DISCLAIMER:  Standard disclaimers apply to entire fanfic (so you only have to read this once ^.~)!

AUTHOR'S NOTES:  Hey y'all!  I'm back with ANOTHER fanfic, but I'm really excited about this one.  It's MARS!!!  Be happy all you die-hard fans!  I began writing this after reading only 3 volumes, so some of my information may be inaccurate to the complete story. ;_; It's Alternate Universe, though, so maybe it won't be so noticeable.  The first three pages are without dialogue because it's a sort of perception piece.  Just get past that and I promise that it will get more interesting.  Happy reading, please enjoy and review!

What Wasn't Meant to Be by Sushifishie

Chapter One: Pure Luck

So, it's finally the last day of junior high, thought Sei as he passed through melancholy groups of children, sad to leave each other as they went on to different high schools.  But Sei wasn't sad at all; his best friend was moving onto high school with him.  Their promise was to be together forever, and Sei felt that the promise meant much more than any other.

Another thought occurred to him soon after the first.  His friend might not be going with him to his new school.  Wanting to race motorcycles instead, his friend was abandoning him.  Not only his friend, but his mother and father, too, had given up on him.  His mother died when he was still young, leaving him with his father.  But that man had sent him and his friend to Los Angeles to live with his aunt.  Now that his friend was leaving him, also, it was all too much.

Sei didn't know what he would do if Rei really left him.  He might just stop, if that were at all possible.  If you heard that your best friend was leaving you because he would rather work than spend time with you, how might you feel?  I just wish that he would change his mind! he hoped, grabbing the books from his locker.  The blue locker wasn't particularly messy, not counting all his art materials, but it could still use a good cleaning.  Do I ever even use some of this junk?

Seeing on his watch that he had ten minutes until lunch, he decided to do a little bit of cleaning.  First he took all of his books off the top shelf and piled them next to his feet.  He removed his other essentials, namely folders, notebooks, and his pencil case.  Soon, the trash was full with his excess papers and used up art supplies.  The locker was now squeaky clean, and it was hard to believe that it was ever dirty.

Sei plodded to the lunch room, still thinking about Rei's motorcycles.  Rei liked the bikes as much as he liked art, but they were taking over Rei's life.  He was getting somewhat reckless, and it would be the death of him yet.  He got in the lunch line and bought himself a sub.  Sitting down at his favorite table in the corner, he glanced around the room.

Sitting with a group of friends was Rei.  They were all laughing at something, not caring what they sounded like to other people.  Sei admired that about them.  He always wished that he could be as aloof as they were, but every time he tried, he got too self conscious.  Always feeling like someone was staring at him, judging his every move, he couldn't manage to be like them.

They laughed about something again, and some girls from the next table started yelling at them to shut-up.  Rei got out of his seat and wrapped his arm around one of their shoulders.  Suddenly, he was smearing mashed potatoes in her face, laughing all the way.  Feeling kind of bad for the girl, Sei almost got out of his seat.  But, then, he remembered that the girl was surrounded by her friends.  They were friends who always sat with her at lunch; friends who always stuck up for her.  Those kinds of people would never leave their best friend, and twin, all alone so that they could pursue a career in motorcycle racing.

The rest of the day went by in a blur, similar to all other days.  That was besides the fact that all the girls were acting weepy and all the boys, macho, about the last day of school.  His remaining classes were mostly made of final tests and grade updates.  Everyone was talking to one another, saying their goodbyes, and Sei felt somewhat left out.  Knowing that he had Rei, he never really bothered to make any new friends in school, and the years just crept up on him.  Now that he was leaving, he had no one to say goodbye to.

He trudged to his last event of school, the art club.  They met in an ill-lit room because the club didn't have enough members to use a better room.  Art wasn't a very popular thing to do, and seven members wasn't a very impressive number.  The funding went to basketball and swimming, clubs that had a lot of interest.  But money wasn't needed for art, after all, everyone's heard of a starving artist.  Right?

His current project was sitting on one of the easels, covered in a sheet to protect it from the dust.  Sei pulled off the cover to reveal a beautiful, light sketch of a wonderful woman.  Hello, Mom, said Sei to himself.  The painting was of his mother, and was an unbelievable work in progress.  It was a symbol of all the love he still had for his mother, and he planned on giving it to Rei.

Sei pulled out his paints, ready to put on the first layer of color.  It would have to be perfect; he couldn't afford to make mistakes.  He started with the lightest color, her fair skin.  He continued on to her hair and shading.  By the time he got to her eyes, he was soaring.  It was turning out just as he thought it would, without many mistakes.  He put in the iris and the pupil, and finally began to outline her eyes.  With thin, light strokes, he swept on the color, and made her look beautiful... for about a second.

The next thing he knew, her eyes started dripping.  Black paint cascaded down her face, trickled over her chin, and fell off the canvas.  Why did it happen this way, why?  Not that it mattered anyway.  Just like everyone else he'd ever loved, she had left him, too.  His father, his mother, and now Rei, all had left him, abandoned him.  There wasn't anyone left who would mind if he died.  Imagine no one acknowledging your existence, not even realizing that you're alive.  Is there really any reason to live in a situation like that?

He continued to stare at his mother's face, expressionless.  Sei picked up his paintbrush and dipped in again into the black paint.  Before he knew it, his mother's face was no more.  It was, instead, palled in a black smear of paint.  He threw his paintbrush down, and ran out of the room, his countenance strangely calm.  Throwing open doors, he headed for the roof.

* * *

Rei hummed as he walked through the halls to the school gate, the designated spot where he and Sei always met after school.  The last day hadn't really affected him all that much.  His goodbyes were brief; he wasn't that close to anyone in particular.  He mostly just hung around a large group of guys who tended to have the same interests as him.

The only person he was really that close to was Sei, and he seemed to be drifting lately.  It all started as soon as he joked about racing motorcycles instead of going to high school.  It was just a joke though; there was no way his old man would ever let him drop out of school!  Not when a wonderful life of office jobs and desk work was left to fulfill!  Rei hated the idea of sitting at a desk all day.  That kind of job was made for weak people, people who didn't have any guts or sense of adventure in them.  How could anyone stand to live like that?  Maybe Sei could, but certainly not him!  Motorcycles were what he was born for, and motorcycles were what he was going to do.

But there was still Sei.  He apparently had some hard feelings about Rei's joke, and felt... abandoned maybe?  That was impossible, though.  Rei had made a promise to his twin that they would be together forever, and although lately he was branching out, he would never leave his brother.  But, he could understand how Sei might be feeling.  How would he feel if Sei were going to leave him?  He might just want to die; after all... his only close friend was his twin.

Rei glanced around for any sign of his best friend, so that they could walk home together, but there was no sign of him.  Where could he possibly be?  Maybe he should go to the art room, and see what's keeping his brother?  Trudging up the flights of stairs, he headed for that dark little art room that his brother complained about so often.  He hadn't been there in a long time, and he didn't really want to take the time to visit right now.

Entering the scene, he could see almost instantly that Sei was no longer there.  His easel was set up and his paints were left out, uncovered and drying out.  It was very unlike him to be so untidy with his art supplies; not only were they expensive, but that was also very wasteful and his brother was a little bit of an environmentalist.

Rei stepped over to the canvas that his brother was working on.  His eyes came upon a wonderful sketch of a woman all too familiar to him, but her face was defiled by an enormous black splotch.  It was a beautiful picture, and may still be able to be saved, if it were done carefully.  Even he could see that; but where was the artist?

"Does anyone know where Sei Kashino is?" he questioned with a somewhat concerned stance.

"Nope," answered a girl from behind her sculpture.  "I saw him kinda look at his canvas for a long time then paint really messily on it.  Then he left with a completely blank expression, like the soul had been sucked out of him or something.  I think he went that way," pointed the girl.

"Thanks a lot!" Rei bowed as he ran from the room.  The girl blushed as he blew her a kiss through the window next to the door, still running.

Figuring out where Sei went wasn't too hard of an ordeal to this well informed young man.  He remembered talking to his brother at a sleepover party they'd had for their tenth birthday.  As they were falling asleep, they talked about what chics they thought were hot, what they wished for most in the world, and the place that they'd always wanted to go to.  Some kids had said Los Angeles, others said Australia, but Sei had told them he'd wanted to go to the roof.  He was scared of high places, and only went on the roof during drills.  It amazed Rei that his brother was so cowardly, but he wanted to go.

A few days after the party, Rei brought that up, and Sei had said that he was only kidding, and he really didn't want to go on the roof.  But the twin's intuition told him that Sei was only scared.  Rei made Sei go to the roof anyway, holding his hand as they stepped out onto the breezy height.  Soon, Sei was laughing and running around with his arms wide open, taking in the view.  Rei was given many thanks for this wonderful sight, and soon, it turned into Sei's favorite place to be.

He yanked open the door to the roof, and saw Sei standing on the edge, poised to jump.

"Sei!" he yelled to his brother.  "We have to go home now!"  He walked over, and in a gentler voice added, "Please, come home with me.  I don't know why you're so angry, but please, just take my hand and come back!" he reached out.

After taking one sad, glance back at his brother, Sei stepped off the cold roof, leaving his scarf floating behind him.  Rei stared in disbelief and shock for what seemed like a lifetime.  Then he ran down to the spot where his twin had landed.

There, in front of his and many others' eyes, was the face of his dead brother.  He stood there and stared at his brother, not quite comprehending what was going on.  It was all going by so fast.  First, he was enjoying his last day of junior high before his high school life began.  Next thing he knew, his brother was mentally screwed and suicidal.  How did it come to this?  Was his life really that bad until now, that he had to jump to escape from it all?  Wide-eyed, Rei stared at his twin, harder than before.  There were secrets held within this mind, and he just had to get them out.  He came to his senses as soon as the paramedics arrived.

"Paramedics, coming through," a woman dressed in white yelled.  "Spectators, clear the scene!" She looked at Rei, who was still standing by his brother, even after her urgent warning.  "Please move aside!" she yelled at him.  "We're seeing if we can save your brother," she added, in a slightly less harsh voice.

Rei took a few steps back, which seemed to be enough for the woman, because she got off of his case.  He watched as paramedics checked for signs of life in his neck.  "He can still make it!" he heard someone shout.  Before he knew it, Rei was finally letting out a deep sigh that he'd been holding in for who knows how long.  But all the pent up energy finally had gotten to his head, because before you can say sleeping, he was passed out on the concrete.

* * *

Waking up to white walls and the smell of disinfectant could only mean one obvious thing to Rei; he was in a hospital.  He sat in a green leather chair by a bed filled by his twin.  Seeing that he wasn't on a breathalyzer, Rei let out a sigh of relief.  He checked his brother for any serious damage, but he didn't find any besides some swelling.  Knowing this, he collapsed back into the chair, without even realizing that he had been standing up.

Staring all around, he began to take in his surroundings.  It was a typical hospital room, a double without anyone currently on the other side of the curtain (which was forest green).   There was a table to go over Sei when he wanted to eat, and a bedside table which held a very tempting remote for the television hanging in the corner.  Standing in the doorway was a very hot nurse, looking over her clipboard with an expression not to be tampered with.  He shouldn't be picking up girls while his brother was in the hospital.  In actuality, he was just too young for her.

Rei got back to the matter at hand; his brother's welfare.  Was he hurt very badly?  What pushed him over the edge?  How did this happen?  He asked the nurse these various questions and she answered, "First, he has a concussion, but that will get better over some time.  He won't be able to play sports anymore, because it would be very serious if he got hurt again.  Second, we've talked to your father about enrolling both of you in counseling.  It could help you vent, and maybe keep Sei healthy.  Third, he obviously jumped off a building.  We're not quite sure just how he landed so as not to hurt himself worse than he was.  I suppose that it was just pure luck!"

"Thanks for your help," he said, bowing to the nurse as she checked temperature and blood pressure of the patient.  "How long do you think it will be until he'll be released?"

The nurse thought about this for a while, and then responded, "I'd guess he'll be out some time in the next few weeks; definitely by the time school starts again for you two.  High school, I'm guessing?"

"Yeah," Rei nodded with a smile.  As she walked away, he bowed again, "Thank you!"

He took a short nap, and woke up to a noise in the room.  Looking around, he found out that it was just Sei retching into a pail next to his bed.  Rei stood up and patted his twin on the back, making him notice his presence.  He was done throwing up soon, and Rei called the nurse to come clean out the bucket.  The thing about nurses is that you couldn't possibly hate them.  They do a wonderful job of keeping the doctors moving straight and helping the patients with everything, no matter how disgusting.  Sei had an undying respect for nurses, and thanked her when she came in.

"Oh, it's fine!" she replied with a bright smile.  "It's my job!"  She cleaned the pail and put it next to his bedside again, just in case.  Then, she left the room again.

Sei looked down at his hands, which were fiddling with the edge of the sheet.  His expression was an odd mixture of stern and grim, not really knowing what emotion to feel.  What could he say to this person who drove him to try to kill himself?  He should have been dead by now, but instead, was given this opportunity to make things right, and he knew that Rei would try to do so.  He would try to talk him out of this "nonsense" or something like that, then give him a big hug and tell him that it was okay, because he was the weaker of the two.

Instead of what Sei thought, Rei yelled, "What the hell were you thinking?  Scaring everyone like that, jumping off of buildings, why would you do something like that?  Did you think that it would only affect you?  Did you think that no one would care?" Rei asked, breaking into sobs.  "Well guess what Sei, you were wrong.  You ruined my last day of school, and almost my life.  What would I have done if you died, huh?  Where would that leave me?"

Silently, Sei reached out his arms, and wrapped them around Rei's neck.  "I'm sorry," he said, crying, too.

They sat like that for awhile, just holding each other in a tight embrace.  To some, it may have been odd, to see two brothers so close to one another.  But, looking deeper, they would see that it was not just brotherly love, but a connection between best friends.

They heard a clatter and turned to see an embarrassed Kyoko pushing a pot of flowers onto the bedside table.  "Sorry!" she apologized.  "I don't mean to disturb you, but your dad told me to bring this to you," she said, gesturing the flowers.  "He said to give you this card, too."  She added, handing him a store-bought sympathy card, not even signed.

Sei looked at the card for about half a second before tossing it into the trash.  No one had to ask why, and they all looked around with ashamed faces.

"He's at work," Kyoko said, breaking the deafening silence.  "He just couldn't get away to come see you right now.  He promised to drop by later, maybe." In a rush she added, "But, he does send his love and greetings!"  She blushed when she saw the blank faces of the twins.  "Um, I hope you get better soon, Sei.  I've got to get back to my job now, so I'll see you guys later, okay?"  she said with a little wave as she left the room.

Rei nodded at her and watched her leave with a sort of dread.  With Kyoko there, he didn't have to think about what Sei did, just about his father and the same hate that Rei had always felt toward him.  Now that she left, though, he had to puzzle over what he would say to Sei.  What can you say to someone who tried to kill himself?

            "Um," Sei began, jerking Rei away from his thoughts.  "Can I have a glass of water?  My mouth tastes really foul."

            "Sure!" he replied, happy to have something useful to do, rather than just standing there looking awkward.  But then, of course Sei would have done that for him.  After all, he knew exactly what Rei was thinking.  But this one time, Rei had no idea what his twin was thinking.  Why would he do such a thing?

            Rei brought Sei his water, and he chugged it down in a just a couple of seconds.  He wiped his top lip with the edge of his hand, like you always see little boys do, and Rei felt compassion toward his brother.  Whatever had driven Sei to do something like kill himself, it probably was something big.  Sei didn't do something unless he had a very good reason, so he probably had one this time, too.  But what?

            "Thanks," Sei told him with a half-hearted smile.  Rei knew, though, that he was just humoring him, that something deeper was going on inside his twin's mind.

            "Sei," began Rei, shakily.  "Why did you do it?"

            Sei took a deep breath.  Even though he tried to be angry at Rei, he just had to give in.  Rei genuinely had no idea why he would try to kill himself, so he would just have to enlighten him.  "There's only one Rei," he finally says.

            Rei looked puzzled.  "What's that supposed to mean?"

            "I mean, that this is exactly like something that I would do.  It's practically expected of me.  I'm the weak one, Rei!  I can't do anything if I don't have my twin by my side, you know, the strong one who does everything right?  Even Dad's pushing you to go on in school because 'Rei's got so much potential!'  Everyone says that.  What about me, huh?  What about Sei?"  He paused to take a breath.  Rei just stared at his brother, waiting for him to continue.  He wasn't finished yet.

            "I always wished that I could be the one in the spotlight, instead of having to settle for a sideshow.  I wanted to be you, Rei!  To be strong, smart, athletic, and outgoing; but instead, I'm just me, the one without any friends and parents unheard of.  How can anyone live like that?  It's been torture growing up without a mom, because Dad's always gone with work and stuff, but I've always had you.  Now you're talking about quitting school to race motorcycles, one of the worst choices I've heard of!"

            Only Rei knew that the motorcycle thing was a joke, so he just kept quiet.  To interrupt now would be like sticking your hand in shark's mouth.  It was probably better not to.  That was okay, though, because Sei had more to say.

            "I don't want you to leave me.  Then I won't have any friends or family at all!  I could live with Dad, and never see my caretaker except for the occasional 'family dinner.'  You know, when Dad brings fast food at eleven o'clock and expects us to be overjoyed at this wonderful treat?  Well, I don't want to live like that, if it's not with you, Rei!  I could go back to Los Angeles with Aunt and Uncle, but I'd rather not burden them with my presence.  They had more in common with you, anyway."  Sei was practically bawling now, just pouring his heart out to Rei, who sat dumbfounded in the green chair.

            "Remember that promise we made, Rei?  That we'd always be together?  What ever happened to that, huh?  Did that mean nothing to you?  Was I the only person there at the time, the only person who cared?"

            Finally, Rei responded, "No," and pulled his sobbing brother into a big hug.  "I remember the promise, too.  And today, I thought that you were so weak that you were backing out of it.  Did you think about me?  Where would that promise be if you were gone?"  Rei pushed his brother away slightly, and looked into his teary eyes.

            "I never thought of it like that," Sei admitted, going back to the comfort of Rei's shoulder.

            "Then stop your complaining," suggested Rei.  "I'm not really dropping out of school to race motorcycles.  I wouldn't break our promise like that."

            After a minute, Rei broke the hug apart with the explanation, "Don't rely on me too much!  Or else you'll never be able to get a girlfriend," he winked.

            Sei let out a little laugh, and curled back under the covers.  "Thanks, Rei," he said with a smile through his tears.  "I feel better now."

            The nurse walked in the room a few minutes later to find Sei asleep in his bed.  Rei was sitting in the green chair again.  He was asleep, too, holding his twin's hand.

* * *

That evening, Rei was doing his homework in his dad's apartment.  Sei was still the hospital (Kyoko had volunteered to stay with him) and his dad wasn't home from work yet.  Music was pouring out of Rei's headphones and he was concentrating hard on his algebra.  In fact, he was focusing so much that he didn't hear the door open as his dad walked in the room.

            "Rei," he called, a little bit irritated at the lack of acknowledgment.  "Rei!" he called louder, before walking up to his son and kicking his butt.

            "What'd you do that for?" he exploded.

            "I said that I was home; be polite and at least say 'welcome back' or something!"

            "Dad, why didn't you visit Sei," he retorted.  "You couldn't take time off just to go see him when he's in the hospital?"

            "Well," his dad began in a stern voice.  "The school called me at work and said that Sei was being hospitalized because he tried to commit suicide from the top of a building.  I asked them if he would be okay, and they said that he would live.  So, instead of spending my time interrupting his recovery, I enrolled both of you in counseling!"

            "You're sending me to a shrink?" Rei yelled.  "How could you do such a thing to your kid?  If you were just there for Sei, this would never have happened.  Instead, you just let someone else deal with us as soon as times got tough.  Remember when Mom died, and you sent us to L.A. for seven years?  You're doing the same thing now!  You're just letting someone else deal with us!  What kind of a father are you?"

            "I'm just doing what I think is best, son," his father replied, with narrowed eyes.

            "Well," Rei started yelling, "YOU'RE WRONG!"

            He ran from his father all the way to his room, where he slammed the door.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:  Wow!  That was pretty long!  Yay Sushi!  Don't worry, that wasn't the end, there will be more after this.  I just ended this chapter there.  I don't feel that way about psychologists; my brother is in psychology!  I just thought that was the way Rei would feel.  About the "useless" part at the beginning where Sei is cleaning out his locker; I read somewhere that a common sign of a suicide attempt was cleaning up.  So that's why that is.  As I was writing this, I read an online blurb about a future volume that tells about why Sei really tried to kill himself (I don't know why he really did).  So this story is probably REALLY alternate universe!  Did you like it anyway, though?  Don't you think that there should be a separate category for MARS?  I DOOOOO!!!!  Go MARS!!!  Review, and look forward to my next chapter!