A/N: In my defence, if anyone has taken full IB and had a part-time job, you would understand how hectic and busy someone's life can be. In all honesty I got tired of this story because I kind of want to write more kinkier and darker stories. Always been a fan of hypnotism not going to lie and erotic hypnotism is like my top fetish right now. But I'm serious about finishing something when I want to so I'll try. However, I think oneshots or short stories are going to be my thing. Instead of being a writer, being a reader is so much more easier T.T But thanks for everyone's love for the story. Anyways don't mind my horrible sloppiness on this chapter. I just wanted to get it out there and make sure you guys know I'm still here ^.^ Anyways enjoy :D

Chapter 9-Artemisia

The past only becomes the past when you let it go.

The suffocating white world where purity or sanctuary can not be found for some in this confinement trapped the darting eyes trying to find anything to catch his attention away from the source of pain injected in his arm. Everyday it was the same routine: sleep, eat, puke, tests, treatments, medication, sleep, and the cycle continues. With the cover up of a place to heal, the prison was nothing of the sorts.

Time seemed to stand still in the patient's heart during the last couple of months but the same could not be said to his physical appearance. Not even years seemed to be able to compare to the degrade of the youthfulness of the young soul in which illness took over his body. No signs of proper nourishment could be found; rather the man was all skin and bones. Not even his previous appearance before medications took its toll on his body could dare contrast what was left of him. And what he hated the most was to always be greeted by his appearance in his reflection as much as he wanted to run away from it.

And, even if it was temporarily, he was given the time to run away from the pain of reality for just a while.

"As much as the treatment we have given you has given us positive results does not mean you are free from any danger that occurs under your circumstances. In fact, your reactions may be even worse than before as the medication has weaken your immune systems," The doctor repeated for a second time.

"I understand." Eagerly the patient replied.

"I'm serious. The pain will probably double compared to before. As much as I want to keep you under surveillance, I understand it is not your wish to continue staying here," this time a sigh followed afterwards.

It really was a miracle and perhaps the help of sympathy that granted permission of his temporary release from this confinement. Trying his best to smile, trying his best to hide away his symptoms, trying his best to live; this hardworking nature of his prevented anyone to see or understand his everyday pain. His hell. But because no one could ever feel empathy for him, they could only give him one thing back to him, even if it was temporary. And that was his freedom.

"That's why until the next time you are admitted into the hospital, which I guarantee will be sooner than you think, we have given you permission to return back to your daily life under the conditions we talked about the previous day."

"Of course. I'm sorry for making you listen to my selfish request. I just don't want to waste my... time remaining." That heavy tension that always made its appearance during these situations, befell upon the two as both tensed.

"I don't think an apology is needed in this case. You're probably glad to be released, for now." A small smile spread across his lips.

Probably, the first time that something akin to a smile appeared on the fragile man's face as he took in the doctor's good intentions.

"Then, thank you for complying to my selfish request." Shaking the doctor's hands, the patient proceeded to make his way out of the room.

"Onodera-san," the doctor called. Knowing that he grabbed his patient's attention, he softly patted the grown man on the shoulder.

"I know you are a very capable and independent man but sometimes rely on others to help relieve the burden on your shoulder."

Too afraid to speak, in fear that his voice would crack, he gave a nod as the man in white watched as his patient bided his farewells.

"So for this month's issue..."

It's been four months, 23 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, and 48 seconds since that fateful day that Onodera Ritsu disappeared into thin air. Now four months, 23 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, and 36 seconds, but no one knew that the Emerald editor-in-chief was counting the time.

"Masamune, are you listening to me?"

But really, everyone knew. Everyone knew something was up with their boss. To have shaken their composed, stoic boss to the extent that he would drown himself in work until he collapsed into exhaustion, something big must have happen. Something so rattling that even Yokozawa had to give him a small vacation to give him time to recoup.


And it took no idiot to piece the time of the news of a certain editor's resignation and their Boss' faltering health together, but no one had the heart to bring up the topic about their ex-coworker in front of their boss. Not another repeat of the first episode when the topic of Onodera Ritsu was brought up. Never again did they want to see the dead look in a living man. Never again.


Blinking back to reality, the editor slowly raised his head to meet the gaze of probably the only person who was aware of the pain he was suffering. That worried look in his friend's eye, made him feel guilty again.

"Sorry Yokozawa. I'm not feeling well," Takano murmured, not truly turning his attention to the manuscript in his hands.

"...You were thinking about that person again, weren't you?"

Yokozawa observed the visible stiffness of his friend in front of him. Even trying to hide his shaky breath, only to fail by averting his eyes even further away from the man. Distancing himself so no one else can come into his barricade. No one, except for that one person. And Yokozawa had already accepted he could never be that one.

"I don't know who you're talking about."

"Don't be so stubborn," Yokozawa sighed, "we both know, that you know, who I'm talking about."

"I wasn't thinking about him," abruptly Takano got up. "Anyways I'm already late for a meeting with one of my author's so I'm going out first."

He doesn't even remember that I'm aware if he has a meeting with an author or not.

"Fine. But I'm stopping by tonight," Yokozawa gave a defeated sigh.

"Don't," the emerald editor shouted, as he entered the elevator.

"I'm seriously coming over so don't go to bed before I get there!" Yokozawa called after him.

When he heard the sound of the elevator doors closing, Yokozawa collapsed into one of the empty chairs. Massaging his temples, he looked out the window to see Takano walk towards the direction of the train station.

"Who else will make sure you're taking care of yourself otherwise," Yokozawa quietly murmured under his breath.

Looking back on the conversation again, Yokozawa sighed.

"Baka Masamune. I didn't even said it was a guy."

Shadows falling and rising when the only source of light came from artificial lamps hanging in the tunnel. The percussion of friction against the trail tracks sung along the background. People were just there, existing, each with their own life stories. Possibly drowning out the world themselves because not everyone lives in a world that happiness came freely. The editor in chief was one of those people.

The last train of the night. The train that held some of the most important memories for the Emerald chief. The very train rides home that he has been dreading since the news of a specific coworker's resignation

Watching without really seeing, hearing without really listening, touching without really feeling, Takano Masamune continued to live the way he use to live during ten years of his life. The ten years without Onodera Ritsu. And now picking up where he left off, he continued again during the last five months. The five months where Onodera Ritsu could not be found. Again.

Sometimes he thought he was going crazy. Seeing a flash of those familiar green eyes. Hearing that familiar voice playing in his head. And when he really thought he was losing it, he could even feel the way his love's head rested against his shoulders the train ride home. And that was okay with Takano. If it meant able to see his love once more, he could go as far as forever let him. Yet the train ride home was a double edge sword. To Takano, it signified another day without Onodera Ritsu. Another day of taking the train alone since the news of Onodera Ritsu's resignation. And when he closed his eyes, that heartbreaking news would play over and over...

"He quit?" Everybody fell silent as the words left their boss' lips. Most understood his infatuation with the certain brunette editor and didn't have the heart to tell him the news. Of course Kisa-san would slip up right away.

"What do you mean he quit?" he repeated, not fully registering the news the first time. Or rather, hoping someone told him he heard it wrong. But the silence was enough of an answer.

"A-apparently Yokozawa-san handed in Onodera's resignation this morning." Kisa-san stuttered, cowering behind Kanada.

And as if on cue, the entrance of the sales department head walked into the office. All pairs of eyes turned to him and back to their boss, each holding their breath to see what would happen next. Everyone jumped as the next moment Takano was grabbing Yokozawa by the collar.

"What's the meaning of this?" Takano demanded, clenching his collar even tighter with every word. "Why did you have his resignation?"

The coldness in his voice could have frozen everyone in the room. But even the coldness couldn't fight against the anxiety, distress, and betrayal laced inside his voice.


"What do you know that I don't?" Takano was already too far gone in his own world. Not even caring about the man in front of man, he slowly released his grip on his friend's shirt.

"Why is it that every time I take a step forward, he takes a step back?" His voice cracked.

"Why did I let him slip through my fingers... again." His mask cracked.

"Masamune. Onodera must have his reasons." Yokozawa muttered softly. It was like seeing the young Takano from those forgotten years so long ago.

"I know but I don't know! I don't know anything! I love him but I don't know anything about him because he won't let me, no matter how hard I try." His mind cracked.

"He's no piece of glass, Masamune. You should know that best," Yokozawa sighed when he received no response. Silently he brought his hand on Takano's shoulder.

"Just trust him. He's probably thinking what's for the best."

Dismissing himself Yokozawa left. Takano needed time to recoup by himself. He understood in this situation, he was helpless. Yet he still couldn't help but feel how stupid the two involved were being. Even knowing the full story didn't make it any more easier to understand. With a sigh, Yokozawa left the dishearten man alone.

After unknown measures of time, Takano stirred in his conscious slumber. But it was a nap that he never wanted to wake up from in fear of the pain that would greet him back in reality.

"It hurts."

... over and over, until finally:

"It still hurts," he muttered under his breath.

The pain clenching his heart that day had never let go. Feeling the dead heartbeat against his chest, he closed his eyes in hopes to return back to that world with him in it. Cause that day where he was not greeted by his smile, Takano's heart gained another crack.

A/N: During this transition I have switched to third POV if you haven't noticed by now. I might come back to re-edit this chapter but for now... THANKS FOR WAITING AND ALL THE LOVE AND SUPPORT!