Warning; slight AU, character death, and suicide- don't read if you're a potential trigger.
Also, this doesn't quite follow the plot of the anime.
This isn't a songfic, but I had '4am Forever' by lostprophets on repeat whilst writing, and it was strongly inspired by said song.
I hope you know you're letting go
It's 4am and I'm alone
-4am forever, lostprophets
Yukiteru's first thought is, 'Yuno's gonna kill me'.
Because, see, it's 4am, and he's getting out of bed and gently padding across the floor to throw on an old hoodie and pull on some jeans before he opens the door, and, well, leaves. Yuno is still lying on the bed, her arms wrapping around the pillow and she's breathing softly, and she's at peace. Yukki isn't, Yukki will never be at peace, he can't sleep and he's restless and all these thoughts are gathering together in his head and it's driving him insane. The door click shuts behind him. Yukki's heart races, Yuno breathes. He is still the same old coward, after all these years. He sort of hates himself, but whatever. Yuno's shrill voice does not ring out through the thin walls, so Yukki creeps down the stairs, wincing at every creak in the old wooden steps.
He locks the front door behind him. His keys jingle in his pockets, and the night air soothes the nausea in his stomach. It's 4am. It's 4am, and the streets are empty for as far as he can see.
He feels alone, and he can't decipher whether or not it's a good or bad sensation.
Streetlamps guide his way through the lonely, lifeless streets. He can't hear anything but his own footsteps, and his heartbeat pounding in his head. He's constantly scared, these days, with Yuno constantly breathing down his neck and pressing kisses to his lips and swearing she loves him. Yukki doubts she even knows what love is anymore, she's too bitter, filled with far too much hate. He wonders if she was ever any different, or if he was just blinded by fear, clinging on to the closest source of security. That proved fatal, in the end.
It's a long walk, and 4am is slowly slipping away. His sleep-deprived eyes glance around alertly, but all he sees are suburban houses drowned in darkness, and shadows scattered in the golden glow of the streetlamps that guide his way. Yukki feels a strange sort of pang in his chest, his heart. He doesn't want to be scared anymore, but he is, oh, he is.
The cemetery is a little way off the main road, and Yukki cuts across a damp stretch of grass, rather than trailing up the stone path, illuminated still by the streetlights, and ultimately drowns himself in the darkness. He reaches the black, gothic gates that curve and curl in dramatic places, and the stone wall surrounding the graveyard separating him and a sea of dead bodies. He wonders, momentarily, when he became so morbid, but then with a thin-lipped smile, he reminds himself exactly when, and exactly why, and it brings on this terrible, crushing feeling inside that he tries his best to ignore.
He pushes open the gate; it feels icy and damp against his palm, sodden with rain. The jolting, rusty sound of the gate jerking open startles him, the same way it did last night at 4am, the same way it does every single fucking time. After all, he is still the same old Yukki, the same old coward.
He trudges through the overgrowth, because nobody seems to think to cut the grass, or pull the weeds, because it is just an old cemetery. The dead can't complain now, can they? And nobody else thinks to. The dead are just a distant memory.
Everything looks the same, here, so blindingly peaceful. Yukki feels calm here, even when distant animals call out through the night and anxiety jolts through his stomach, even when he's a lost little boy alone in the dark where monsters lurk and a strange man could put his hand on his shoulder, or a defaced ghoul could suck out his soul, or a girl like Yuno could slit his throat, and he wouldn't see it coming. He feels calm, kind of, and it's a little weird, but nothing makes sense anymore, nothing, not a thing. Nothing will ever make sense again.
Yukki knows this route like the back of his hand. He slips past rows and rows of little headstones marking where the dead lay rotting, past weeded flower beds and weeping willows until he meets one headstone in particular. And there's a small bunch of flowers placed in front of it, now dripping with rain water, and there is no ivy coiling its way over the engraved writing spelling out 'Akise Aru'.
Just like last night, and the night before, and the night before that, Yukki's heart sinks, because it's 4am, and he's here again like he always is. And it doesn't matter that he's cold, it doesn't matter that he's lonely, it doesn't matter that he's sad, sad to his core and his brittle bones, Akise Aru isn't here to wipe the tears away. Akise Aru isn't here to pick up the pieces and murmur sweet, sad words about how it's going to be okay, and he can't tell Yukki 'I love you', or chase away the nightmares, or kiss the lips that are holding back screams. Akise Aru is dead, cold, buried six foot under, and there's not a thing Yukki can do to bring him back.
Yukki sits, never mind the damp grass beneath him; it's 4am and he's here and Akise isn't, no matter how hard Yukki pretends.
'Hey,' he murmurs, to Akise, to no one. There's no one there, Yukki, remember? But it's 4am and loneliness really can drive you mad. It's 4am, and at this hour, six months and five days ago, Yukki chose Yuno over Akise. Its 4am, and at this hour, six months and three days ago, Yuno plunged a knife into Akise's neck, slitting his throat, letting the blood spurt- and then Yuno turned to him, smile wide, eyes glittering madly.
'There's no one to get in the way now, Yukki!' she said, and her voice was so high, so pleased with herself, with what she'd done, with the way the blade and sliced so effortlessly through his throat and Yukki feels sick just thinking about it, thinking about the way she burst into the room when she realised Yukki hadn't come home that night, the way she'd tracked him down by slicing up Kousaka and Hinata and Mao, just to find him, because Yukki spoke to Akise and he told him through tears, 'I love you, okay', and Akise promised to always protect him and Yuno knew somehow when the light disappeared from Yukki's eyes, that he was in love with someone else, and she wasn't okay with that.
Yukki's eyes are suddenly swimming with tears, because he can see it, he can see it all again, now, in his minds-eye, the blood squirting as the silver blade slid through Akise's white skin as easily as butter, and- fuck. It's 4am, and Yukki's reliving every moment of that night, every feeling, the way tears slid down his face and the way he shuddered at Yuno's bloodstained smile, the way her crazed innocence made his skin crawl and the way Akise never woke up. It's 4am, and Yukki's wrapping his arms around his knees and hugging himself tightly.
'I'm sorry,' Yukki mumbles. 'I'm so, so sorry.'
And then the words tumble out, the same way they always do. The words pour out of Yukki's mouth because it's 4am and he's a broken boy, overwhelmed by a crushing guilt and taking deep breaths accompanied by giant, shuddery sobs.
'I should have chosen you,' Yukki gulps. 'I loved you from the start, you know, I was just scared and I picked Yuno because she- she told me all these things and I- I don't know but I did and I regretted it and you were all I could think about and I'm so sorry-'
'And I came back and told you I loved you the next morning and your face lit up and there was something in your eyes that made me smile and then you kissed me and it felt right- and I don't know what it was but it was there-'
'I tried to leave, I tried to get away and I didn't tell her where I was going I swear, I swear it wasn't a trick, Akise, because I love you, okay? I love you, I always loved you- I don't know how she knew, she always knows, she always-'
'I'm so sorry, Akise, and I'm so scared- this is all my fault, and you always protected me, but I couldn't protect you, and I'm sorry, I'm a coward-'
'She's crazy, Akise, like you said-'
'I love you. So much,' his words break apart, almost incoherent through tears and gasps and, fuck, it's 4am and Yukki's falling to pieces. Just like last night, and the night before that; because the one he fell in love with was so brutally killed, right before his eyes, and he can't sleep for the nightmares that haunt him, visions of Akise's blood splattering across Yuno's shirt, the shirt she still wears, now, and the way Yukki couldn't save the one who truly loved him.
The tears don't dry, but Yukki picks himself up, off of the ground, a thousand thoughts in his mind morphing together and he can't think straight.
'Akise, I'm sorry,' he murmurs, but his words are soft and so are swept away by the wind, washed away by the teardrop rain pellets, and the dead can't hear him anyway, can they? Akise's gone. He's gone, gone, gone.
And so Yukki trudges back, through the graveyard, wiping the streaks of tears off of his face with his sleeve and sniffing. He is lonely. But this is a different kind of lonely; because 4am is slowly fading away, and guilt is eating away at Yukki's heart as self-hatred burns his mind to insanity.
It's 4am, and Yukki's leaving the graveyard, a broken boy lost in the storm, the same ritual he performs night after night because at 4am, Yukki can't sleep and he can't lie awake listening to his love's murderer's heart beating softly
But tonight, something has changed in him, something has shifted, somewhere in his heart, and he can't go back to Yuno's wild eyes and a house he is imprisoned within. He has nothing to live for; everyone he loved lay dead in that graveyard, and without Akise, he has no hope. He has been doing this for 6 months, returning to Akise's headstone at 4am when the streets are empty and the skies are black. Yuno has imprisoned him inside himself, and she's thrown away the key. And he can't- he can't, not anymore.
And as 4am dies, as the skies pale to a faded grey and a watery winter sun hides behind daybreak's clouds, Yukki finds himself on a bridge, he doesn't know how, or why, or where. All he knows that 4am is fading, and so is he.
He takes a deep breath. The watch on his wrist says 4:59.
As the numbers change, Yukki jumps.
And as 4am dies, so does he.