It was raining again. I lay on the bed, eyes barely open, simply listening to the sound. It was relaxing, in a way. If I closed my eyes, blocked everything out except the sound of the rain, I could forget where I was. I could think I was home, in my small little room, pretend all this had been a bad dream. I could be sleeping peacefully, instead of waiting. Waiting in this horrible little bedroom, on a bed that was not mine. Waiting for that man to come back, fearing his return and yet also fearing he wouldn't return. Dreading the small window of freedom I have leaving, to be replaced by rough touches and forced pleasure, his cold red eyes staring at me as though I were some toy.

The illusion is broken, replaced by memories I can't escape. I wish I'd never met him, that ruthless, brutal killer. The people of Toshima are trash to him, trash to be thrown away. They are horrible people, yes… but no one deserves an end like that, sliced to pieces while begging to be spared. I do close my eyes now, pulling the thin white sheets over my head. Even this makes me sick. They smell like him. Without realizing it, I pulled the sheets closer, inhaling his scent. My hand glides down my bare stomach, stopping when I feel the cool metal of the piercing. His words from that day still ring loudly in my ears. He said I was his property, and that no one else could ever have me. That was what this simply piercing meant. Such a small thing, yet it bound me tighter than a collar ever would. I curled into a ball. Where was he? Why hadn't he come back?

I threw the covers off me, slipping off the bed. My legs nearly gave out, but I caught myself on the wall. I carefully reached down and picked up my long shirt from where he had tossed it the night before, slipping it on. I made my way to the door, but stopped, my hand reaching for the knob. What exactly could I do? I hardly had any clothes on, let alone possessed a weapon. He had taken my knife a long time ago. Toshima was not a place one wanted to go into without a weapon.

"Dammit…" I whispered. I let myself slide to the floor. Why? Why was I like this? How could I care for him, after everything he'd done? He'd killed Rin… Keisuke… taken me so many times, against my will… how could I care for a monster like him? Tears stung my eyes, sliding down my cheeks. He'd reduced me to this, a grown man crying like a child. I leaned against the wall, my chest feeling constricted. Why couldn't he have just killed me? Why did he have to…

The door began to open. The sound of rain was stronger now, but when I looked up, all I could see was a black-clad form. Red eyes stared at me from beyond the darkness. I issued a small cry, reaching for him. A warm hand caught mine.

"What are you doing?" His voice came out as a welcome sound. I felt more warm streams travel down my face, and buried myself in his chest. He was soaked through, cold. I didn't care. He was back, he was here.

"Shi… ki…" I gasped. He chuckled darkly, but soon fell silent. I felt him lift me up gently, shutting the door and diminishing the sound of rain. I didn't need to look to know we were heading toward the bed. As expected, I felt him lower me onto the sheets. But his hands left me. My eyes shot open in surprise. "Shiki?"

He was staring at me with a strange look on his face. Was that… pity? I watched him as he silently stripped out of his coat and shirt. He hardly ever undressed, even when he was raping me. His skin was pale, chest sculpted wonderfully, muscles always tense. Why was he like that? Never once had did he seem to relax. Flashes of purple skirted across my memory, eyes as cold and lifeless as ice. Nano? Was that why he-?

"Akira." The sound of my name sent an uncomfortable shiver down my spine. Shiki was looking at me again, ruby eyes glittering in the dull light. I swallowed hard, afraid of what he might be about to do. He came and sat on the edge of the bed, running a hand through his shining black hair. I saw a fatigue in him, running deeper than just the physical. He hid them well, but dark circles were starting to form under his eyes. That simple fact sent a jolt of fear into my heart. I sat quietly, afraid to move. It seemed an eternity before he finally looked to me and said, "You don't have to stay here."

"What?" I asked, the meaning behind his words lost to me. Was he serious? After everything he had done, everyone he'd killed solely to keep me locked away… he was giving that up? He had destroyed everything about me, my friends, my dignity, my pride, and now he was just going to throw me away like some used up toy?

"You… bastard…" I said, my face heating with rage. I tackled him, throwing him onto the bed and wrapping my hands around his throat. "You just use me until you get bored? Is that it? You take everything from me and now you're just going to toss me on the street?" I made to press down harder, but my hands wouldn't budge. Shiki lay straddled beneath me, making no move to stop me. I didn't understand! Why was he letting me do this? What was he thinking? His face was an unreadable mask. What was he thinking? Why can't I ever know what he's thinking?

"Go ahead," he said quietly. I stared at him in disbelief. "Just add a little more pressure. You can end it now, Akira." A shiver went up my spine as he whispered my name. "Kill me, and your nightmare will be over."

I wanted to do that. But no matter how many times my brain told my hands to squeeze harder, they did not move. My chest felt like it was constricting. I stared into Shiki's eyes, eyes that remained passive. Why? Why couldn't I do this? Why did my heart hurt so much? I closed my eyes, feeling tears leak out again. I released my hold on him, sinking onto his chest, tears flowing freely. My sobs mixed with the sound of the rain.