Chapter 4: Broken

For the first few days after he came home from Shinobu's, Misaki tried to not argue with Usagi and to stay out of the man's way; however, four days of strict captivity was long enough. Every time he got even remotely close to the front door Usagi was there to distract him or to dare him to leave, absolutely forbidding him from taking even a step out of the pent house.

"Usagi-san, you have to let me go out sometime!" Misaki grumbled. "I have school and work. I've already missed two days and I've used most of my sick days. I keep telling you that nothing happened between Shinobu and I. Why can't you believe me?"

Unnoticed by the ranting teen, Usagi slowly rose from the couch and set his coffee down silently on the low table in front of him.

"That night I didn't come home, you waited for me." Misaki voice dropped to almost a whisper when he felt Usagi's arms around him; it took all he had to keep from crying. "You said you trusted me. Why can't you trust me now?" Misaki mentally kicked himself for the way he was acting, but he was indefinitely confused. The effect this man's touch always had on him was unsettling: it hurt. And this time, even the contact was ever so gentle, it felt like he was being crushed, smothered. A small, distant voice in his head murmured quietly, though not without impact:

I don't deserve this…

It was a stray thought that at the time held no meaning, mainly because he, himself, did not understand. This absurd sense of betrayal that was swelling to an increasingly present existence; the burning resentment for being treated like a child; and moreover, the gapping affliction of Usagi's mistrust.

Usagi frowned when he felt his lover trembling. "I love you," he said softly.

Misaki flinched. "You didn't answer my question."


Misaki pushed him away, tart irritation burning in his eyes as he scowled at the ground.

Just then, the doorbell rang. Misaki, relieved and thankful for the distraction, moved to answer it, but was caught by an arm and jerked around. Usagi kissed him fiercely, fervently. Misaki's throat tightened, and he just couldn't take it any longer. Something just didn't feel right, but that didn't make sense. Did anything ever feel right before? He'd never paid attention, but it must have to feel so off, so wrong, so empty now.

He tore away from him before Usagi could see him beginning to cry and made for the door hastily. Jerking it open, he was surprised to see Shinobu standing there, but even more startled at his own reaction to this boy. Alleviation flushed through his entire body, making him feel weak. He hesitated only a moment before escaping to the elevator with his friend in tow. Just before the doors closed, Misaki saw Usagi staring after him, a hurt, torn expression on his face as he hovered undecidedly between the door and the elevator. Acute pangs of remorse twisted knifes in Misaki's stomach and hot tears burned his eyes like acid.

"Misaki…?" Shinobu asked, bewildered.

Trying desperately to calm himself, the auburn-haired boy wiped his eyes vehemently and murmured as evenly as he could manage, "It's nothing. I'm sorry."

"That man is your boyfriend, right?" he guessed at length.

Misaki twitched and nodded.

Shinobu watched him carefully, disheartened by what he saw. True, he did not know why Misaki was crying, but he assumed that man had hurt him somehow. Naturally, he thought of his own situation with Miyagi. It probably wasn't the same, but by Misaki's dirty, passionate way of crying he knew that he felt just as miserable as he had these past months. But he didn't know what to do now with this weeping boy; he had never been on this side of a situation before. Shinobu remembered that Misaki had allowed him to cry on his shoulder that time, so perhaps, maybe, he should too? Shinobu hesitated, then he took the brunette into his arms gently.

Startled, Misaki started to pull away but something made him stop himself. Instead, he worked hastily to halt his tears. It was near to impossible to calm himself down, especially since his chest hurt increasingly more now hat he was with Shinobu. In spite of how uneasy he was, he also felt strangely comforted. As the elevator reached the bottom, Misaki did withdraw from the boy. "I'm sorry. I'm fine, really," he said, wiping his eyes on his sleeve.

Shinobu followed him into the main lobby, keeping his eyes on the ornament carpet beneath his feet as he walked. His cheeks burned and his stomach was tight, and he resented it. He screamed inwardly at himself, embarrassed by his own actions.

Misaki stopped suddenly, a thought coming to him. He turned to look at Shinobu oddly. "How do you know where I live anyway?" Not that I'm not grateful you showed up, he added silently to himself. Although Usagi probably got the wrong idea.

"My dad is the dean of the literature department at Mitsuhashi," he said simply, as if that would suffice as an efficient answer. Misaki pretended like he wasn't freaked out the his records could be obtained so easily and asked why Shinobu had came in the first place. The blond thought about that, then answered "No reason…" he just wanted to see him. Then he suggested that they could go do something to give Misaki time to calm down before returning home.

Misaki thought on this. That seemed like a good idea, but he felt guilty enough already. "Maybe I should go apologize now…" he ventured. "It doesn't feel right: leaving things how they are now."

"I understand," he murmured, although the was disappointed, and a little more than annoyed. "Well then… er… good luck?" he added, hoping it was appropriate.

Misaki thanked him grimly and took a deep breath before returning to the elevator. Shinobu waited till he was gone, then shoved his hand in his pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper. "I guess I had better return this," he mumbled to himself.


Miyagi walked down the hallway languidly, one hand gripping his bag and his other stuffed into his pocket. His head throbbed from a receding crapulence, of which was becoming exceedingly familiar. Also becoming eerily common ground was the feeling of forgotten memories, a voidance where yesterdays should be, only snippets of dream-like happenings remained. "Dream," however, would be an understatement. Try "nightmare." A conflict with Shinobu - that's what was haunting him, but he couldn't remember why. He struggled fruitlessly to remember and he felt utterly hopeless, like the feeling one gets after waking up and not being able to recall the astral plane he had just departed from.

He sighed and began to unlock the door to his office, surprised to find that it was already unlocked. Kamijou didn't usually get here till later. He opened it and went in wearily. "Kamijooouuu, comfort me…" he cooed, but stopped when he looked up to see who was actually in the room. Shinobu stood next to the filing cabinet, a folder open before him. The boy sent the professor a peculiar askance glance but otherwise appeared unbothered by him. He went on with what he was doing: he unfolded a paper, placed it in the folder, and returned it to the cabinet.

Miyagi watched him carefully from where he stood just inside the door.

Shinobu didn't look at him as pushed the drawer shut and turned to leave. He paused beside Miyagi and his way out and slipped a small metal object into his hand. "You always wanted me to give this back," he muttered darkly. Then, he left without another word. Miyagi watched him out of the corner of his eye until the door shut with a shudder.

Releasing the breath he hadn't noticed what he was holding. Miyagi opened his hand to stare at the little key Shinobu had placed in his palm. He knew what this was, it was the a copy of the key to his office Shinobu had made right after they had started dating. When asked why he needed a key to Miyagi's workplace, Shinobu answered, "So we can be together!" "Bullshit," Miyagi had said and half-heartedly demanded that he return it, but Shinobu refused fervently. After that Miyagi didn't argue about it much, though he wasn't happy. But now he wasn't happy that Shinobu was giving it back.

Miyagi's attention was suddenly fixed on the cabinet Shinobu had been in earlier. It contained the literature students records in it - why would Shinobu be interested in that? Curious and suspicious, Miyagi went over to investigate. Inside, one manila folder was left slightly askew from the rest. He pulled it out. Written on the front was [Takahashi Misaki]. Vaguely, he recognized the name from when he had subbed for one of Kamijou's classes a few years ago. Takahashi would be a third-year, so he was in Shinobu's class. He flipped the file open and stared disbelievingly at the picture clipped to the upper-hand corner. This sparked the memories he could not seem to remember earlier: of that night, of Shinobu and this boy, what they did in front of him, how he felt, what he said to Shinobu the next day, all of it.

"Shinobu!" he yelled, bursting into the hallway in hope of catching the boy before he got too far. But if he was heard then he was spitefully ignored. He was about to chase after him when he realized there were already students in the hallway, and they were staring at him, duly bewildered. Miyagi straightened up and went back into his office, latching the door behind him. His breath came fast and his eyes burned. What's wrong with me…? he thought despairingly.

To all my reviewers: 3 thank you 3 and sorry for the wait ^-^; The next chapter is already well underway.

Please tell me what you think so far of the characters' feelings, intentions, motives, etc. and plot and whatnot. There are two routes this story can take, and I need to know the impression its given off to this point to decide which direction it will go. The more feedback I get the quicker I can work out the rest of the story's bumps and the sooner I'll post ^-^