Title: Keep Me in Your Arms (Because I Wouldn't Stay)
Fandom: [K], Project K
Characters/Pairings: Fushimi Saruhiko/Yata Misaki, mentions of Totsuka Tatara.
Disclaimer: [K] does not belong to me, nor do I make any profit out of this work.
Warnings: unbeta-ed, grammar errors ahoy, lime? I'm not sure. Possible OOC-ness on Saruhiko's behalf. 3500+ words of nonsense, everything I write explodes, I'm sorry. (also, apparently I can never not put Totsuka into my fics, except that one time.) This was written around episode seven or eight coming out.
A/N: Written as requested by majinxkayleigh on tumblr. This is pretty hard to write; keeping Saruhiko in character is seriously a challenge when you're writing hurt/comfort fic, especially with this pairing. I'm not sure if this is good enough, but I have no idea what else I could do to make it better, so here. Sorry if it disappoints, but hopefully you'll enjoy this! :D
A [K] Project Fanfiction
Keep Me in Your Arms (Because I Wouldn't Stay)
There's a hairpin tucked between the worn pages of his favorite old novel.
It's the color of wine red under the lights in his room, but when he turns it just so, the color edges closer to black. It's small, slender, tiny between his fingers, just the perfect size for someone to keep their bangs from covering their eyes. It's plain and ugly, and also weighs like a feather, but Saruhiko doesn't think he'd have the energy to lift it up now.
Totsuka-san is dead.
It takes him almost a week for the fact to really hit home. Saruhiko likes to think there's no love lost between him and the rest of HOMRA—not when even Misaki attaches the title 'Traitor' after his name—but he surprises himself when he recognizes the grief slowly swallowing him up after he saw the video of the Colorless King and Totsuka-san.
In the end, it really is impossible for anyone to hate Totsuka Tatara.
Totsuka-san had also been the one who gifted him this ugly hairpin.
Something to remember us by, Totsuka-san had said before he crossed HOMRA's threshold for the last time. Saruhiko had given him a wary stare, but the older man had simply chuckled. This is originally for Izumo-san, but I think this will fit you better.
This is hideous, Saruhiko had answered.
I know. I'm sorry, Totsuka-san had said, voice light and cheerful like he wasn't about to send Saruhiko off, like Saruhiko was just going home and would be back in the bar the next day, like he wasn't about to cross over to the Blues. I'm sorry we aren't good enough for you. Then Totsuka-san tapped a finger on the left side of his chest, right where his insignia was, fingers lingering like a greater regret never spoken. But come over anytime you want. Yata would be ecstatic.
Saruhiko closes his eyes and scratches his HOMRA insignia. His bangs fall forward and cover his eyes when he peers down at it, and he pushes them back irritably, running his fingers through his hair while he's at it. The strands are mostly dried now, but the roots are still damp. He ought to dry it completely before going to bed if he doesn't want a dully-pounding head tomorrow morning.
He remembers a time when Totsuka-san had been the one chiding him about wet hair and sleeping.
But the time is long gone, and Totsuka Tatara is dead. Saruhiko doesn't know where he's buried, doesn't know if HOMRA holds a funeral at all, doesn't know if they send it back to Totsuka-san's family, if he has any. Suoh Mikoto is Munakata's problem now, contained and caged and restrained, eating and sleeping and complaining and probably having nightmares, because according to Totsuka-san, the Red King has lots of them. Saruhiko doesn't particularly care, but he remembers how Yata's eyes had widened at the information, looking worried and concerned while asking Totsuka-san if there was anything they could do for Mikoto-san, and Saruhiko had never hated the Red King more.
Maybe he should go out for the night. Grab a girl or two, drop by a bar or four. He's hyper-aware of how even more boring and dull everything is tonight, after fighting Misaki back on the school ground, before Awashima interrupted them when Misaki was just about to get serious. That young woman has control issues, Saruhiko grumbles inwardly.
It's a lot of work to do his usual hairstyle, so he takes the ugly hairpin, eyes it for approximately three seconds to hesitate, and fastens it tight on his bangs.
He doesn't know whether it's grief or convenience that makes him do it, but he doesn't pause on his way out to find out.
It says something about how much Misaki's had to drink, seeing that he doesn't instantly clips Saruhiko on the head with his baseball bat the second his gaze falls on Saruhiko. Or maybe it's the hairpin, because Misaki's eyes widens ever-so-slightly in recognition just now. Either way, Saruhiko isn't about to rile Misaki up—there's no fun in challenging him when Misaki has alcohol in his system. Besides, if he wrecks this bar up, both Munakata and Mikoto will be out against him.
"The fuck are you doing here, Monkey?" Misaki snarls, but makes no threatening move from where he's slumped on the bar counter. Nearby, the bartender hovers hesitantly, staring at Saruhiko in both guilt and helplessness. "You're not even of age, yet."
"Neither are you." Saruhiko snipes back, watching the bartender's guilty look seems to worsen. He ignores it, chooses to slowly smile at Misaki instead, and takes a seat next to him. "This isn't going to help you find someone and get laid, Mi-sa-ki."
"I'm older than you," Misaki shoots out, before burying his face on his arms, and Saruhiko hears him grumbling something that sounds like "…dun' need 't—" but he can't be sure. So he ignores that too as he props his head on a hand, staring at Misaki's slumped form intently. The shorty's only wearing his tank top, his upper right hand bandaged where Saruhiko's knife had lodged itself in hours ago. From where he is, Saruhiko can see a glimpse of Misaki's insignia; he resists the urge to touch it, to let his finger traces the curves, just as he's done back then.
But back then means the times when HOMRA was home, times when Misaki didn't point at him and call him traitor, times when he watched Misaki fawn over the Red King, times when Totsuka Tatara was still alive.
Saruhiko chooses not to think about back then.
"Sir," the bartender says—it sounds like a plea, but Saruhiko doesn't blame him. Misaki is probably about to drink himself into oblivion, and this bartender might just be part of Kusanagi-san's information network. Which means Kusanagi-san will give him hell if he finds out he lets an underage drinks in his bar, more so if it's Misaki, because Misaki is one of HOMRA. "He's drunk enough. Would you mind taking him, please?"
Saruhiko clicks his tongue. It's troublesome, trying to drag a drunk Misaki out of this bar and drop him back at his place. But there's something off about Misaki now—there was something off about Misaki when they fought just hours ago—and Saruhiko doesn't like it. This Misaki isn't his Misaki—his Misaki is supposed to be a soul wilder and freer than any other being ever existed, a soul no one could ever hope to pin down no matter how powerful they are.
His Misaki should have been able not only to dodge Saruhiko's knives, but also fling them back at him.
And really, this world is dull and boring enough; Saruhiko loathes to watch the very person who could streak an outrageous red across his world slips away to misery and change. If Misaki changes, if Misaki ceases to be his Misaki, Saruhiko isn't sure there's anything worth left for this world anymore. And he can't have that, can he?
With a click of his tongue, Saruhiko grabs the abandoned red sweater on the counter and takes away Misaki's empty glass. Misaki stirs to give him a furious look, one hand coming up to swat Saruhiko away, but with alcohol in his system, his aim is way far off. His hand ends up hitting Saruhiko's crotch instead.
Saruhiko clicks his tongue and smirks. "Impatient as usual aren't you, Mi-sa-ki?"
His drawl brings forth a burst of red across Misaki's cheeks; a blush that doesn't deter his glare at the slightest. "Leave me alone."
Saruhiko shrugs. "I am arresting you as a member of Scepter4 for underage drinking." He hefts Misaki up—the boy feels lighter than he used to be, Saruhiko never noticed that before, how come?—and forces him to slip the sweater on. Misaki doesn't fight, and isn't that odd; it's like Saruhiko's handling a doll, a slumped and glaring and grumbling doll whose soul has been sucked out by something horrible, and what's left is barely enough to make it move.
Something must have happened.
"Bullshit," Misaki grumbles next to his ear as Saruhiko props him on his feet. "You don't care about underage drinking. You never fucking did."
Saruhiko chooses to ignore how bitter it sounds.
Misaki's is dry-heaving when Saruhiko dumps him on the couch.
"Fuck." Misaki mutters, scrambles off the couch and manages to make it halfway to the toilet before changing his mind and races off to the sink instead. He's throwing up even before he completely bends over to the sink, retching, pushing everything out of his stomach with a sickening sound. Saruhiko watches, notes the way Misaki's whole body shakes, notes how his feet doesn't seem steady enough to hold himself up, and his hands bracing the edge of the sink must have been the only thing keeping him up.
Saruhiko sighs, goes to the kitchen counter and bends down. It's where Misaki keeps the kitchen utensils since three years ago, and Saruhiko isn't sure if he should feel glad that it hasn't changed. He retrieves a glass and fills it with water, putting it in an arm reach from the shorter boy.
Misaki eyes the glass of water, exhaustion shadowing his eyes.
Saruhiko smirks. "It's not poisoned."
"I know." Misaki snaps, snatches the glass and downs it in three huge gulps. Saruhiko briefly wonders why it's always has to be a challenge when it comes to Misaki, but that's probably what makes the shorter boy more exciting than anybody else, so he isn't going to complain. Riling Misaki is like a second nature to him, anyway.
The tensed silence falling between them is pretty much something Saruhiko expects. Misaki is staring at the sink like it's done him something grievously wrong, and Saruhiko is tempted to tease him just to see how much he could take in that state, but again, there's no point in riling Misaki up when he's drunk.
And then Misaki's stomach grumbles.
Saruhiko raises an eyebrow, then clicks his tongue.
"Sit down." He orders, and Misaki tenses, looking like he's just a second away to shout at him, but Saruhiko waves a hand. "I need to eat, too."
"Then fucking go home and leave me alone." Misaki spits, but stumbles to the table and takes a seat nonetheless. His voice is muffled when he slumps forward on the table, but it doesn't take away the threatening edge on his tone when he says: "If my kitchen's destroyed, Saru, I swear I'll castrate you into a thousand pieces and scatters them from the top of Ashinaka Gakuen."
Moving around in Misaki's kitchen is easy—nothing's changed in the last three years, so Saruhiko knows exactly where the older boy keeps the things he needs for scramble eggs and toast. That's the only thing Saruhiko knows how to make without setting the whole house on fire, so that would have to be enough for now.
The hairpin nearly slips down his bangs. Saruhiko clicks his tongue and fastens it back.
"That's not like you," Misakis says quietly, voice still muffled, and Saruhiko pauses to glance back at him. The shorter boy is staring at him blankly, like half of his soul isn't even here.
"What is?" he decides to humor Misaki anyway.
Misaki shakes his head, like he's trying to pull back from whatever thought distracting him. Saruhiko catches him swallowing hard, watches him school his expression back to neutral.
"Being so fucking sentimental."
So he does recognize the hairpin. It's probably why Misaki hasn't tried to kick him out of the house. "How flattering," he drawls, turning his attention back to the sizzling pan to scramble his eggs. "But no. It's convenient."
A long pause, and when Misaki replies, it is with a tone of resignation. "Huh. Should've known."
Sentimental is never a word to describe Saruhiko, but it does bring forth the thoughts swirling in his head ever since Totsuka-san's death finally hit home. He fingers the hairpin lightly, remembers Totsuka-san's smile when he sees Saruhiko off, remembers the cheerful voice the older guy kept even when Saruhiko is betraying HOMRA. Something in his chest twinges, and his hand pauses on its way to take the bread out of the toaster.
There's a sound of nails scraping on the table. "I should've—come faster. Should've—found him faster."
Saruhiko puts the eggs and toast on two plates, bringing them to the table silently. Misaki's fingers are digging at the edge of the table, nails scrapping as his knuckles turn white. Saruhiko merely slides a plate toward Misaki, purposefully letting the plate hit the shorter boy's hand before taking the only seat left next to Misaki.
Misaki blinks down at the food, but doesn't look up.
The hairpin is slipping down again. Saruhiko doesn't bother to fix it this time.
"It's not like Misaki, either," he comments, making his tone as airy as possible. "Being so—how did you say it? Ah, yes—fucking sentimental."
Misaki tenses, looks up at him and glares.
"What do you know?" he grits out, and the immense hatred Saruhiko can feel from those four words makes him pause. There's fire in Misaki's eyes; hatred and anger and madness, vibrant and blinding in the way honesty is clear in every single gesture he makes, and Saruhiko gives himself a moment to marvel at how alive Misaki looks. "You don't care. You don't ever fucking care."
Accusations. So this is how Misaki deals with grief. Saruhiko twirls the chopsticks between his fingers, turning his attention back to his food, indifference in every single gesture he makes. "It can't be helped, can it? I'm different—doesn't Misaki know that better than anyone else?" drawling, prolonging out almost every syllable in lazy tones. Nothing betrays the dull ache in his chest; he can be a perfect actor when he wants to.
For a moment, Misaki shakes, fists drawn like he's about to attack Saruhiko. But then he blinks, and his fists go slack, and he slumps back onto the table; fury and energy both fast vanishing.
Saruhiko lets disappointment flashes on his face. The vibrant and alive Misaki is gone, now, and he hates how dull Misaki looks like this.
"Get the fuck out, Saru." Misaki murmurs. "I can't deal with you like this."
"Giving up already?" Saruhiko taunts deliberately, if only to see the heated glare thrown his way again. But Misaki keeps his head down, and Saruhiko's eyes flitted sideways just in time to catch his shoulders shaking hard.
He isn't prepared for the resounding pang in his chest.
"Misaki." He says, and watches Misaki digs the heels of his palms onto his eyes, trying to keep the clear droplets from falling down in vain. Watches as Misaki visibly forces himself to stop shaking, stop trembling, stop crying.
It's a sight that normally makes Saruhiko excited—Misaki's tears, Misaki's expressions, Misaki's struggle—and he surprises himself that this time it doesn't awakens the familiar exhilaration he's associated with Misaki for so long.
Instead, it multiplies the grief he's forcefully pushed down.
It wells up without warning, making him swallow hard, and Saruhiko draws his hands to fists when he sees the tips of his fingers tremble. A sense of loss he's so unfamiliar with tugs hard on his throat, clogging it completely, and there's sadness so tangible in his chest he doesn't think it would ever melt away. His eyes are dry, though, but the hairpin keeping his bangs off his eyes feel like it's a thousand times heavier.
So he leans sideways to bump his shoulder onto Misaki's.
And just like that, the dam breaks.
"He died in my arms." Misaki breathes out between heated kisses.
Saruhiko pauses minutely, before chasing Misaki's lips, coaxing regrets and anger out of Misaki's tongue and swallows them whole. Misaki arches into his touch—beautiful, beautiful Misaki, a vibrant streak of red across Saruhiko's dull world—and Saruhiko is glad this is something that hasn't changed between them.
He licks the trails of tears on Misaki's cheeks, follows them up to Misaki's eyes and presses harsh kisses on them. Misaki's fingers grabs his shirt, scrabbling at it like he's trying to tear it open, and Saruhiko trails kisses down his jaw, biting at the junction between an ear and neck where he can feel Misaki's pulse—strong and fast and irregular. Misaki sobs out a gut-wrenching sound, arches up and grinds their hips together in stuttering moves.
Saruhiko pants. He's forgotten about their supper. How'd they gotten into the couch, again?
"He's gone." Misaki's hands winds around his back, pulls Saruhiko down and buried his face on Saruhiko's shoulder. "He's gone. He's gone. He's gone."
Saruhiko closes his eyes, remembers Totsuka-san smiles, remembers Totsuka-san's playful gaze, remembers Totsuka-san's shared secrets. Remembers the fleeting sense of belonging to HOMRA, remembers the fleeting sense of having a home to come back to.
Come over anytime you want. Yata would be ecstatic.
He swallows and buries his face onto Misaki's hair, clutches him close, and lets Misaki holds on as he shatters into a thousand pieces.
"Have you ever felt someone's life," a shaky breath, a pause, a swallow. "Literally slipping off your fingers?"
"He felt cold. Like death is leeching whatever warmth left in his body. And I—I felt that, the warmth slipping off, slowly, slowly—" a sharp breath, agonizingly painful. "I tried clutching him closer, just to warm him up, maybe. Maybe I can. Kusanagi-san told me not to make him talk, but he fucking talked anyway."
"That sounds like Totsuka-san."
"It's fine, he said. It'll work out somehow, he said." A full body shudder. "He's sorry, he said. And just like that—just like that and he's just—gone."
"Gone." A thick sob. "Warmth entirely slipped off, and gone. Then he was just cold all over, wasn't moving, wasn't fucking breathing, and he fucking said that it'll fucking work out somehow and he's gone. He's gone."
"Yeah. Fucking gone. And down—down the street, it was—there was a goddamn clubhouse music, pounding like they're celebrating something down there, and that's—that's fucked up, they should be playing Totsuka-san's songs, they can't be celebrating when Totsuka-san's dead—"
"There was blood everywhere. On Totsuka-san. On his camera. On my fingers, my hands, my cheek, my shirt—" hands scrabbling at his chest. "It's still there, it's still there, all bloodied, Totsuka-san's blood—"
"It's not there anymore, Misaki."
"It doesn't disappear." A quiet whisper, like a child. "It doesn't. He's gone."
"You're gone, too."
"…Because I can't stay."
"But you're gone, goddammit."
Misaki wakes up with the worst hangover in his life.
"Fuck," he grunts out, because how much did he have to drink last night? If he comes in hungover like this, Kusanagi-san is going to kill him. He shifts, stiffens when the movement brings the pounding headache on full assault, and groans pathetically.
His windows are closed, but the curtain's wide open. It's still dark outside.
The pillow he's dozing against shifts, then a familiar light snore washes down on him, and Misaki's eyes widened.
Oh, he remembers, alright. Alcohol never makes him forget. And when it comes to the fucking Monkey, he never forgets.
He looks up, trying not to be distracted by the amount of naked skin he has under his hands, not to think about the sticky white fluid between their bodies. This isn't new—this used to be a daily occurrence back then, one that would make Totsuka-san throw them a knowing look, and Misaki lets his lips curve up in a sad smile for a moment.
But back then means the times when Totsuka-san was alive and Saruhiko was still on their side. There's no use thinking about back then; the Colorless King still remains at large, and Misaki is going to find him and kill him thrice for what he did to Totsuka-san. HOMRA demands revenge, and he's going to lead them to get said revenge, a thousand times over.
Saruhiko is still asleep.
Saruhiko, who brought him home and made him fucking eggs and toast for dinner last night. Who still tried to rile him up despite everything, who managed to coax regrets and anger out of him. Who touched him harshly and crushed him so tightly to his chest that it hurt, who humored him and listened and repeated his words before exhaustion claimed Misaki under sleep.
What the fuck is his life, Misaki wonders.
Saruhiko, forever, is a walking contradiction.
The hairpin is still there, keeping Saruhiko's bangs aside, and Misaki reaches up to touch the tiny pin. The surface is smooth, an elegant wine red that doesn't suit Saruhiko at all. It is hideous, obviously something Totsuka-san had picked up for a joke intended for Kusanagi-san, but ended up giving it to Saruhiko instead because that was the only thing he had to give, when Saruhiko left. A last desperate attempt to make sure Saruhiko would always have something to remember them by.
Totsuka-san loves making memories, and keeping them alive for everyone.
If only he'd remembered to keep himself in those memories for them, too.
His gaze flitted sideways and rested on Saruhiko's face, and Misaki gives himself a moment to take in the sight carefully. It's been years since he's able to watch Saruhiko is such close proximity, and there have been so many changes—little lines there weren't there before, faint scars Saruhiko has accumulated without Misaki by his side. His eyelashes are long, one of the things that never change, and they're—wet.
Was Saruhiko—was the Monkey—?
Misaki snorts at himself—what a fucking joke. Saruhiko doesn't cry. Fucking Monkey never cares enough to cry. It's probably because of sleep; tears don't always come out because you're crying, right?
Nevertheless, the Monkey is warm and the couch is comfortable, and he has a freaking headache pounding on his skull. He's not in the mood to over think things, much less about a Traitor, no matter how much he's probably fallen in love for him. Misaki fucking hates himself sometimes.
"Fucking idiots who know nothing but leaving…"
Warmth and the sense of security lulls him back to sleep, and when he feels the arms around him tightens and a kiss pressing on top of his head, Misaki thinks he's dreaming.