Uruha focused his coffee-brown eyes at Io's back. Two years did pass. Those two years, the cold-wall, apathetic, narcistic young man have become someone else. Uruha didn't know if it was for the better that Io became like this. As he slowly inhaled the cold air surrounding them, he looked down.
"There are many kinds of that so called love or whatever people call it..." Uruha thought. "...funny I learned it in rehab."
Sucking his breath, Uruha gently tugged at Io's arm, pulling the latter to face him. The face Uruha saw was no less than attractive. Was the man called Ijuuin blind or something? That was Uruha's thoughts as he removed his own coat. It wasn't all that bad since he was layered with his outrageous clothing.
"Sorry, I am the guy who don't bring handkerchiefs and shit, you know that," Uruha mumbled, using the sleeves of his coat to actually wipe off the dirt and tears off Io's red face.
"What are you going to do idiot? Look for him? You aren't a detective," Uruha continued, gently dabbing at Io's cheeks. "Anyway, don't bother yourself too much. This has nothing to do with you, with me, with us. Leave it."
Io looked away as he tried to stop Uruha from treating him like a baby. "I want to know where he is," he replied sternly.
"Tsk..." Uruha grabbed Io's chin, making the latter more steady. "I'm not yet done here okay? Stay still. To actually cry over like this...Ishi...don't be too soft now."
"Who's becoming soft you bastard..."
"What, you want to save this Misaki yourself to become a hero in that Ijuuin's eyes? Plain stupid..."
Silently, Uruha kept on patting Io's face dry. "Yeah...I learned in rehab that there are those who endure everything without saying anything about their feelings."
"You've grown taller, haven't you?" Uruha commented more to himself. Io just stood there, watching Uruha with observing eyes. "There are those who force themselves to the one they want. And there are those who try their best to make the one they like, like them back. I never thought Ishi's this type," Uruha inwardly smirked.
Uruha watched Io appreciatively once he finished his task. "So, what now?"
"Call it that way, me wanting to be a freaking hero...but I don't want to just sit around and wait for news."
Uruha looked around the dim surroundings. He did so while thinking. This time smiling the haughty kind, he took hold of Io's hand and firmly held it. Not even letting the other the time to protest, he had dragged Io back to his car.
"And sadly and as pathetic as it may sound..." Uruha gripped Io's hand tighter as he opened the door to the passenger seat for his companion. "There are those who'd push the one they like to others away, since that would make their loved one happier. Damn, that's me."
"I don't know what good this will bring us, but we could drive around and do our own searching at least..."
Both inside the car, Uruha glanced at Io checking if he was wearing a seatbelt. At least, Io was still in his proper mind to do it on his own. Giving a rather excited 'Okay', Uruha expertly made the car roar into life. The angry hiss of the engine filled the dark, empty carnival. It's head lights and tail lights at the back blasting a full of energy light. In a map of darkness, they became very vivid.
"Uruha," Io started, his eyes at the stirring wheel. "You're the suspect until this isn't cleared out...and I am the good-old accomplice...we're criminals."
Uruha laughed. "God, where did that come from? We got nothing to do with this...there's nothing to be afraid about."
The one on the driver's seat was ready driving away. He had to stop himself though when his phone rang harshly. Uruha reached to his pocket, lazily brought the phone against his ear.
"What dude? Are you inlove with me? I don't do stuff anymore..."
The bored look on Uruha's face by the second grew more and more intense. More and more serious.
"Huh? What are you talking about?" Uruha asked in low voice. His brown eyes that were looking at the front found their way at Io's curious orbs. "Who?"
All so suddenly, Uruha slumped down to his steering wheel, forehead grazing the tattered leather and giggling like he had gone crazy.
"Why?" Io asked. He had everything in the world not to feel good about that call.
"Sorry Ishi..." Uruha mumbled, chuckling as if everything was just a joke. "I guess...I'm not really clean with that Misaki's disappearance..."
With abrupt movements, Uruha drove and pressed on the accelarator. His throttling ability was such that he probably was driving even in his sleep. It was smooth. However, that was the end of Uruha's fluid control. He was uncontrollable in real life, he's insane on the road.
His speed past against the speed limit, he didn't care. The residential road was clear. The screeching sound of the tires caused some of the people having dinner glance up and feel nervous.
Uruha was driving at the speed he normally does during a race. Perhaps even faster. Speeding like lightning, with the buildings fastly disappearing to a distance, it was all too a miracle they haven't crashed into a car, to someone, or to a wall yet.
"U-ruha...?" Io mumbled, hands tightly clutching his seatbelt. His own heart started thumping violently in his chest. "What are you doing?"
Uruha looked at Io's direction. Winking, he answered, "Car racing."
The car was running too fast. Too fast that Io could just close his eyes tightly.
It swerved strongly, almost going to the wrong lane where cars were coming from the opposite direction. Io knew how trashy Uruha drives. But this was worse. They kept on increasing on speed as if they were in a sudden-death, do-or-die race of a life time.
"URUHA! We're going to crash like this! What the hell?!" Io opened one eye. A nearing SUV was blasting its own horn as they seemed to be colliding in a matter of few seconds. Io shut his eyes. As he did, he felt his body move to the left and the right, and towards the front as if his entire being wanted to get out of the security of his seatbelts. The law of Inertia, taking on Io, Uruha must have beem immune to it already, was painful.
Moment of extreme silence was deafening. As if everything went in slow motion, Io held his breath.
"Whew...that was close..." Uruha announced, after successfully avoiding the SUV that was left stuck in the road with its driver screaming curses directed at Uruha. "You okay?"
Io opened his eyes. They were still in one piece. Thank God.
"Fuck you Uruha, are you planning to kill us both?!" Io shouted. "Stop this car right this instant!"
"No can do..." Uruha whispered, glancing to his rearview mirror. "Not yet..."
Io caught that unease in Uruha's eyes as the man kept looking at the front and back alternatingly. With his brows creasing deeply, sweat from nervousness falling down to his neck, Io tried to shift from his seat craning his neck to look behind them.
Io gulped. His pupils almost dilating. "P-police? We're...being chased by police?"
"Well, we will be soon with this reckless driving. But I wish they are the police," Uruha countered. "They aren't."
"I don't understand..." Io sat back tiredly on his seat. "I don't...what..."
Io thought that they were slowing down finally. To his surprise, Uruha added more to the point that Io could no longer distinguish what he was seeing outside. He could only grab on to his seat tightly, wishing for a longer life time.
"I'm going to say this quickly so listen closely..." Uruha hissed, harshly turning a left turn all too suddenly Io bit hard on his bottom lip. Feeling that it was finally okay to open up to the real time happening in his surroundings, Io glared at his crazy driver.
"What is it?!"
The color of the greenery of Summer in Io's eyes were distorted by the lights of the night. Red, yellow, blue, they all played on Io's wide-opened orbs as he watched Uruha's lips form words that sounded alien. Each moment that they were running on the speed of light, words as heavy as boulders came falling on Io's lap, pushing him even more in a hole.
When Uruha finished, Io was a blank sheet of paper.
"...that's how it is..."
Uruha narrowed his eyes at the front. With their speed, without warning, Uruha slammed on the brakes. If Io wasn't wearing a seatbelt, he'd surely break his skull from slamming to the windshield.
"Argh..." Io raised a hand to his head. His mind swirling from the whirlwind ride he wanted to puke.
The brunette was busy calming the insides of his brain together with his protesting empty stomach. He wanted to puke but there wasn't anything actually to throw up. As Io crouched on the passenger seat coughing, he heard the sound of the door locks being released.
"Ishi, hurry get out."
With blurry vision, Io looked up to Uruha who was still heavily smiling. As if the man had the best time of his life racing like stupid in the national highway.
"What I told you...tell them..." Uruha nodded to where he had parked the car. "Just run past through this park and you'd reach your man's building."
"I'll play some more..." Uruha said, glancing behind where heavy headlights from afar started blinking. They started getting bigger and faster and the sound of angry tires hissing in the air as well sent the hair on Io's neck stand on end.
The moment Io found himself standing on his two feet, wobbly but much better to be standing on still ground than being tossed in the car, Io watched Uruha close the door hurriedly, pulling the car window down.
"Err...Ishi...don't do anything stupid," Uruha warned. "You don't need to be a hero for you to be loved back, okay? Well...see yah."
"And..." Uruha started ruffling his hair as if embarassed. "...I'm sorry for creating such a mess...Ishi."
"Wait! Just come with me!"
"No, you're hot in their eyes... this way, I'm can take them far, buying you guys more time."
Io glanced at the road ahead. There pursuers getting close. He started stepping back with his eyes fixed at Uruha's smiling ones.
"Ishi...I...you know...I still..." "My three years of rehab shortened to two because I wanted to come back clean for you..."
"I'm already too late I guess..."
"Never mind..." Uruha laughed. "Go run! Goodluck..."
Uruha seemed to be about to say something, but he ended up smiling with a playful frown.
"How come you weren't this cute when we're going out?"
Io scowled. "I changed my mind! Go die!"
Uruha rolled the windows up laughing, securing him with the tinted glass away from Io's gaze. His car roared heavily into life and speeded off. The puff of white smoke and dust as it screeched off into the night blurred Io's sight.
Uruha shook his head glancing at the rearview mirror where Io had disappeared already. As he increased on speed, the rearview mirror showed a side of his lips curling upwards in mockery.
"Although I am happy they made a mistake...how could they take that plain looking kid for Ishi...ridiculous..."
"I asked that Misaki for the way even though I am not really lost..."
At first Io wasn't feeling it. However, every step he made into the cold night made him shiver completely to every nerve in his body. His footsteps drowned by the somehow wet ground, the flickering lights of the skycrapers not really far from him.
He had to squint to see clearly. Uruha did choose a place where no one would notice him easily, but he himself couldn't see clearly where he was walking on. Bushy park, silent night, who knew they were having these kind of circumstances when they should be in the comforts of their homes and heaters?
"I just want to see upclose why you're having such a hardtime winning that Ijuuin. Well the kid's too kind. I can't look at him as if I am a devil burning beside him," Uruha laughed. "You definitely lose on that aspect. Ah don't worry, I love little devils like yourself..."
Io stopped, clutching his chest. Eyes shut he had to rest for a few minutes. His throat hurt, his eyes watery. That pencil, cylinder building that became his second home seemed to be very close but he just couldn't seem to get past through the park. He was that tired and shocked and drained.
"I got a bit friendly, got a bit touchy and showed my stuff in the trunk. He looked awkward, but he did not say anything offensive with my goth stuff and all...nice kid...and then that call earlier..."
The brunette left his spot and continued on. He finally could hear once more the sound of cars running on the road. It was like he came from a wormhole and finally found his way back to the bright civilization.
"You know I used to be addicted with alcohol and well...involved with shitty dealings...Ishi, you know this better than anyone else that seeking second chances aren't too easy...those people I had dealings with...they weren't too happy about me..."
Io gritted his teeth. Yeah, he understood that perfectly. He wiped his face with the back of his arm, gulping for air without stopping his walk.
"I guess they heard I got out from rehab, planned on getting square with me...by hurting apparently someone close to me...but my family is somewhere halfway across the globe...so that leaves them my partner...well I am single now," Uruha smiled, somehow bitterly. "... but guess who my partner was two years ago?"
The teen almost smirked despite his appearance and reached the sidewalk. "That was me of course..."
"Damn morons thought that the guy who was with me in the carpark earlier was you. Hell those bastards only know heavy metals. They don't know anything about Sonate and who's who..."
"Takahashi Misaki..." Io murmured. "I guess I am tied with you in the worst way possible. Always getting into trouble because of me..."
"I wouldn't be surprised that they'd realized they got the wrong guy. So they've been looking out for me and thus that's why we're being chased now. They left that shrimp at a condemned building. We can never be too sure though to go straight there, they probably left a look out..."
Io stood before the pedestrian lane, his eyes at Ijuuin's building entrance. When he glanced up, the eightfloor's light were all on. A sign that people were still there. Ijuuin could still be there.
As the cars continued flowing before Io, with the traffic lights still on red, Io tried to warm up by hugging himself.
"Ijuuin'd go crazy that Misaki's kidnapped because of me...and then..." Io started smiling alone as if what he was trying to conclude there was a funny thing. "...Akihiko-san is going to be mad at me because of this too..." Io forcefully chuckled. "You're right Uruha...it's ridiculous..."
"They're keeping him at..."
Io drew a deep breath, making sure he wouldn't forget the place. When the traffic lights gave him the go to cross, Io ran. He ran towards the building. He ran and went straight to the eightfloor, choosing to use the stairs instead of running to building staffs in the elevator.
He couldn't very well notice anymore if what he was hearing was his boots against the steps or his heart against his ribs echoing into his ears. As he gave his best to run up the stairs and dial number after number, Io started feeling frustrated.
Ijuuin wouldn't answer. Fuji, Minase and even Usami Akihiko weren't answering.
The teen sucked his breath in, not wanting to get too emotional at this point. However, there's this small voice in him saying out of his few trusted contacts in his phone, no one was picking up for him. It wasn't a pleasant feeling at all. It made him feel so much alone.
He slowed down. The sign '8' was plastered on the wall near a steal door. Perhaps adrenaline rush was working so well in him. Despite running upstairs, his knees weren't that aching.
Io started pressing on his touchscreen keyboard while catching on his breath. The droplets of his sweat leaving a trail behind him. If people weren't answering. He could still send them mails. He chose to send the mail to Usami Akihiko.
"Shit...damn it..." Io grumbled. "Come on..."
He had to press the 'back' key so many times for his fingers were typing different characters that weren't to his intentions. He normally could type with his eyes closed. This time even with staring hard he still made mistakes.
"Please look into this..." Io whispered, looking at the icon of an envelope with wings as his mail was being sent. "...don't ignore this because it's from me..."
"The police are already looking out for Sonate's grand winner Takahashi Misaki. They aren't relaying information with the media at this point because of the sensitivity of the disappearance. Until now, the only thing we know is that the police are pursuing a guy they won't be naming yet. As for the time being, rumors say that the kidnapping incident was plotted by someone close to Takahashi himself..."
The breakroom was filled with Ijuuin's staff. The ladies, the not so young ladies, the males and even the men incharged of maintaining the area have their eyes fixed on the huge LCD screen by the wall. They have cups of coffee, chewing cookies or gums. It was irking that some of them were no more than concerned. It was like they were watching a juicy movie.
"Usami Akihiko-san has his lips shut about this, however it's obvious that he'd not let the involved off very easily..." the voice of the news anchor faded, and the next view shown was that Takahashi Misaki's overwhelming win in the Sonate holding his trophy happily. A few shots of him and Usami Akihiko hugging each other. The currently most popular couple has managed yet to stir the interest and attention of the whole nation again.
"What the..." a woman mumbled as she checked her phone. "The social media is getting pumped up with this...they have created this poll who they think 'plotted' that kid's disappearance..."
"Eh really?" another chimed in, swallowing her cookie. "That fast?"
"Yeah..." the first woman said, showing the screen of her phone. "Isn't this a bit too much? They're accusing people with no base whatsoever. Freedom of speech is scary and internet is a monster at times like this..."
"Wait...Io's one of the choices?"
"Well...he's a favorite villain of the many right? When Takahashi Misaki's fan base grew, Io's haters grew in number too. It's like the law of relativity isn't it?"
A male still dressed in his cleaning uniform cut in. "That's annoying...Well, Io isn't the most approachable guy...but he has gotten much open the past days...he started greeting the guard at the entrance goodmorning even... "
A woman with thick eyeglasses gave a loud sigh. "That's called opportunistic writing. They make up their own stories about someone...something that could stir people, and because people are interested, they hit on it. Then that would give too much money for the advertisers and the site owners. That's just a scheme taking use of the opportunity."
"Io's image is what they're breaking with that though...who on earth even came up with that idea?"
No one knew. But it could probably be one of the people present outside the room where Ijuuin had been harassing Io a few hours ago. The term jealousy was the strongest point. From then on, everyone could make their own speculations.
"Anyway...did you hear earlier? Ijuuin-san's office sounded like there's an earthquake in it..."
Io who was outside listening silently closed his eyes. He waited outside that room to see whether his mail have already stirred the situation differently. Seeing as the police seemed to be still clueless, maybe Usami still hasn't read his mail earlier. He walked away.
In the next room that Io passed by, he saw Minase and Fuji sitting at both ends of a long brown sofa. Minase was playing with his pen. Fuji was nonstop scrolling on his tablet.
"Fuji-san...why does Ijuuin-sensei worry too much about Takahashi-kun?"
Fuji's forefinger stopped midair. He glanced at Minase's blonde hair and sighed in resignation.
"You don't really know?"
Minase smiled a bit. "I think I know... but I don't want to believe it?"
"Well, whatever you're thinking, that's it."
Minase sighed. "So...I'm really surrounded by...men who likes men?" the blonde couldn't say the last outloud. His image of Ijuuin drastically changed. Though the respect didn't change, it was something one wouldn't be able to clear off from their heads in a short span of time.
Fuji crossed his legs when he heard the landline phone ringing. He acted as if he didn't hear anything. "Yeah...we're surrounded by idiots."
"I feel bad for Io though..." Minase mumbled, slightly sliding off the sofa. "Ijuuin-sensei's words were too heavy even for me..."
"Yeah...it's the same as 'it would have been better if you're the one that went missing' kind of thing. I'm sure Ijuuin realized it by now though..." Fuji thought, irritated just remembering what happened earlier.
Fuji looked to the ceiling, enumerating to himself the delays and the possible outcomes of this to the Sonate and he could see Trillions of Yen flunking somewhere down the drain. If played properly though, they'd be having the opposite outcome and would be swimming in it.
He gave a sigh and turned at Minase for a completely different reason.
"Ijuuin's a complicated guy who you could never really read. Once you think you already know him, you'd find yourself at a loss once again. Suffice to say because of that...relationships were out of the question. At least until he met Takahashi..."
"I don't want to continue talking about other's life...but the reason Ijuuin's like that, is because Takahashi is probably his first love, unrequitted at that. He never really gets attached that deeply but when he does, he's stupid and couldn't let go easily..."
Fuji closed his eyes and curled into a semi-ball on his corner of the sofa. "Damn it, I wonder how much he broke with his rampage in his office? This is really going to be a long night..."
A shadow passed by the door without the people in that room noticing it. The brunette keeping lowprofile left the rest of what Fuji said to his heart as he slowly moved away.
"First love...Fuji-san says..."
Alone in the darkening hallway pointing to Ijuuin's office, the shaking shadow paused by the door. Lifeless eyes peered into the glass panel.
Inside Ijuuin's office was dark. The only source of light was the huge windows where the lights of other buildings can pass through. Ijuuin Kyo was drowned in the shadows of his swivel chair. Whether he was awake or not, no one could actually tell. The only sure thing was the cold silence in it.
"I'm coming in..." Io softly announced, leaving the door slightly ajar so he could go out with ease later.
He had to look at the windows first. How beautiful the night view was from this spot it made him fall in a short trance. Everything seemed to sparkle. Yet Ijuuin was there in the dark part of the room not moving at all.
Standing still near the door, Io looked towards Ijuuin's face observing the man with gentle eyes. Ijuuin must have tired out his self from worrying about Misaki. It could be tiring more for Ijuuin who could just stay aside watching from the sidelines. Even if he wanted to help, he should know were his position lies. Misaki has a lover after all. Unlike Usami who could blow his anger or frustrations more openly, Ijuuin had to swallow it all inside.
Perhaps Ijuuin was so frustrated that the spacious room of his office which always was untidy have become worse this time.
Perhaps Ijuuin had thrown the low table over. The way it was upside down, losing a foot at the corner, there was no other explanation for it.
Perhaps Ijuuin had trampled on his own coat over and over on the floor. It was disheveled in the middle, as if a centerpiece of that room. Totally, it represented how possibly could be Ijuuin inside; In turmoil.
And perhaps Ijuuin had tried hitting the walls as well. For his knuckles, despite the darkness, were red and sore.
Io wandered his own tired eyes from Ijuuin's feet to the man's face. He closed the gap between them and walked over.
Ijuuin was sleeping on the chair while his arms were crossed against his chest. His long legs stretched out. His face a picture of anxiety.
Could love really be like that? You get to be set aside, you get ignored, you get deeply hurt, yet that four letter word still remains dominant?
Maybe. Wasn't that why Ijuuin still holds on to Misaki despite it being futile?
"We're very similar...it's funny..."
The teen whose hair had the color of mud in the darkness leaned forward.
"You're so worried that you're drained aren't you?" Io softly asked, smiling very faintly to the point that it seemed like an illusion. "Misaki's alright, he's going to be...if no one's checking what I've said...I'd check it myself..."
Io wanted to at least feel Ijuuin's face. But afraid to wake the man, he glued his hands to his sides.
Outside the frosty windows, almost translucent snow came falling down. It glowed and silently reached the ground below, melting into the hard surface.
The brunette stayed that way for minutes. He actually never had to experience looking Ijuuin this close aside from that time when Ijuuin was having a fever. Truth was he wanted so much more than just staring at Ijuuin. Ijuuin though wouldn't let him.
This was his chance.
Io closed his eyes and brought his face closer. He moved delicately to meet the man unguardedly wasted from worry. The manner so cautious and light like it wasn't happening at all.
It was already so close. Io's chapped lips from staying so long outside and Ijuuin's soft-looking ones. Just a breath away. A distance where one could feel the steady flow of warm breath coming from each other's mouths. Just a distance that could almost no longer be seen.
But a distance was still a distance. There's still a centimeter space between them. It remained there. Io remained there.
"I know my position clearly now and even if I am always the villain in everyone's eyes...I tried my best to change you know...Even if I'm like this...I get my hopes up...And I get hurt too..."
It was a closed room, away from external factors. Yet sparkling dews fell and landed on Ijuuin's arm that would soon dry away with no trace.
"I'm giving up...," Io murmured with just the sound of his breath. "I'm giving up on you...Kyo-san."
chapter end notes:
First of all...thanks for the people who expressed their hate for Io at first, but are now rooting for him as I am very much grateful that you guys opened up your heart to him!XD
I am going to be very busy the next coming days...it was a miracle i was able to pitch this in. i'd try to update asapXD.
also, an awesome person offered to draw UruhaXD DrawBee-san! I am excited for thisXD
i'm listening to Keep Holding On by Avril Lavigne while writing this. My song for Io for this chapter. Maybe because the lyrics 'there's no other way when it comes to the truth' is so applicable to Io and probably for Ijuuin to knock off from his stupidity. XD)
for the reviewers that i can't send a reply to:
Bystander: What did i do to your heart?XD
Jaiga: Don't worry..i love creepy things so its perfectly fine!
I'm very glad that you've come to like Io along the way!XD
Aha, i perfectly understand your point. dont worry. i don't like that to happen
Misaki...he's probably tied i like that conclusion of yours and have actually thought about it! we'll see! Thanks a lot!
Life 4 Love:
I'm sorry. I am bad ne for putting Io through so much. but i've done this to misaki too...hahaha and he's a lot stronger in character compared to Misaki...i don't know, even i don't know what's going to happen
yeah/pray for Io!XD
Buwahahaha/Thanks a lot for confirming i am a saddist..(lol that makes me sound a creep) in this chapter i guess i have given you the idea where misaki is...his situation though...hmmm...later perhapsXD?
Thank you very much and I agree with you. But I guess...it's not going to be happening that soonXD
Im glad i was able to keep you entertained for a week. OmG you took a week to finish and reach the current chapter?! ahaha..i guess 60 something and more chapters is already long...i surprise myself as well.
Thanks so much that you find the sequences fine. I am happy to hear from you.!XD