Yukimura had never, ever, even remotely, thought of a situation where his vice-captain would leave him suddenly without an explanation, forever.

Then again…he was in no place to be expecting one. After all, no one controlled the hands of fate.

Sanada Genichirou was a very serious person. He took everything life bestowed upon him with stride, whether it benefitted him or not. He never purposely turned any situation to benefit himself, like most people would do. If anything happened, so be it. What was there to complain or mope about? To him, everything happened for a reason. He may not have had Yanagi's logic-based thinking, but he was never one to believe that things happened without a reason…

There was so much more the bluenette could have said about his friend, but what for now?

Fate was also a very funny thing. It was always the situations that were the worst, most abandoned, most feared, that would be allowed to happen. When it did, stuff collapsed. Not just people, but emotions, hearts, hopes, dreams. Collapsed and shattered, maybe with a chance of recovery still, or beyond repair. Frozen in the hands of time that still ticked.

Yukimura did not know what to feel, as he looked over the still body of the other. Sanada was looking peaceful for once, his expression that of his actual age, and one that could be considered a laugh given his personality. Every line on his face contoured it, revealed what the young man did not hide from the world. His tanned skin did a good job hiding what would have been an uneasy pale. His black hair was black, so very dark. It was cut short, not matted from sweat like it usually was. That sight alone was enough to cause unease.

He was, after all, never one who would be caught dead doing nothing.

The irony of it was bitter. No one could do anything when they were dead.

The team were together when they heard the news. It could have been a good thing, it could have been a bad thing. But no one really did care at the moment. It was the clichés of the clichés. You pick up a phone call all in a good mood, and then someone breaks to you news that you never would have expected in a million blue moons. And it wasn't good. You are too stunned to speak, you drop the phone…and the rest is history.

The great Emperor had fallen…to a mere car accident. Fallen…to something, that had no right to push him off his reign.

The captain of the Rikkai tennis team turned away, refusing to look at him anymore.

The next time he took a look was when the whole team had arrived, the whole lot of them clad in the colour of mourning, standing around someone they respected a lot. All in as much silence as possible. Tears with silence was never really possible after all.

Yukimura did not really want to cry. No one did. Why did humans cry in the first place? All it was was a waste of nutrients and what could have gone to fuel energy for other bodily processes. Oh yeah. Maybe no one really expected him to cry because…because he was the Child of God. Maybe that was why. But so what? Even under all that power, he was still human.

It was a horrid sensation when you cried. You feel this…burning at the back of your eyes, and then it spreads. It spreads and before you know it your vision is blurry, annoying tickling sensations running down your face as your tear ducts get busy. You taste salt in your mouth, and suddenly there is not enough air around you.

Sanada was a boy. He was a friend, a teammate, a supporter, a pillar…a vice-captain. The bluenette never saw him as any lesser. He was more than a friend in fact. He was the thief of a heart. Yukimura's heart.

They were in love. Maybe it was infatuation, maybe it was mindless hormonal attraction, but it was something. They could name a million reasons why they liked each other and why they got together, and then give a million more. If Sanada could think of no more reasons, then Yukimura would. The universe was already up to something when it was obvious the result of putting both people's surnames together. So why go against it?

The secret they had not planned to take to their graves… Sanada had already sealed it. Truth that was never told would not hurt, hopefully.

Having someone close to you die was nothing out of the ordinary. It happened all the time. What was special, was that you never knew how it felt until it happened. The eternal goodbye that was always a few minutes too short. People easily said that yeah, it did hurt, but you will get over it. People said that it's a way of life, and that you should accept it instead of moping around. People also said that you should not feel sad, because the one who left would be feeling the exact same thing on the other side.

The feeling of loss was not a stabbing pain like most people described. It was not like being put through the fiery depths of hell and then back.

Yukimura never felt sad when his friend left him. Left them. It was a dull ache. A dull throbbing that was insistently there, refusing to go away. Every single heartbeat is a drum against your ribcage. Breathing becomes something really tiring and forced, and you don't really know why. Your heart is still there, but it isn't, really. You feel like you're being swallowed, into a black hole, and there is no way you'll survive it. Your breath catches in your throat as the fact that you have been abandoned sinks in. You wonder why, but you have no time to think as you just want to will everything to go away. As a bad dream that you want to forget.

This is not a dream. You really have been abandoned. Suddenly it burns. The familiar feeling of burning water. Water that was supposed to go to good use hydrating your other organs, but instead flushed out needlessly. The bluenette was proud of his 20/20 vision, but nothing was really clear anymore. Tears were annoyingly salty and cloudy, and no one knew the purpose of the blinding effect they gave.

Now that his vision was no longer clear enough for comprehension, he remembered. It was at that point that memories flowed in, emotions of all kinds made themselves known. Archived memories taken out and revisited because it was never going to be added to, never going to expand again. An archive that was sealed for life.

Sanada was taller than him, looked stronger than him back in their first year, and that fact has not changed. Only it was untrue, and still remains so.

Sanada enjoyed working himself to the limit and beyond. He was a workaholic in more ways than one and was proud of it. He loved many things, and he proved it. A kendo sword was a deadly weapon in his hand, not just merely an object of metal and wood. A cap was an item of honour on his head, not just merely a shield from the sun. A tennis racket was a weapon, a tool, an outlet for power, the ticket to victory in his hands, not just merely some piece of metal with strings that anyone with enough money could buy.

Sanada revealed what most did not see in front of who he cared about most. Yanagi and Yukimura never knew he could look so handsome and so young, smiling like that. He had a fiery personality, and underneath all that, a sense of humour.

Yukimura would never forget the day they won their first Nationals as a team. The capped boy was scowling, but inside, he was probably laughing at what they had worked so hard to get. He would never forget that awkward hug he extended when the older boy questioned their team bond. That hug made Sanada burst out into all possible shades of red.

He would never forget how Sanada taught him discipline, and how kendo could only truly be perfected when one had it. Patience was key, and he further proved it by meditating for 3 straight hours without breaking a sweat…literally. When it was like, a couple hundred degrees outside.

The cloudiness in the bluenette's vision had not cleared, and if anything it had gotten even worse.

With good memories came bad ones. Feelings of regret. Memories were like a movie, really. For one to be complete there had to not only be happy moments, but conflict too.

Yukimura could not remember many times he felt that angry, but those years ago when Sanada plucked out a flower and refused to apologise…it kind of threw him over the edge. He felt offended. It was really unfair how he did not feel for plants as fellow living things. But he never thought there could be reasons the other did what he did.

It took them a week to get over that.

Then that time when the captain questioned the existence of their relationship, about if he really loved him. The both of them got really frustrated then and found no need to speak to each other or attempt to make up. The storm blew strong for a long while.

This time, it took them a month to work things out.

All that time…Yukimura mused. And all those other times they fought for useless things like jealousy and other emotions. The time they wasted. They could have spent all those times in happiness but they did not. They could have sucked up their damn prides and just made up so much sooner, but they did not. They could have just been honest, and just friggin admit they loved each other already instead of waiting two months to clear it all up.

Time gone is time gone forever. What was not well-spent would be replaced by regret, which would stay for just as long as time was gone.

The feeling of having someone close to you, this close to you leave. It was not pain that you felt. It was not hurt and betrayal. It was not a horrible, stabbing pain.

It was far, far worse. The agony of extreme longing was incomparable. Sanada had ripped out a part of Yukimura when he went like that. It was the fact that it was painless that truly hurt. Maybe then you would have noticed what was missing. Memories of doing everything with that person would resurface. You would remember the first time you met him. You would remember the first time you heard him laugh. You would remember how special he was to you, and how you were to him. You would remember how almost everything you did, you did for him to be happy and smile. You would remember the first time you saw him frown, the first time you saw him in rage.

You would regret arguing with him over the smallest of things. You would regret not taking a closer look at that present he handmade for you before you accidentally threw it away. You would regret not having cherished what happy moments you had with him, because there would never be anymore.

It all stops there. You repeat to yourself. Everything you knew about him stops right here.

Yukimura now understood why people cried at funerals. There was so much regret and longing going on that it would take someone with a heart of steel to be able to put up a strong front. What other people saw were tears. The reasons for simple tears were too complicated to be put into words, so no one really bothers asking.

The bluenette swears his teammate is still alive…somehow. He can feel him in the air. As if he was living, breathing right beside him. He's not kidding because he hears every breath, hears every heartbeat. And then he turns around to realise there is nothing there, and that a gust of wind had conveniently blown by, almost as if to mock his attempt to disillusion himself.

It was so unfair. Life had been a bitch and made him fall sick when the team needed him most but it did not take his life away. It did not steal what would have been his life if he had not learnt to open his eyes. He did recover, and come back stronger than before. So why did life make Sanada pay so dearly for something he never did. You could always imagine something like this happening to someone who had always been cheating on their partners, lying to get ahead in business, stealing stuff with no conscience whatsoever. Sanada did neither of those. Yet he paid for it.

For how much longer could a goodbye last? Stupid Sanada did not leave with a goodbye. He left with a promise he would never fulfil.

"I'll see you again tomorrow."

Tomorrow never came. It would never come because one would always live in the present, never in the past, never in the future. Just the present.

The thought of having to live on and move on without the one you love beside you was unthinkable. But the thought of what the deceased might have thought about what you thought was even worse. They never saw you as a coward. They saw you as someone proud, strong, tall. They never saw a loser who gave in without a fight. They saw you as a lion who roared with pride. That was the impression of you they last remembered. Are you trying to change that impression with all that stupid weakness? Would they have wanted to see you become someone they never knew?

Death was an absolute end for anyone living. It was unquestionable, it came when it came, did what it was supposed to when it was time, and then left just as silently as it came. That was the way death worked since long ago and that was how it was going to continue millenniums and eons into the future as long as something breathed on this planet.

It must have been a long time since everything started, because the coffin lid was being put on and sounds of wailing and absolute agony only went along the lines of crescendo as people turned away, not having the heart or the will strong enough to spare that last glance.

Yukimura never spared a last glance. He looked to the side when the coffin was being carried away and never looked back. He didn't feel a need to.

It had been a nice, romantic sunset that very evening when the bluenette gave his friend a necklace, with a kendo sword charm and a tennis racket charm on it. To represent the things you love most, he had said. The capped boy had blushed, but shaken his head. Yes, those represented what he loved most…but. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a locket, sliding it in together with the other two charms. Those had represented what he loved most…

And these represented his life. He wore it, even though it looked ridiculous.

The last last time the captain had seen the necklace was years ago. It had somehow made its way back to him when Sanada passed, the other two charms mysteriously missing, and the locket intact. The very locket that had a picture of them kissing together.

"The secret that we would take to our graves…" he had murmured, while putting the necklace into Sanada's hands before he was carried away.

They would never be lovers. The secret of their relationship would remain as it is for now and for time to come. They were best friends, teammates, but not lovers. They never loved each other in that way. They never touched each other in that way. They never kissed in that way. They were merely friends and Sanada left…as a good friend.

But Yukimura Seiichi could feel comforted somehow, because he knew that the other never wanted to leave too. He had wanted tomorrow to come just as much as he did. Just so they could be together again.

And being just friends could have waited. Waited for just a short while.

Like maybe forever.

It is not pain when that special person bids the eternal goodbye. It is agony of the worst kind.

The feeling is something you will never understand until you personally experience it. It's a hole in your heart.

I'll never be able to describe how much I miss my special someone. I woke up one afternoon this week and I started crying like mad, and that was what? Nearly a year after he was gone?

Crying is but the tip of the emotional iceberg at times like this.

I apologise for the depressing mood. It's hard when you are just trying to keep your salt in.

Posted: 19/02/2012