The Heaven in Hell
Disclaimer: I don't believe I'd be here simply putting my fantasies into words if I had Murakami Maki-sensei's wonderful talent of drawing out the stuff. In any case, no infringements intended – all belongs to the aforementioned lovely mangaka.
Fair Warning: I've based this manga largely on the anime although I've read the manga, too. I'll probably keep in line with some facts from the manga. However, the anime, as opposed to the manga, is what's at the back of my mind as I write this. Either way, with a non-canon pairing like this, I don't think it will matter much.
A Bachelor's Night
Stupid Shuichi and his stupider ideas, thought Hiro drunkenly as he sat down at the foot of the staircase leading up to his new apartment and rested his head against the wall on the left.
He had just returned from his "bachelor's night". Tomorrow, he would be married to his fiancée of three years, Usami Ayaka. He still didn't know how Shuichi came to think up that he needed a bachelor's night. What's more, he couldn't figure out how Yuki had allowed his boyfriend to hold the celebrations in their apartment. Shuichi had probably asked him when he was in some sort of post-coital haze.
Mental images! My brain! Mental images! Get out of my brain!
He had been a bit startled when Seguchi Tohma had shown up. The guy always freaked him out. But on the whole, he had been rather nice. He ought to drink more often – maybe then he would stop causing the people around him to get edgy or plainly terrified when he confronted them. No, for that he should simply stop smiling so often.
But when Yuki had finally gotten drunk enough to bear no more, he'd told all of them 'brainless drunkards' to get out of his 'bloody apartment'. Shuichi, Ryuichi and K had decided to drag him out for some 'last late night' entertainment. Shuichi had only been able to drag him for half a yard before he fell down, curled into a ball and was asleep. And then they learnt that Ryuichi was a 'pessimistic' drunk - under the impression that 'his Shu-chan' was dead, he had pulled out Kumaguro and sat down next to the sleeping pink-head, bawling. Hiro didn't even dare to look at Yuki.
Sakano had passed out on the couch ages ago. K, who was one of the last ones standing, for he was pretty good at holding his liquor, had been the only one to get him in his car.
"You forgot me!"
Tatsuha had scared the life out of them as he yelled out from the backseat. Hiro had tried to avoid him all evening but it had become progressively harder as they had gotten more and more drunk. Tatsuha had even tried to kiss him, but Hiro had managed to avert any scene and had warded him off with a hard look. Eiri Yuki's younger brother had been tagging behind his idol (or unbelievably insane obsession) after that. He had lost track of the guy in his attempt to ward off K's attempts to get him to one of the sleaziest night clubs.
"Ah, cool!" K had said, "More company!"
Hiro had only groaned and leaned back into his seat. Even in his drunken state, he could feel Tatsuha's eyes on him. It was pure agony.
Ayaka, he had told himself, think of Ayaka.
But he couldn't. He could only think of Tatsuha. He could only think of how Tatsuha had been the one he wanted to fuck right now. He could only think of how the sex between them wasn't just a physical pleasure but a need… a carnal desire… He could only think of how Tatsuha's obsession with Sakuma-san had driven him to hit the guy and tell him to get the fuck out of his life. He could only think of how much he had regretted that decision. He could only think of how badly he was betraying Ayaka. He could only think of how he didn't want to betray Ayaka. He could only think of…
Tatsuha had leaned over and ran a wet tongue down the side of his neck. Before Hiro had known what had happened, the boy had somehow drawn in close enough to kiss him full on the mouth.
His neck will break in that position, Hiro had thought, trying to keep his eyes open as clumsy fingers grasped at his red hair and half-open shirt.
The car had come to a screeching halt and Tatsuha, thrown forward due to the sudden jerk, hit his head against the rear-view mirror and the dashboard.
He had just stared stupidly as K had settled the unconscious monk on the backseat and driven to the nearest hospital.
"Stay in the car!" the blonde had said, surprisingly soberly, as he had carried Tatsuha to the hospital.
Hiro had then fallen asleep.
When he woke up, he was being shoved out of the car and was standing in front of a large building.
"What?" he had asked K.
Oh yeah, my new apartment… the one I had gotten because I couldn't live with Tatsuha's memories in my old one… because we made love all over that damned place… and the place fucking stunk of him…
He was drowning when he woke up again.
It was just an earthquake… it was shaking him so hard…
"Are you dead, man?"
It was past midnight. The lights of the reception area had been dimmed. He could barely make out Tatsuha's face and the blinding headache didn't help at all.
"You'll freeze to death or something… Ayaka-chan won't be happy if she finds out that she's got to marry a dead body."
Hiro took the proffered hand and heaved himself off the cold floor. He didn't let go of the warm hand – in fact, he leaned his head on Tatsuha's shoulder. It was dark. They were always safe in the dark… Darkness hid dark things… Darkness won't betray him.
"Your humour gets crappier every time," he said into his neck.
"Aww… you break my heart… and here I was only trying to…"
Tatsuha's words caught in his throat as he gazed into Hiro's eyes. He couldn't have discerned their hazy grey if he hadn't known about it already. But even in the almost non-existent light, he saw the grey in his eyes and could also read despair and yearning in them. He wished… oh how he wished he could do something about it. Instead, he ignored it. However, he rested his forehead against Hiro's.
"I came to say sorry."
Damn it, thought Tatsuha as Hiro slipped an arm around his waist. He had thrown up at the hospital and they'd given him some headache cure. He was considerably more sober than he had been all the evening.
"I shouldn't have kissed you – in front of K and all…"
"Are you bothered?"
"Shouldn't I be?"
"You don't mind kissing anyone in front of… anyone."
"I am not sorry for kissing you in front of K, dumbass. I am sorry for kissing you."
"So are you sorry for kissing me or sorry for kissing me?"
At first, Tatsuha didn't quite grasp the inflection in Hiro's voice. But once he realized it, he paid no heed to it.
"I shouldn't have done it," he continued, "I won't ever… so you don't need to worry about it. It's over… like you said… it was just a fun one-timer."
"I didn't say anything like that."
"Well, yeah, but you get me?"
Tatsuha finally gave in and brought his arms around Hiro.
"We can both die of cold out here."
"And then we can rot in hell together."
"That, you'll have to do all alone. A good boy like me would be in heaven."
Tatsuha grinned. "No… you aren't good… you will Ayaka-chan miserable. They won't let you in heaven after that."
When Hiro made no reply, he continued, "Let's get you to your room. You might as well get some sleep before you go ahead and secure your ticket to heaven."
Hiro was still feeling pretty drowsy. If not for Tatsuha's arm around him, he'd never have been able to make it to his rooms. For a few minutes, he had forgotten which floor he lived in. Tatsuha had dryly remarked that they would spend their entire lives in the elevator at this rate.
However, Tatsuha's words rang clear in his brain. No mistake about that. No, certainly not. Ayaka-chan… Hiro knew that he'd kill himself before hurting Ayaka-chan. He loved her a lot. On some level, he was even in love with her… But Tatsuha… He was much more in love with Tatsuha than with her, if love could be so compared. It was simply impossible to turn his back on everything now… and yet…
"Tatsuha?" he whispered.
"Are you still cold? I've put two blankets over you and I turned up…"
"I've just realized something, Tatsuha. My heaven's in hell."
Tatsuha burnt out the cigarette he had been smoking against the wooden base of the night-lamp beside Hiro's bed. It had very intricate patterns. Was this thing Hiro's inspiration to make his – and everyone else's – life complicated?
"Go to sleep," said the young monk resolutely. "Tomorrow, if you wake up beside me, you will spend the rest of your life in living hell. You've given up on me." He knew Hiro was gazing at him. It was so damned difficult to say this with his eyes staring so at him. But he had to because… because he had to for Hiro's sake.
"There's not only no future for us, but even the chances of a present together are zero – totally nil. I don't know what you feel for Ayaka. What's more, I don't even want to know – because I don't want to turn my life into a living hell because of her and you. All I can guess is that you care enough for her to go through living hell for her… to father her kids… to keep her happy… to grow old with her and give her a happy ending and all that shit."
Tatsuha had begun pacing the room.
"SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR ONCE!" Tatsuha stopped in his track and yelled out. "Shut up! You think that because I don't lock myself up in a room and act like a gloomy moron because you're getting married that I don't feel this… freaking pain. Like hell I don't! Okay, so I am not perfect – things were my fault. But you couldn't have brushed me off that easily if you didn't want Ayaka somewhere in you. Tomorrow I will sit and watch you get married to her because I cannot give a reason to the world why I shouldn't – but you will only think that I am enjoying myself, won't you? That I feel nothing? That I don't care? I don't care… I am sick of everyone – you above all, you, who thinks that I don't care. Like fuck I care! Why don't people start with caring about me for once?"
He turned away and angrily wiped away the few tears he'd been unable to stop from falling.
"Just leave me alone. Don't come near me. I tell you – I won't be there tomorrow. I am not masochistic. You know I don't bend that way," he smirked sardonically. "I will leave you alone and you will do that. And… and… that's it. It's over."
Hiro only watched him with groggy eyes.
Tatsuha knew that if he wanted to, he could go on for the night. But there was no point in saying anything now. Hiro was in no condition to stop him if he wanted to leave.
He knew that he should leave.
All his life, he had always known what ought and ought to be done – on the inside; he was pretty lucid on the matter. However, he had gone on doing things that he wanted to do and thus made a pretty mess of his life. This time, though, he couldn't afford to make such a mistake. It was for Hiro's sake, he told himself. It was all for Hiro's sake.
With a last forlorn look at him, Tatsuha turned off the lights and went out.
Author's Notes: The past will become clearer in subsequent chapters. I started with that place in the story that seemed a good place to turn into a first chapter.