He looks down at the poor youth and let out a silent sigh.

He looks so peaceful, laying there.

Almost angelic.

Shame he's a dead.

Still... maybe that's life, grim though it is. Accidents happen. Or rather, 'crashes' happen, as 'accidents' technical refer to situations that cannot be prevented in any way. And from what he's heard, this could have been prevented. It shouldn't have ended this way.

In some twisted sense of irony, it almost doesn't surprise him, looking down at his partner lying in that simple wooden coffin. Not that he was expecting his death. Far from it. But somehow, he always had a feeling that Niou would pass away before he would that, that he would be the one to bury the other. The thought scares him.

He hears Masami sob loudly behind him and purses his lips at the lack of decorum. Weeping so hysterically like that. Niou didn't even care that deeply for her. And here she is, crying her head off like he was her newly affianced lover. He knows that once the initial shock has passed, she'll be weeping in some other guy's arms, mourning the tragic loss of her love. She's that kind of temperamental girl. Always the centre of attention. He wonders if he'd care about the show she's putting on by his coffin. Probably not. Niou never did care much.

After a while, he can't stand her uncontrollable display of grief. A shameful display of emotion with no respect. He bows his head and looks down at his friend one last time. Thankfully, his face is not marred by the accident. He doesn't know if he'd be able to handle it, seeing... The tasteful black suit hides any scarring to his body; it leaves him looking as carefree and handsome as everyone remembered him in life. He always knew how to rock a tux. Smiling at the thought, he takes a seat in the crowd and keeps his gaze averted from the girl weeping over the coffin, her fair head dramatically veiled in black.

When they close the lid, he smirks to himself. Niou once said that at his funeral, he'd have a pre-recording tape of him shrieking 'Let me out! Let me out! I'm still alive! Don't bury me yet!' inside the coffin. They had a laugh at the time. Now he wonders if he actually followed through with it. Probably not. It wouldn't have been enough time for him to prepare. He had always been a last minute kind of guy. His successful tricks are a testament to his quick-witted cunning.

He wipes his face of all humorous sentiments as the congregation stand in respect. It wouldn't do to laugh at such a sombre occasion. Not that Niou would have minded. But for propriety's sake he restrains himself, unlike Masami's continued sobs in the front row.

The pallbearers walk past in perfect unison. He wonders why they didn't ask the tennis team to carry their friend onwards. It would be fitting, seeing as how they carried each other through the blood, sweat and tears. Maybe it's better this way. Glancing sideways, he sees Marui staring into space, his expression as empty as the bubble that is for once absent from his mouth. The big three look suitable solemn, their expressions mournful yet yielding no weakness. Akaya takes it the hardest, his confusion and anguish evident in his slightly bloodshot eyes. Jackal fulfils his role, one of his large dark hands resting on the younger boy's shoulder, both restraining and comforting. Yes... it's better this way.

They follow the procession out onto the cathedral steps. The presentation is quite spectacular. He's impressed. Monochromatically attired guests stand amongst a forest of white roses and lilies. Perhaps Niou would have preferred blue flowers... but white meets protocol better. With something so solemn as a funeral, certain etiquettes must be maintained. The white rose in his hand is trembling, just like his cold, shaking fingers.

The coffin is gently lowered into the hearse. And as the foreboding black vehicle drives away, Yagyuu lets out a cry of anguish as the realisation that he will never see his friend again sinks him to his knees.

Thank you to miss owl and Lissie Lupin behind the scenes, for their kindness in making me more aware as a writer.