You guys really are keeping this fic alive with your reviews. Everytime I forget about this story, someone sends me an incredible review that makes me want to get the next chapter to the small soragami ship. :)
Thank you guys! And now; Angst.
Closure: Chapter 15
Roughly a week passed. The hospital seemed colder than usual. This was probably due to the fact that Keith went back to work and his body heat that served as an electric blanket of sorts left along with him.
The weight of the file in my lap felt as though it were made of lead. The plan was that the next time Keith came I would explain the situation to him with the contents of the folder as a guide. It was one thing to say it and that alone was hard. Thinking about actually going through with it was another thing entirely.
"Ivan~" Keith rounded the corner and glided into the room smiling brighter than the sun itself.
As soon as his face made its way into my line of sight, I instinctively shoved the file under the starchy hospital covers. "H-Hi, Keith." I couldn't even look him in the eye. Anxiety crept in as I stared holes into my lap.
He didn't seem to notice one way or another. "Are you feeling better now?"
"I'm... getting there..." If I focused on something else, maybe it wouldn't be as obvious that I was hiding something? Stop focusing on your lap! The clock maybe?
An awkward pause hung in the air as Keith simply watched me not making eye contact with him.
This carried on for much longer than it should have before he coughed a little and spoke up. "Are you having trouble seeing the clock, Ivan?"
Sometimes I underestimate how dense this person can be. It's hard to believe he's not perfect like I always make him out to be. "Yeah. My vision's not that great, I guess." I chuckled dryly, "Would you mind... telling me what time it is?"
He smiled and immediately answered but I was too lost in thought to even hear the numbers. The idea of not telling him yet seemed so appealing, but when the scene played through in my head, guilt immediately burst through the floodgates.
"Keith." The name interrupted the monologue I wasn't even aware was happening but being the polite person that he is, ceased his own talking and patiently listened with a smile. I took one last look at his happy face. Whether this face was genuinely happy or it was part of his act, I wanted to burn it into my memory so that whatever face he made at me after this was over, I would remember that at least during one part of my life, he could smile at me. "I need you to sit down."
The denim clad man made his way to the bedside chair and sat down. "What's up, Ivan?"
What's up, Ivan?! It was so casual. As if the thing I was about to tell him was okay and wouldn't destroy the foundation of this lie of a friendship we've established. "Well, Keith... you see..." I swallowed hard. "sometimes people do things that seem like a good idea at the time hoping that it will... benefit someone else."
I paused and glanced to my left to make sure he was following. The response was a neutral expression and a slow nod so my attempt at honesty continued. "Umm... a few months ago, Kotetsu and I did something in hopes that it would help you get better when you were not yourself. It was something that only I could do... but in the end, I wasn't strong enough."
I looked over again but this time he was smiling. He had no idea what I was talking about.
"Let me start over." With a deep breath, I pulled the thin file out from under my blanket. My trembling hands offered it to Keith. "P-Please read this." He took the folder. "It will make this easier to explain and comprehend."
When the large calloused hands delicately opened the folder, the metamorphosis his face underwent was almost theatrical. He must have seen the photo of Cis. His head slowly moved away from the folder. He probably didn't even know that he was gradually shaking his head from side to side in denial. "I don't-"
"I know you don't understand it yet but please read the document." The only thing I could do to keep from breaking down was to simply void my face and voice of every emotion possible.
At least an hour had passed. I'm sure that he had read the document three times by now. Though there wasn't much, he probably had trouble retaining what he had read considering the contents.
After a long silence, his eyes met mine. "Cis can't... this can't be Cis. It says Cis was dead for a year now... I saw her a few weeks ago..."
"Keith, the last time you saw the real Cis was on the date listed in the document. The robot that was trying to destroy everyone was also the white haired girl you met in the park."
The tension in this conversation was so heavy, yet neither of us let any raw emotion surface. Not yet, anyways. For now, it felt like we were both on thin ice standing side by side. The first one to make a move would crack it and drown the both of us.
"The real Cis...?" Great. So now he's focusing on the important parts. Not the fact that she was a robot and not the fact that he ultimately had to end her. He's focusing on the fact that there was a fake Cis.
"Yes, Keith. Kotetsu and Barnaby found out about Cis and they... enlisted someone who could pose as her... Just so that they could cleanly break away from you so that it would heal as a normal heartbreak."
His brow furrowed in confusion. I felt like a mastermind behind some grand scheme to ruin Keith Goodman's life.
"But who..." His gaze slowly turned up to me. It felt like his eyes were unloading bullets as the realization creeped in. "Ivan...?"
There was no way I could lie to him now. Not after we had both gotten this far. But I felt that if I were to open my mouth right now, every emotion I have been containing will violently escape. It would hurt both of us and I wouldn't be able to help him understand why he has to feel so many negative emotions right now.
All I could manage as an answer was a trembling nod with eyes that couldn't seem to open to face the man in front of them.
That was it. I was never going to see Keith smile at me again. "I see."
The voice that left him wasn't normal. It sounded dry and hollow. When I looked at him to see a reaction, I was immediately taken aback.
His face was obviously twisted by the terrible things stirring through his mind. The things that I had done. His eyes were tightly shut and his cheek twitched slightly. What disturbed me was none of this.
What disturbed me was that instead of a frown or clenched teeth, there was an empty, defeated smile. He looked like a husk. As if his happiness had come out of his back and flew away to leave him behind.
I didn't want a smile. I wanted a frown. Sadness. I wanted him to be angry and yell at me. To become red in the face or break down crying. That would have been an indicator for some sort of closure.
Instead, he smiled at me. In a minute, it became an effortless smile. There was no longer a contorted man trying to force himself to smile. He just was. He sighed then inhaled deeply before speaking.
"Thanks for trying to cheer me up. It worked for a while."
"I'm sorry if I scared you a few weeks back."
Keith please stop.
"I just got really really carried away I guess. That's me afterall."
He came over to rustle my hair. I flinched thinking he was going to do something. I deserved it.
"You made me feel better too. Not just Cis."
His semblance only broke for a few seconds when he said goodbye to me. My mind went numb. I don't even remember how he said it. Whether it was formal or casual but somehow, I knew it was the last time he ever intended to acknowledge me as a friend.
"Keith. I did it for you. I wanted you to be yourself again!" My voice cracked several times and tears began pricking my eyes as he turned his back to me and began to walk away. "I'm sorry..."
His footsteps could be heard through the hall. They accelerated as he got further away from me. Each of his steps echoed through my head with a painful throb.
My world began to break and without a sun, it grew dark.