Summary: Both of them are walking in the rain and heading towards the sky.
Rating: mostly safe.
Warnings: there seems to be an irl poltergeist among us
lol i'm not even going to both explaining this one, but countervalue's prompts are really inspiring (:
rainymood(dot)com might get you in the right state of mind
#3; where there's rain, there's solitude
They usually forget about each other pretty quickly; Shiraishi drives with one hand on the gear clutch and Fuji radiosurfs between feeling aimless and breathing thoughts. Neither of them have their eyes on the road, and Shiraishi doesn't have his headlights on. It's 8 pm and Fuji wants to remind him because the highway smells dark and life-threatening. He stares out the passenger's window, instead, and tries to remember the name of the girl who sat behind him in psychology.
"Are we going to stop by Tesco later? I want some more instant coffee."
The raindrops on the windshield look like plastic beads, the kind with the microscopic holes that Fuji's sister used to string on her keychains back in junior high. She made one for Fuji once. It was purple and he kept it on the zipper of his lunchbox for three whole years during elementary school.
"That was a red light, wasn't it?"
Shiraishi's car is uncluttered, virtually spotless save for a few specks of dust on the dashboard over the odometer. There's one of those Chinese-style red bow things hanging from the neck of the rearview mirror, but it's been there for so long that neither of them pay much attention to it.
"You're driving in the middle of two lanes."
It's at this point when Shiraishi feels like he's in a ship out at sea. There's nobody on this road and he's got a right to feel lonely. He should be entitled to a bicycle, too, maybe one of those early models with a large wheel in the front. Right now he's also kind of craving chicken soup. Chicken soup at sea, maybe with electropop and a few canaries for company.
"Hey, what's that shiny thing?"
"You know, Fuji, I kind of wish you were born a girl."
"It's really bright."
"'Cause then, y'know, then I could be your boyfriend."
There's this light at the end of the tunnel. It's kind of bright but also kind of frayed, or maybe it's just the moonlight and the rainlight and the softer, more contradictory notes speaking dialects into thin air. Thunder, or maybe just a large bass drum. Either way it's coming closer and it's slightly alarming, but it's in the corner of Fuji's eyes and Shiraishi's too busy adjusting the radio dial and drowning in his miserable chicken soup to notice.
"That light, do you see it?"
"What is it?"
"What is it?"
"...shit, I think it's a car."
"Why isn't it slowing down?"
"I dunno. Why isn't it slowing down?"
"Your headlights. They're not- Oh god your h-"
(Together, they enjoy their solitude.)
If somebody had caught the incident on videotape, it would have been blurry at the corners and all over the center of the frame like somebody had rubbed an oily thumb over it and then cursed the cameraman in seven different tongues. He knows, you know, Heaven knows, Hell knows. Oh and maybe your aunt, too, because he might have told her by accident over that last bottle of whiskey.
It was a Subaru, kind of old and shabby in and around the hind legs. They swung into it at around 40 kilometers an hour, left around from the right shoulder, no spin despite the weather conditions. A clean smash, and now Shiraishi couldn't feel his legs. The driver was a lady taking her eight-year-old daughter to a piano lesson; she confessed to having received a phone call from the instructor in the middle of the road and she didn't want to be disrespectful since Menma-chan was just about to learn something really pretty by Satie, either way she was kind of in a tight spot from a financial standpoint and her daughter was already learning her scales with a classmate on borrowed time you know how it is or perhaps you don't since you look like you're in college but anyway wouldn't it be a better idea if we both walked away with a little damage on our headlights and held off on the insurance company? It's not like the twenty-centimetre-wide dent in your front bumper is that big of a deal.
"Sure," Fuji said, the same time Shiraishi said, "Absolutely not."
"It's my car, not yours, Fuji," he pointed out.
"Right," Fuji said, and he kept his mouth shut after that.
They usually forget about each other pretty quickly, except this time Fuji wants Shiraishi to drive his car into Shinjuku before he brings it to the repair shop. He says something cheerful about a penny and a theory and and then flashes his best smile only no one can see it because of the rainlight, but then he's pledging stuff like obnoxiously red condoms and buying Shiraishi ice cream.
He tells Shiraishi to park next to the large delivery truck with the mattress logo and then he advises that Shiraishi go and relieve himself at the Hyatt before they begin the experiment. It starts raining again and Shiraishi hears some very suspicious sounds outside but he contributes it to Momotaro because he can be insensitive about people on the streets sometimes, too. When he comes back out Fuji's already grabbed him by the arm, frog-marching him down a side alley. His grip feels icy and uncomfortable but Shiraishi doesn't complain.
"I don't get it, what are we doing?"
"You'll see, won't you? That's why we're here. I'm really glad you decided to total your car today, ne."
"Why are you glad?"
(He was humble about their solitude, at least.)
They end up on the roof of the right tower of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, tasting stars.
It's actually a quarter past eleven and the observation deck below them is already closed for business. Shiraishi doesn't even want to know how Fuji managed to smuggle the both of them in here but he does find out, from the large plastic sign near the stairwell, that there is a security guard who does his rounds every fifteen to twenty minutes. It's fucking windy and any chance of getting his breath taken away by a spectacular view are stolen by the salacity of the weather. The roof is loud in the rain, despite the solitary glaze of the banisters and the thin sheet of cement underneath his feet. Somebody downstairs must be washing the windows from the insides.
"What are we doing here," he hisses. He feels the water slide off his body like a second skin. He's cold and slightly feverish, in thirty-two seconds his clothes are going to peel off his body like wet newspaper and it won't feel erotic. At all. "Come on, let's go. I'm freezing my balls off."
Fuji ignores him and approaches the edge of the roof.
"Come over here, you."
"I said, come over here."
He moved forward reluctantly, walking on star-shaped sponges. His footsteps were squishy and raindrops sloshed around in his sneakers. He reached the railing and felt his heart drop 243 meters down into the murky sidewalk below. Fuji took ahold of his arm again, and this time spun him around so that they were facing each other.
"Hey," he said.
"Will you jump with me?"
"W-What?" he stammered. "What?"
"So you'll jump, then?"
"...No! God no, are you insane?"
"Do you love me?"
"What the fuck? Don't pull that one. Listen, this is a really bad idea, Fuji...We could die or no actually who are you kidding really we willdie. This isn't very like you. Why would you want to die?"
"Well why ever not?" Fuji said, and he was smiling again. "We were going to die today anyway. Because you wouldn't even look at the road while you were driving."
"Tell me you love me."
He was indignant. Felt the raindrops sink into his ears and his nostrils and for a minute felt like crying and shouting and sobbing but stopped and thought about the rain. The lusty rain, the rancorous salacity, the nerveof it to rain like this. It was adding to the fireworks for the dead girls and the fighting spirit of the dramatic irony and it certainly was not helping him keep track of his own perils, not at all. It's not like it's even that realistic. He must be living in a soap opera or something. Oceans. Sand. Trees.
"I-I love you." He whispered, and he felt cold inside.
"Oh good," said Fuji. Then he kissed Shiraishi very quietly on the nose and leaned over the railing, swinging an arm over the edge.
He tossed a coin into the streets below.
They rode down in the elevator.
For some reason, Fuji kept a four-ounce bottle of chloroform in his coat pockets. He used it to knock out the security guard. He had Shiraishi wear a ski mask and cover the security cameras while he performed the dirty deed, and at some point Shiraishi, remembering the mattress truck parked next to the first floor, almost wished that they'd jumped off the roof instead. They crept into the elevator like criminals (and in a sense they were actually criminals) and Fuji pressed his face against Shiraishi's shoulder, his words mixing into the wool of Shiraishi's sodden coat for the rest of ride down from the sky to the ground.
"How'd you like the roof?"
"It was fun."
"Really? You don't sound like you had much fun up there."
"Maybe there wasn't enough thunder up there. Maybe I should have said more dramatic stuff. Was it too anticlimatic for you?"
"Just a little bit, yeah."
"C'mon, Shi-ra-i-shi-kun, tell me how you really feel! Let's be honest here."
He blurted out the biggest injustice of it all. "You tricked me."
"You tricked yourself."
"I never should've gone up there with you."
"Was it because of the rain? You always liked the rain. Say that you liked the rain, at least!"
"Yeah, it was nice." He denied the wet newspaper feeling. He denied the water sloshing around in his sneakers. He felt the buzz of the rain tapping against the sides of the building. A minute of melodrama, a stumble for life. "I liked the rain."
Fuji smiled. Shiraishi could feel his smile through his wool coat.
"Wait until you see your car."
They usually forget about each other pretty quickly, and yet Shiraishi doubts that he's ever going to forget the two-centimeter-wide holein the middle of his sunroof, 243 meters under the stars, vindictive chirp of a bluebird plus a bullet through his precious car minus a slice through a chamber of his heart. The coin is nowhere to be found, the beast is unsatiable, untameable, incurable and the whole affair just smacks of so much absurdity, lands such a tender blow on his poorly-constructed mentality that he doesn't think he even wants to try handling it like a gentleman. Maybe like a shoe peddler. Maybe. The piano music keeps playing.
"Happy birthday!" Fuji says happily, and he gives Shiraishi a big hug. "It's a hole into Heaven! Now you can see Heaven every day when you're behind the wheel."
He's dumbfounded, by proxy. "This doesn't make any sense. It should have reached terminal velocity long before hitting my car. It couldn't hurt a fly. It's a stupid coin and there's no freaking way that the impact could have reached such an insane level. We're not living in a fucking vacuum. Are we? It wouldn't happen. And it's not my birthday."
"But it's raining," says Fuji, and that seems, for him, to justify the reasoning behind the entire anomaly.
"Just because it's raining doesn't mean that there isn't any air resistance. In fact, since there's so much atmosphere in the air, there should be more of an air cushion..."
"What if it's not just rain?" Fuji grins. "What if it's magical rain?"
He backs up, scandalized. "You're a horrible person. You must have sic'd some cruel mechanical contraption on my car while I was in the washroom."
"You can't prove that I did anything."
"I hate you."
"But you love me too! And I love you back. I never did say that, did I? I love you back."
The mechanic in Roppongi was nice about fixing his car. He was an older gentleman with very elegant streaks of grease on his arms, well-shaven and well-spoken and very amicable. He wore a very clean-cut pair of blue jean overalls and ate his lunch from a tupperware box. He had a daughter who studied at Keio and she came home during the holidays to make him curry rice. She made him proud and he was happy to support her endeavors. So he worked while humming Tchaikovsky underneath his breath, convinced that he was the luckiest mechanic in the world to have found a car like Shiraishi's. Patched up the bumper for 10,000 yen and wouldn't accept any tips, only muttered thank-yous.
He did, however, inquire after the hole in the sunroof.
"I can do a special for you, Shiraishi-kun. I'll patch this thing up for half the price if you keep coming back to get your car fixed here. Not that I hope you get into more accidents in the future or anything, ha ha! Just a regular check-up or an oil change, I can always handle that."
(And maybe it was because he usually forgot about Fuji pretty quickly, but he declined the offer very quickly and very politely.)
"You sure about that? What about when it rains? Wouldn't want your seat cushions to get all damp."
"It's always going to rain."
"That's no excuse."
"It's really not a big deal," he said, and he managed a smile. "It's a hole into Heaven, after all."
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