::Smile::

A Smile.

Tohma knew that's all they wanted to see. His smile. They wanted to know that he was pleased with them or that he was approachable. He smiled and nodded at the man who had caught up to him in the hallway. Some manager for an up and coming band that NG was scouting. No one of real importance. The man's band was decent and had potential, but the sound they had chosen neither fit their look nor their instrumental arrangement. They would fail if they didn't realize this soon.

With a bow to the manager Tohma turned away and entered the elevator, giving the man a last smile as the elevator doors closed. As soon as they shut he let the smile fade as he leaned against the wall and waited for the floor where his office was. By all logic he knew he should be happy. Nittle Grasper was on top again and Bad Luck wasn't far behind. Noriko and Ryuichi were doing promotional signings across the country. NG was doing well in Japan and he'd finally managed to set up an office in New York, the last of the papers had been signed Friday. Pop Beat was virtually begging to interview him. Everything seemed perfect.

Except for one thing.

Mika.

The elevator doors opened and Tohma stepped out with a smile, giving his secretary a nod and asking that his calls be held and his appointment with Sakano be pushed back. She nodded and handed him his messages and a couple demos that had been sent to him. With a pleasant nod of thanks he entered his office and closed the door behind him, smiling as he dropped the messages and demos on the desk and looked around the office and under the desk. When he was finally positive Ryuichi and Kumagoro were not about to sneak up on him he sat down and let the smile drop. He put his elbows on the desk and folded his hands, pressing his forehead against them.

It had been six days since he'd found Mika on the bathroom floor. The paramedics had shown up just as she lost consciousness and taken her to the hospital, leaving him alone to follow later. When he arrived the doctors said they had been able to stabilize her and that she should pull through. But five days later she still hadn't woken up. The doctors said her vitals were stable, but she didn't seem to want to pull out of the coma she had fallen into. They were baffled.

Tohma let out a sigh. He'd called Mika's family from the hospital as soon as he had been told that she was stable and would pull through. Tatsuha had been understandably upset and left for Tokyo as soon as he found his jacket. He'd spent the first night at the hospital with Mika, until the hospital staff asked him to leave the next night. He was in a hotel now, waiting for visiting hours to come around again. Tohma frowned slightly. The way Tatsuha glared at him was chilling.

But even more chilling was Eiri's reaction. His entire coldness toward the matter nearly made Tohma shiver. He hadn't expected Eiri to be emotional and run to the hospital like Tatsuaha had, but the novelist hadn't even sounded surprised. He'd simply asked Tohma if that was all and hung up the phone.

Tohma twisted around in his chair and looked out the large bay window of his office. He hadn't heard anything from Mika's father and was getting the feeling Tatsuha hadn't told the man. Maybe that was better for now. The old man was sure to throw a fit for all the wrong reasons. It would be a miracle if he didn't try to disown Mika for dishonoring the family. Tohma smirked and wondered how long it would take before he figured out what an idiotic idea that was. Mika was the only thing keeping him and his sons on speaking terms.

He stared out the window. The Tokyo skyline was strangely beautiful at night he mused as he shut his eyes and let out a sigh. "Mika… what were you thinking?" he murmured to himself as he furrowed his brow. He was tired. He'd hardly slept in the last few days because is all he saw when he closed his eyes was Mika.

The last thing he ever expected to see upon coming home early was Mika lying in a pool of her own blood. He'd often imagined finding a note saying she'd left him or to find her in the arms of another man, but never what he had seen on the bathroom floor. He opened his eyes as he remembered how he felt after the paramedics took Mika away. He'd been left alone. His knees drenched with her blood. The dark red smearing his hands and shirt. A feeling began to creep over him that he hadn't since he'd met Mika. Intense and over powering loneliness.

Tohma's eyes shifted in the direction of the hospital.

He could remember the first day he met Mika. She had no fear even back then, making her way to the front of the crowd and grabbing his arm so that he acknowledged her. She'd told him something no one else ever had, that his music was beautiful, but painfully lonely. Someone had shouldered her away before he even had a chance to respond to her.

He could remember the day he'd met her again. She'd been working at the bar they now frequented serving drinks and stocking the shelves. He'd nearly gotten her fired by distracting her from her customers, but managed to find out her name and why she said what she said about his music.

He remembered her sad smile when he asked why she always looked so disdainful of the world and how she explained that her entire family had the same problem. Their faces seemed to be set in naturally displeased expressions, only Tatsuha seemed to have escaped the problem and even with him his smile looked vaguely menacing. Her smile brightened a bit when she looked up and explained that when people in her family actually showed emotion their faces were quite expressive.

He could remember the day when his hands were stiff from playing and Mika had sat up with him in the one room apartment she and Noriko shared, writing as he dictated the lyrics that would become Nittle Grasper's first single. The way she frowned and told him to hold his inspiration while she found a pen that worked.

He remembered the day he told her he wasn't an easy person to get along with and asked if she was up to the task. He remembered how she took hold of his hand and said, "I'm far harder to get along with, but if you can put up with me, I think we can be great friends."

They'd been in love then. She was the first person he ever trusted. She understood and supported him, helping when she could and knowing when to leave him alone with his work or with his thoughts. She didn't need to be touched all the time to know she was wanted, a simple smile or a touch of the hand was all the reassurance she needed. Everything had seemed perfect.

Then he met Eiri.

Tohma let out an angry sigh as he stood up out of his chair and began to pace his office. He didn't regret his feelings for Eiri. Regret for ones actions only made one a person weak. Though at times it had caused strain between him and Mika, especially after the disastrous trip to New York.

She hardly spoke to him when she arrived in New York to get her brother. Her face had been a calm mask of anger and she refused to meet his eyes. He could still see the hurt look on her face when Eiri refused to speak to her, locking the door of his room and crying loud enough that she could hear him through the door but could do nothing to comfort him. It was days before Eiri would even come out of his room to eat, let alone talk to Mika, until finally he curled up in her arms and cried.

In the interim Tohma could remember how he tried to explain what had happened and waited for Mika to scream at him in anger. But she never did. She would simply shake her head and walk away. For days he expected her to break down into tears, in need of comfort. In the end, though, it had been Mika comforting him. Holding him tight and saying he wasn't to blame as he wrapped his arms around her waist.

She'd always been like that. Strong in her own way, silent about her own feelings, never seeming to crack.

"Because of the situation with Shuichi did I dote on Eiri too much?" he wondered, sitting down and pressing his forehead against his clasped hands, remembering how every conversation with Mika in recent times had somehow come back to Eiri and Shuichi or Nittle Grasper's reunion. He winced. He didn't even know what she had been doing with her time other than playing mediator between her brothers and father.

"I never knew you were hurting so much," he said quietly as he looked out the window.

He knew Mika was unhappy. Sometimes he almost wondered why she stayed with him if it brought her such unhappiness. But he knew the answer. She wasn't one to run away from a situation. At least he had never thought of her as one, until now… He shook his head as the image of Mika on the floor appeared to him again.

He reached for the phone and dialed the numbers he was quickly learning by heart and for the third time in as many hours a nurse with a nasally voice told him there was no change in Mika's condition. The phone clicked back into its cradle as Tohma stared down at it.

It was strange not being able to do anything. When Kaoroku had published her story in Pop Beat about Shuichi and Eiri's relationship a simple phone call had put an end to her career. When Ryuichi said he wanted to be on Hit Stage with Bad Luck Tohma only had to pick up the phone and tell the producers Nittle Grasper would be there and they would be the main attraction. When he started on any number of his extravagant promotions is all it took was a phone call and everyone snapped into place for him. But there was nothing he could do this time. Not a single person he could call that would make Mika better.

There was a knock on the door and Tohma looked up, forcing a sunny smile on his face as his secretary meekly stuck her head in. "I'm sorry, sir," she said quietly, "but Sakano-san is here and he has Mr. K with him and…" there was the sound of a gun shot and some loud mix of Japanese and English as Tohma caught sight of a spinning Sakano behind his secretary.

"I will see them in a moment," Tohma said, still smiling as the woman bowed and closed the door.

The smile fell and he leaned back in his chair. It seemed cold to do work while his wife lay in the hospital, but there was nothing else he could do. At least the mechanical aspect of work kept his mind off of it. Besides, everyone knew he was a cold, calculating bastard that let nothing get in the way of his work. He saw no reason not to live up to their expectations.

He opened the top drawer of his desk to get out the demo of Bad Luck's new song that Sakano and K had come to talk about. A picture fell to the floor. It was of him and Eiri taken during their time in New York. They were smiling and he had his hand on Eiri's shoulder. It was the picture that Mika had found a week before he'd left on business. Her eyes had gone sad for a moment when she saw it, but she composed herself and handed it back to him as if she had expected nothing else to fall out of his desk.

He put the picture back in the drawer and pulled out the demo. It was funny how Mika always managed to stumble across the things that showed his love for Eiri and never the things that showed his feelings for her. In the other corner of the drawer was another picture. A picture of a brown haired girl in a sundress taken nearly seven years ago. The girl was smiling unabashedly and waving at the person taking the picture. A person, if the smile on her face was any judge, that she cared for very much.

Tohma shut the desk drawer and gave the phone another look before setting the demo on his desk and getting up. He would have his meeting with Sakano as planned, but after that he would have his secretary clear his schedule. Reputation be damned. He'd been working like a madman for the past five days to forget what had happened, but now it was time to go visit Mika.

He smiled as he opened the door and told his secretary he was ready for his appointments. She ushered K and Sakano in after him, bringing tea and a stack of documents. Sakano babbled on, bowing and apologizing that they hadn't gotten the message to reschedule as he spilled the tea and began to apologize more. Tohma smiled at him as he worked to clean it up. K broke in with some observation and Tohma continued smiling and replied. Tohma smiled and smiled and smiled as he talked to them and they never suspected anything was wrong. He truly hated smiling.

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Author's notes: Yay, people actually reviewed Darkness Falls, that gives me warm fuzzy's! ^_^ I'm not quite happy with this part… I mean, I am… but I'm not. So, any comments people would like to make are more than appreciated. ^_^ Let's see… the next part is Tatsuha, then Eiri, and then we learn of Mika's fate. *mad cackling* *cough* Um… I'm posting these separately and not as chapters because they are separate stories, they're just connected… they're like a quintology. I'm going to try and have the next part up by the end of the week or at least during the weekend. (Oh, and I'm totally amazed by the TohmaxMika shippers out there, I thought I was the only one!) ^_^