takuya's parents."
Kouji swallowed around the lump in her throat. "And?"
"They were surprised that the Takishita girl they'd seen in the news was calling them. I tried to talk about Takuya, but they told me that they'd never heard about a Takuya in their life." Keiko pressed a key on the piano absently. "He's not in my old yearbook. Tamotsu said that he doesn't know anybody named Takuya. Same with Michiko."
"Wait, you said you talked to Takuya's parents?" Kouji furrowed his eyebrows.
"His father answered the phone." Keiko squeezed her hands into tight fists. "Apparently he had never gone to the soccer game. He never got into the car accident."
Kouji was shocked into silence. Keiko picked up where she left off. "All the pictures I have with Takuya in them don't have him in it at all. All traces of him are completely gone. Except for these." Keiko pointed to the necklace around her neck, then gestured to Kouji's. "These are the only things left."
Kouji stared down at the piano, completely unblinking. "Keiko… Will you play a song for me?"
Keiko blinked. "What?"
"Play a song. Please."
Keiko shakily nodded and began to play a soft ballad. Every movement of her fingers was completely eloquent. Kouji stared at her fingers, watching them with dull eyes. Keiko found herself becoming completely taken by the music, her mind on nothing else. She added trills, elongated notes and pushed harder on some keys to add dramatic accents. And when she finished the song and looked over at Kouji, she had to force herself not to gape.
He was crying.
Keiko was shocked, as she had never seen the teen cry before. She didn't know what to do. So, slowly, the brunette placed a hand on his shaking back and rubbed in gentle circles. Kouji tensed away from the touch in the beginning, but he slowly melted into it.
"Kouji," she said gently.
Kouji shook his head, taking a deep, shuddering breath. "It's just hard right now. The… the person who was there for me more than anything else is gone now. And there's nothing I can do."
"I'll be here for you," Keiko whispered, even though she knew that she wasn't what he wanted. He wanted Izumi, or Kouichi, or Takuya to let him know it was okay. He didn't want her. "I know that we aren't very close, but…"
Keiko was silent. She knew. She knew that he hadn't said that because he was satisfied, and he didn't say it because he truly meant it. He had just wanted her to shut up. They both knew that.
But, Keiko played along. "You're welcome." She turned back to the keys. "Do you want me to play something else, Kouji?"
He nodded, sniffling weakly. "Please."
Yes, that's the end. Except maybe it's not. Check my profile in a few hours and you may see something else out. :) I'm going to take my poll down soon, so make sure you vote!
Thank you all for reading this fic. I had so many wonderful experiences with it.
And many more to come.