Disclaimers: I make no profit from this work of fiction and any resemblance to the living or dead is a coincidence. On top of that, I don't work for any ad companies, I use brands because that's life.
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Gev's motorcycle sped along the cold streets of Connecticut with haste. He amazed himself with the accuracy of his driving level, because he's still shaken up with emotions over Ludwig's passing. And he knows Yakusoku feels the same way. He's never known his friend to be so quiet, even when he'd been brought back home after the abduction he'd spoken. He wasn't there for the first few days, sure, but from what Ludwig told him, he'd been speaking.
The bike pulled over as the wave of reality hit him again. He stood up from his seat, his legs remained straddled around the vibrating bike. Yakusoku's arms are still wrapped firmly around him while he cried, trying to brace himself to continue on to the apartment house. He screamed "fuck! fuck!" over and over again. The obscenity is muffled by his helmet which leaves him all alone to hear his pain. The moisture pooling on his cheeks forced him to pull the helmet up over his head where it rests on top while he brushed tears from his eyes with the palm of his hand. Feeling Yakusoku's hand tighten around him, he latched onto that hand squeezing comfort from it through emotional osmosis.
After a calming sigh expelled past his lips he sat back down, lowered his helmet, and after giving Yakusoku's hand one more squeeze he then gripped the handle bar and started for the apartment home again. But, this time, he doesn't stop until they are there. However; inside the apartment home the held in pain erupted.
Hakuo had never been hugged so tightly in his life. The Krenn teen thought his ribs would break under the pressure of being pressed into Gev's chest or that his spine would be snapped from the squeezing arms anchored behind him. And the larger teen cried and cried until it died away to nothing but sniffles and coughs, and weakened knees trying to remain upright.
It happened so instantaneously that Hakuo had no time to react by moving away or turning his head. Gev grabbed him by the throat and squeezed before reality struck him to cause an instant release, he then shoved the quiet teen up against the front door, still with a hold on him but now by cupped cheeks. Gev's weight leaned forward and now he's lightly popped his forehead to Hakuo's. Tears splashed at the Asian teen's cheeks and eyes as he stood there taking the breakdown not feeling threatened in the least by it, in spite of what almost happened.
"I could beat you to a pulp... " Gev began muttering to the pseudo person. "How long do you intend to keep up the act?!" He finally pulled free and glared at the person impersonating Yakusoku.
"I wasn't acting, you just weren't paying attention," Hakuo wiped the back of his hand across his moistened face. "Why so serious?"
"Because you're not Yakusoku, you fucking…" He seemed to lose his words having to realize them all over again but now to another situation. Ludwig is gone. Yakusoku is gone. And he is alone. "And, are you kidding me right now? Ludwig is dead and you pull this cheap move crap. How could you do it, how could you jump him when he lowered his guard? What kind of a sick fuck are you?"
"I'm certainly not the kind to go back on my word and ambush someone to get what I want," replied Hakuo indifferent to the insults and anger. It isn't meant for him, it's anger towards the situation. "Not like your little lover boys who planned to do so to me. Do you really think I'm that dense? I know how they feel about the two of you, and this life Yakusoku's made,"
"Don't say his name!" He pointed a finger at Hakuo as if it's a small knife. "Don't say either of their names!"
Gev grabbed his head backing up towards the couch where he fell heavily onto the seat, slumped over he presses his face into his hands and cried once again. Hakuo watched from a distance then walked out of the room to the bathroom where he relieved himself then he washed his hands and face. When he returned to the living room he expected Gev to be gone but the Russian was still seated on the couch, and instead of crying he's staring down at the floor. Even his back looked miserable.
"Bring him back," he said with a voice thick with mucus and pain. "You said you wouldn't just steal his life, so bring him back… He doesn't get to check out and leave me alone to grieve Ludwig, it's a bitch move and he knows it… So bring him back."
Hakuo shrugged out his hand, coming around to the front of the sofa taking a seat on the coffee table, he offered the sullen London a wad of toilet paper. Letting out a small sigh, he replied. "Would if I could, but it's not that simple."
"How is it not simple, you go away and he comes forward…"
Hakuo shook his head. "Yakusoku is no longer with us,"
Exhausted and ready to drop, Gev impatiently asks. "What are you talking about?"
The miserable teen doesn't even sound like himself as he speaks, his voice is a tone Hakuo's never heard before. Gev sounds like any normal human being, not a young man of considerable anger for reason or none. He doesn't sound jovial or sarcastic, he's just empty.
"He went with Ludwig." Hakuo's hand gave his own knee a pat, as if it is laying the reason out on the table.
"Bullshit." Replied the despaired, though his face registered that he believed him, but he's unsure of in what way. "That's not possible,"
"I'm not telling lies. When you thought that he'd fainted at the hospital, Yakusoku had actually astral projected from my body and into Ludwig's mind. The two of them just sat there- despite my pleading that Yakusoku come with me, he'd refused,"
"Shut up." Gev covered his ears with his hands, but he can still hear the stranger speaking.
"He, both of them, said that they were sorry for leaving you and that they love you dearly. But, without Ludwig being able to live, Yakusoku just decided he didn't want Ludwig dying alone."
"I said shut up!" He shoved Hakuo down against the table, the angle was odd as the Krenn teen's head and shoulders hovered above air with Gev pressing down on him repeatedly as he's trying to force him to become one with the wood. "Shut up! Shut up! It isn't possible!" He sobbed for three seconds then resumed his rage, the emotional roller coaster seemed like the ultimate thrill ride of up and down, left and right. "He wouldn't do that to me, Yakusoku wouldn't just leave me like this- you pushed him into it!"
Hakuo's gaze locked with Gev's and he spoke evenly to say. "He did choose. And I did not push. I'm not gonna pretend that this isn't a good thing in some ways, but I can assure you that I'd asked him to leave and come back with me. He knew what he wanted. But," he raised his forearms, since he's pinned at the bicep, but he was able to latch onto Gev's arms which he gave a reassuring squeeze. "his choosing Ludwig in no way means that he has rejected you."
"Then what would you call it, huh?" Gev moved away from the stranger to direct his anger elsewhere. He can't be mad looking into Hakuo's face. So much like Yakusoku's while not looking at him at all. He doesn't even look like Mamoru. He's just… He can't even explain it!
Hakuo righted himself to a sit, and he watched Gev flailing emotionally while physically he was just standing there fuming and dueling with his emotions to calm them down with nothing to show for it. Finally, after realizing there was nothing that he could do, Gev just dropped to the floor and resumed crying. Now he truly was crying for the loss of two.
"I don't know, but I know what it's like to make hard decisions… What he did looked impossible regardless his mouth making it seem easy. They weren't crying because it hurt, though I'm sure it did, they were crying for you."
The fallen lump leaned in Hakuo's direction like a small plea to be held but he then shifted his weight to the armchair and wept into that instead.
December 20th, 2015. 7:13 am.
Hakuo has been watching Gev while he slept away on the couch. He wasn't at all tired, so he sat in the living room and watched the young man in shutdown mode. It was interesting because it wasn't really sleeping, it was more like being weighed down by something that kept you asleep and immobile. That's the impression the Krenn teen got upon looking at the scrunched brows and uncomfortable posture. It was 'The Alone', Gev is being held and struggling through it. Hakuo wondered if there was anything that he could do for him, but upon searching his conversational emotions he found nothing useful to say that would have helped himself in such a time, if the roles were reversed. So he just watched him.
He could see why Mamoru liked the London teen, the bitter and pinched face would look ridiculous and even ugly to some but, to others, Gev could be a real knockout, if he tried.
Gev's puffy lids blinked open in a way that reminded the returner of a flickering light bulb, ready to work but not sure if it could. His grey eyes looked at the stranger with wonder and focus, but when the blurred image cleared he studied Hakuo's, dry, expressionless face seeing then he spotted the familiar scars here and there, scars that belonged to his beloved Yakusoku. But, past them was no one he had any knowledge of nor care. A cracked mirror. A crinkled up piece of paper unfolded, with sharp lines here and there. If only the cracks were the strange part of the situation.
His hand reached out and touched Hakuo's cheek tenderly. As close as he is to him it didn't take much length to reach the soft surface of face, and to draw him close where he kissed him just as tenderly as he'd touched Hakuo. The stranger, not surprised by the situation, closed his eyes and timidly kissed Gev back. It isn't meant for him, but the goth is in such pain he figured he'd let him have his moment.
Gev paused briefly for a breath which allowed him to notice the hand reaching out for him, he swatted it swiftly away then sat upright ready to bolt in a hurry if Hakuo should try at touching him again or even for a first time. He held his pounding head to steady himself from the emotional hangover then he stood up and made to leave, but, he was stopped by a hand latching around his wrist though not for long because he quickly jerked the limb free, taking long strides to the front door.
Hakuo watched this, as well. In all the time the angry teen's been sleeping, he couldn't figure out how to cheer Gev up, but he could stop him from making a mistake. "Gev,"
The exiting bitter beast paused due to having never heard his name said with the stranger's voice. It hurt. It hurt badly enough that he just stood gripping the doorknob firmly enough to bend the metal if it were humanly possible. He'll never hear Yakusoku saying his name again, with his voice so full of seeking answers to his many questions about how to behave poorly or in admiration when he thought he'd done something cool. Or that special tone- just for him- he used when speaking to him about mundane things. All forfeit. No Ludwig smiling as he reprimands his bad behavior. He'd never again hear his voice either.
Hakuo's tone sharpened as he spoke firmly and authoritatively to an eighteen year old, who could actually claim his age since he, Hakuo, has been absent since he was seven. It seems kind of like a kid telling off an adult after mustering up the nerve to do so, but what's said hit the mark with sharp focus.
"Really notice how it is that you're feeling right now,"
"What the hell would you know about what I'm feeling?" The brooding London snarled.
"I know enough that you shouldn't act recklessly because of it... because you'd be putting all of those feelings you now have onto others… Just because you don't know how to feel it doesn't mean you can just stop mattering. ...Your family loves you, they need you… And your sister, do you really wanna put the wreckage onto Victoria? Don't harm the innocent because you're confused."
Gev's jaw flexed thoughtfully and for the briefest time his eyes locked with the stranger's then the door pulled open, and once he was through the exit it slammed shut. Hakuo looked at the obstruction with a bit of concern. He'd expected to hear something rude, he even thought he'd get a "shut up" accompanied by a punch in the face for protesting too much. But silence? He doesn't know how to take it, he supposed it was up to Gev now.
He looked around the company-vacant room with a blank expression. His thoughts begin to mull over being truly alive. Back in his body. Born again.
But… What could he do? Where could he go? He can't drive, so virtually he's trapped in the apartment home. He fixed himself a bowl of cereal, ate it, then went into the bathroom and debated brushing his teeth. He couldn't deny that it is his toothbrush, but at the same time it's not his toothbrush so it felt sort of icky to stick it into his mouth.
'I wonder if Yakusoku bought a deluxe pack?' Searching through the toiletries in the bathroom finding nothing but shampoo, body spray and wash, some extra soap, and a tiny mouth wash, he moved to the linen closet in the hall. "Aaa, here we are." Removing a blue, green, and white brush from the pack of six he returned to the bathroom and cleaned his teeth. A shower came next and he washed himself thoroughly for that clean slate feel. Walking out into the living room, the weight of sleep finally hit him.
A half hour after waking up from an unwanted, too short due to a bad dream, nap he saw that Yakusoku's phone received a message, dozens of them actually. Missed calls mixed with texts. It took a moment of fiddling with the device to get it to work, he was like an infant using the thing. He's only aware that the screen is a touch sensitive, and it glows, but he was finally able to open a text from Gev; it stated that he made it home, and he even attached a photo of his house. And Hakuo was surprised by the next message that was a simple: Thank you.
The other messages and voicemails were from kids at school who'd seen the morning news, and when finding out who the victim was had to offer false sympathy in order to hopefully gain a nugget of information about what really happened.
Hakuo snorted. "Fuck them."
It dawned on him that quite a many people have Yakusoku's cell number. And that he, a newbie, has no cell at all. Getting up from the couch he goes through Yakusoku's school bag in search of pen and paper, once finding a day planner and pen he writes down a list: cell phone, driver's license, laptop, i-thingy, mp3 player, wardrobe.
Satisfied, he looked through the calls and messages.
It was a voicemail so after some pushing and sliding he was finally able to listen. The younger Land teen said he's going over to the cafe where Yakusoku works, and if he'd please meet him there.
Hakuo used the GPS to locate the Muddy Waters cafe where Yakusoku worked. It isn't far from the apartment, so he walked on over there. It was cold, but he bundled up in Yakusoku's hoodie and a light sweater.
When entering the cafe, he received many sorrowful glances from fellow employees who, like a lot of others, saw the morning news and learned of Ludwig's passing. His assessing gaze stayed nowhere for long as he took in the new location. Walking up to the counter, he waited behind one person before he could give his order.
"Hey man, I'm so sorry to hear about Ludwig," Teddy passed him his order of a chocolate chip muffin and a cup hot chocolate. "He was a great guy- but what happened? The news said his car just burst into flames or something?"
"Or something…" He picked up his snack then looked around for Ai, spotting him at the furthest table in the room.
It was going to be a long week of consoling other people who're mourning a guy they somewhat knew. They should be more upfront about it and just ask him if he knew what had happened. They're sad they lost someone they know, but most people only wanna hear a story about how. It doesn't make their caring any less sincere, however; it just doesn't sit right with Hakuo to have to tell people it's ok when he, or rather who people believe he is, should be getting the "woo woo, there there" treatment. He lost a love and a friend not them.
"I don't blame you for not working today, I'm actually surprised that you're walking around," Teddy was saying when seeing that "Yakusoku" didn't bolt from the counter with his snack. "I always thought that you and Ludwig were… y'know?" He winked at him as if they were in each other's confidants.
"They are," He smiled at the confused expression on the worker's face. "Send the boss my resignation."
"Yup. I mean, technically, I don't even really work here," He grinned at the confused expression that's growing evermore concerned by the words coming out of his fellow employees mouth. "I'm not Yakusoku," snickering over how freeing it was to confess that to someone outside of the 'inner circle', he then took his things over to where Ai is seated, knowing that he left one confused young man back there who'd either never get an answer or come up with his own explanation.
The younger Land teen is slowly stirring his hot chocolate with a little red straw, his cookies remain untouched. Hakuo sat down and eyed him before reaching over to help himself to a sugar cookie shaped like a reindeer. It has little pretzel antlers and a Boston Baked Bean candy nose, with two little chocolate dots for eyes. Very festive.
"Hi." He said to the boy.
"It just doesn't make any sense," Ai confessed slowly in a soft voice. "Everything was starting to be ok, changed, because you aren't living at home anymore, sure, but still… things were supposed to be better. And then this happens… Yakusoku, I'm so sorry," He then burst into tears.
Ai got up from his seat and rounded the table to wrap his arms around his brother. Hakuo, with his arms around the weeping teen, peeled the wrapping from his muffin then held the top in his palm while he ate the bottom over Ai's shoulder. He didn't know what to say as, yet again, he's faced with helping someone else feel better. At least with Gev it made sense, but, where was anyone to console Yakusoku about it? All day messages, all day with the passersby on the street who know them from school, crying confessing that they wished they'd known Ludwig better or, the biggest kick, is that they were crushing on him and never got to tell. The bunch of selfish creeps.
"I'm sorry, Yaku', I didn't mean to cry... I'm just so upset for you," he sniffled, and gradually calmed himself while returning to his side of the table. "How are you holding up?"
Ai looked at his brother with a furrowed brow because of the tone, then he cocked his head as if wondering if he was Yakusoku. Of course he is. He must still be in shock, thought the boy. He could imagine how lonely it must be at the apartment now that Ludwig is gone, but Gev probably spent the night with him. So at least he wouldn't be grieving by himself.
Getting down to business to distract his tears, he says. "Mom and dad saw the news with me, they want you to come home,"
Pausing from licking the cream from the top of his beverage, he replied brusquely. "Not gonna happen."
"Never mind about the fight, it's the best situation for you right now. You shouldn't be alone… I know how much Ludwig must have meant to you, for god's sake you guys were a couple when you're not even gay!" Ai lowered his voice having not meant to raise it to receive looks from bystanders, as they now are. "That takes a lot of love and care… I just want you to not do anything crazy because you're all alone with this right now."
"I'm not gonna commit suicide, Ai." He laid the dance to the point of the conversation to a stand-still.
Hakuo didn't want to say it directly to Gev, it would have fueled the fire, so he broached the matter of his staying alive by hitting it at its human point. Killing yourself isn't just a matter of yourself, others get caught in the wreckage. Ai, however, is speaking to the wrong person as his brother has technically already taken that leap to be with the one he loves.
"And to be honest," he tapped the straw to the bottom of his 'To Go' paper cup. "I don't want to go back to the apartment, either."
"So where will you go? You're gonna move in with Gev?" He wiped the tears from his cheeks.
"No. I'm going back home, to my real home with my real family…"
Now Ai was feeling anger take over his despair, how could Yakusoku say a thing like that? He's more devastated by Ludwig's passing than he could ever know if he wants to leave the state to get away from it.
Seeing the mixture of emotionally charged conversation play out on the boy's rounded features, he explained. "Ai, I hate to tell you this but I'm not your brother."
Ai's mouth dropped a bit then it snapped shut when he took a good look at whom he thought was Yakusoku. "I guess that explains a lot, but so, you never know when he might come back. My brother only went away to grieve, that doesn't mean you can just take over and do whatever you like, Mamoru."
Setting down his hot chocolate after taking a long drink from it, he shook his head to the assumption. "I'm not Mamoru either, I'm Hakuo."
"Hak..u.. But, why? Is..." He didn't know what to say. Mamoru knew Ludwig as well, maybe he's inside grieving with his brother.
"I don't know where Mamoru is, and I don't know where your brother is but he's not in here." He shrugged out his hands.
"I don't understand,"
Hakuo explained to Ai what he told to Gev and the boy began crying all over again. It just couldn't be the truth. Yakusoku can't be gone!
"I have a lot of things to do, getting out of the lease on the apartment, finding a way home if Gev refuses giving me a ride, I have to get some money together. Hey," The Krenn grabbed the boy by the wrist when his hands began making another sweeping past his teary eyes. "I need you to listen, you have to come back to the apartment with me to take your brother's car. I can't drive, so my having it would be pointless- you can consider it a present from him."
"It's what he would have wanted."
"What would you know about what he wanted? You… you fucking imposter."
"Why is everyone calling me that? I'm not impersonating anyone. He wanted to be with Ludwig, I stepped back into my rightful place as the owner of this body, that's all there is to it." Dunking the top of the muffin in his cocoa he ate the soggy bite. "Are you going to take the car or not? It would be a shame to have it just sitting there rotting or have it stolen by someone who might notice it hasn't moved for a century. Would you really want that, your brother's personal items just rifled through then tossed aside by the perp' who took it?"
Ai sniffled. "It's just not fair,"
"Take it up with your brother when you see him, but I don't know what to tell you." Reaching for another cookie he ate it, waiting for Ai to decide what he planned to do with his brother's car.
"I may as well keep it, it's better than having it stolen." He looked Hakuo in the eyes seeing nothing of his brother there. "Are you sure he's really gone? How is it even possible?"
"Best way I can make it easy for you to understand it is that when his spark left my current to enter Ludwig's, he went with him." Frowning he asked. "Please don't cry, I need to know you're safe while you're going home. Your brother would be pissed if he found out that I let you die in a car crash."
"I just need some time to process all of this," Ai moped. "What am I gonna tell mom and dad?"
"Just tell them the truth. I frankly don't care whether or not they know I'm a psychic or that your brother was nothing more than a living doll, but whatever you decide it had better be good enough to keep them from sending the cops my way, because their son is supposedly a runaway."
"How can you talk like you don't care? Don't you have any feelings for how messed up this all is?" He slammed his palm down on his thigh to avoid banging the table and once again alerting the onlookers. "Don't you care about the lives you're ruining?"
"Should I? They kicked your brother out, they called Ludwig everything nasty and cruel while throwing someone they love under the train as well. Does that sound like someone who needs love and understanding?" Hakuo finished his snack and clapped his hands together to clean them. "Because it doesn't to me. They made no attempt to contact Yakusoku. When he'd gone, they were done. They probably won't care if they know that it's me going home or if your brother's decided to live with his other family. Now tell me I'm wrong about that, I'll take odds on it." Getting up from the table he looked at his watch, tapping it when he noticed Ai is still giving him the stink eye. Exasperated, Hakuo calmly says. "Ai, don't get me wrong, I found this all unusual as well, but I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth. Your brother made his decision, I couldn't stop him. I've made mine, you can't stop me. So, please, let's get his car and you can drop me off at Gev's."
"You're disgusting," Ai sniffled but calmed another wave of tears. "Fuck you, asshole. Get your own ride to Gev's house, I'm not helping you."
"Fine. But, at least take his car." Hakuo kept himself from rolling his eyes over everyone's anger towards him. "Seriously; Yakusoku would want you to have it, don't dishonor him by refusing because I'm the messenger."
Ai hated it, but Hakuo has a point. And after calming himself enough to focus on walking without a chance of being hit by traffic, he went with Hakuo to his brother's apartment and took the car and, as he said he would, he left Hakuo behind in the apartment. Let him rot there for all he cared. Because when he'd asked him out on the street if there was any way Yakusoku could come back, he got a reply of "Not if I have anything to say about it". What a jerk.
December 21rst 2015. 4:17pm
Ludwig's funeral was a sea of emotions. The waves of emotion rolled over and up onto the little boats of humanity, the waves are fueled with anger and hatred and love and misery to rock and sway the vessel almost capsizing it for some, and taking it completely under for others. A deep yawning swell that had no bottom or even a top to have fallen from. It was just a lifetime of spinning in a void of wondering "how" and "why".
Things weren't any better for Hakuo. He didn't know Ludwig very well, but he had pain because of him too. His final thoughts remain swirling in his head like an angry bee aiming to sting. Each time he tried sleeping soundly he was shot awake by a nightmare much too vivid for him.
A dangerous amount of sleeping pills circulating in his system, making him groggy and lightheaded, Ludwig could hardly keep a firm grip on the phone in his hand from when he looked at frozen moments, captured on digital film. Then it happened, a flaming bottle thrown into the window of the car. Hakuo could feel every bit of the pain just by watching it. The suffocating heat fogging up the oxygen in his medicated ready-for-sleep heavy functioning lungs, the different magnitudes of pain caused by the hungry flames eating into his skin closer and closer to the bone. The swelling blisters on his flesh as his hand gripped the steering wheel that was melting leather into his palm as the other suffered electrical burns from a sparking phone.
It was madness!
But the part that angered Hakuo, what hurt him far worse than any fire ever could was knowing who'd done it, and not being able to prove it to anyone. What could he say? "Hey, this guy did it because I dreamt of the victim's death and saw him do it?" Ha! That's a straight jacket worthy sentence, if he's ever heard one. No. Chester Flint would have to pay by his hands. It was the only way that made sense. Gev can't do it. He's sloppy and crude, he'd be caught and jailed not ten minutes after the body is found cold. And frankly, jail is too kind for that worthless walking clump of festering shit that is Chester Flint.
He has to take on the responsibility of the crude child's existence coming to punishment. Hell, he even wants to. That guy has fucked up one time too many and he needs to pay. But how?
He looked over at Nolan Delgado, who drove him to and is currently driving him back home from the funeral. Gev refused to have anything to do with him once he'd left the apartment the morning after Ludwig's death. It was fine by him, it was to be expected.
"I still can't believe he's really gone." Nono was saying to whom he still believes is his friend.
Hakuo nodded, unsure of what to say. He can't comfort this Nono any better than he could comfort Gev or Ai, or Ada who'd hugged the material of his clothing thin with how long she'd hugged him. So he chose to turn mime until the truth came out and he could drop the act. He really can't impersonate Yakusoku, the task is impossible. People look to him for too much, and he has nothing in the experience department to offer.
"Not that I'm saying anything but," Nono seemed to want to stop the silence so he couldn't think and if that helped him, it helped him. "But why isn't Gev taking you home, and why wasn't he the one to drive you over?"
"He's angry with me,"
Nono blinked at the voice, confused, but then he realized Yakusoku is more devastated about the death than any of them. He got up on that podium and revealed to everyone about his relationship. He and Ludwig were truly dating. He walked across the lot with his friend and into the home. He looked around the apartment with admiration of having a friend who could do such a thing so effortlessly, and in wonder of many other things about the Land teen. He'd never seen the place until today, the pair remained elusive about where they'd moved to- up to now.
"That's ridiculous, though, why is he mad at you?" He sits on the couch. "You two should be together in these times of grief, I know how much Ludwig meant to the both of you." He swallowed. "I feel like a real ass for shunning a guy, just because he can be into men, too… It's… It just made me uncomfortable, I never really hated him. I feel like I've wasted so much time over something so small and petty."
Hakuo wanted to snort a 'Duh' to that realization and that the rest of the world needs to have one, but he kept it in. It wasn't what Yakusoku would say.
"What will you do now? Move back home with your family?"
"No. The Land's threw me out when they found out about me and Ludwig, they don't want me back."
'Way.' Replied the imposter, thoughtfully.
"So, you'll just live here all alone?" Nono looked into the open doors seeing that there was only one bedroom. It caused him to blush over how real it was that the two were an item. "I thought that the Lands, if no one else, would understand about you and Ludwig… it's so messed up that they threw you out."
He held in a 'Tch.' to Nono's assumption. "No. I plan on going home,"
"But you just sai...,"
He cut him off by continuing. "To my real family in Pennsylvania, the Krenns."
"The Krenns?" Nono gaped. "So, you're just gonna leave? What about your family, what about… Gev?"
"I just don't belong here anymore."
Nono, as much as he was ready to argue the point on one friend's behalf, could understand. Ludwig meant that much to him. If it were him losing Shelby, he'd want to be anywhere else too. But to leave his family, even if they're at odds, and more importantly to leave behind his beloved Gev… He must truly be at his wit's end.
"More importantly, the trauma shook me so hard," and he's been thinking about this as an excuse during yet another sleepless night, afternoon, and early morning. "that my amnesia has lifted, I remember who I am now and I want to go home. It would be weird staying here, as I am now, wouldn't you agree?"
He explained the situation about hitting his head, being adopted by the Lands, and about how his family found him because of the abduction- which he already knows a little bit about because of the 6 o'clock news.
"Wow." He looked at Yakusoku now as someone who's different.
"So, that being the situation, will you drive me out there?" asked Hakuo.
"I can't find the place on my own, and the airport seems like a lot of trouble for not even a couple hours worth of flight… Taking a car is better."
"I'm sorry, but, no." Nono lowered his eyes from the intense gaze that snapped his way. "I can't take you away from everyone, it's wrong! It wouldn't be fair."
"Fair to whom? The Lands don't want me back," Hakuo explained. "And they're not my real family,"
"You haven't even tried to see if that's true," Nono shook his head and pleaded with him. "They raised you. It doesn't matter about all that other stuff, it's messed up what happened but in the long run your real family is better off staying as they are."
Gripping the chair to resist the urge to grip a neck, he stated. "Even if they take me back, can you imagine how it would be for me? Me in mourning while they snigger behind their fists that it was the best thing that could have happened?" Hakou sighed. "And I can't ask Gev because he'll say, no. He's already lost Ludwig, I can't face telling him that I won't be around either- even if I'm not the same guy he knows."
Nono had to agree with that, he wouldn't wanna face that scene. But he couldn't help him. He couldn't take him away and create more damage. He apologized for not helping, and hugged him for condolences before leaving.
"Well, I'm angry." He declared without actually sounding even upset. "I suppose I can exist here until the food runs out then live on water, but I'll ultimately starve to death." He snickered at the idea of something so idiotic. "It'd be just my luck to develop agoraphobia and wind up stuck in this house until I really do die of hunger."
He found Yakusoku's wallet yesterday and pulled out two debit cards. He doesn't know his passwords but he could likely get them from the website, except he doesn't even know Yakusoku's email account. It's like being five-years-old and having your parents throw up their hands and say, "well, that's a shame" before leaving you high and dry to fend for yourself with a fixed amount of money for one time while they go live elsewhere. He saw a movie like that: Nobody Knows. That was messed up, more so, because it was based on true events. He doesn't wanna end up like those kids, but he's stumped from stubbornness. His own and everyone else's.
'It'd be nice to surprise my family with my return,' dropping onto the couch he laid himself out long ways and looked about the room. 'I don't wanna call them out here to pick me up, it would spoil everything.' Checking Yakusoku's watch he sees it's nearing dinner. 'Guess I should suck it up and call Gev and ask him to take me, he might do it. It's better than having me around and knowing that I'm not Yakusoku.'
Getting up from the couch he slid a frozen pizza into the oven, pressed the 'Start' button on the stove panel then 'Bake'. He had forty minutes to kill, and with it, decided to clean the bathroom. It was very clear that dudes live in the home because it was only clean at a glance, but the curtains don't match the carpets- the toilet was the shining red flag of that statement.
Hakuo exited the bathroom after cleaning it from end to end, he still had four minutes before dinner so he played with Binks, who'd been giving him hisses and major stink-eye since he showed up the day before. He figured he should make himself familiar with the animal, since he'll be bringing him along. He couldn't very well leave the poor pet here on his own, and who'd take a cat in when the owner's decision to exit doesn't make sense to them?
"You are one pretty little cat, for a boy," he remarked, petting the two-toned ragdoll. "Yyyeah, see, I'm not so bad." He made kissy face at the animal who was apprehensive until it could no longer resist the tender touch petting him and kissing him on the forehead. Seeing a light further brighten the dim sunny glow in the room, he called out. "Hello?"
Whoever was at the door paused for a moment then stepped inside. "I saw the car wasn't in the lot," Gev said as he stepped in. "Can't say I'm not curious as to why you're still here? I figured you'd peel out the second you got the chance."
"I would if I could, but I can't drive. Ai took the car." Setting down the cat he walked into the kitchen and turned off the oven and grabbing a mitt from the side of the fridge he pulled the pizza free, then began slicing the small circle into eight evenish pieces. "What are you doing here?"
Gev felt a ping in his heart hearing that Hakuo can't drive. Mamoru can't drive either, he's said it to him often enough. Then there's the overall picture of his dear boyfriend moving about so casually while inside it's not him. The heartbroken teen looked at the stranger wondering where his Mamoru was right now? Have they merged? If so, Mamoru was way off with saying that he'd like the full version, because he doesn't.
"I was going to give my key to the super, but since you're here you can do it," he points to the key that he'd slipped into the bowl by the door, where he'd planned just to drop it off then slip away without a word- had he not been caught.
"Oh." Stacking three slices onto a paper plate he walked into the living room sitting down on the couch. "Want some pizza?"
Gev eyed the contents on the plate. It looked like pizza but smelled different, more Taco Bell than Pizza Hut.
"It's Mexican." Said Hakuo when seeing where Gev's gaze had fallen.
"Maybe one slice,"
Hakuo turned on Hulu and let an anime play in the background of what will likely be a very quiet meal. So, without bothering with small talk he began eating his food with more interest in the food than the television or present company.
When Gev took a seat in the armchair, Hakuo casually comments. "I love Mexican food,"
"Don't." Gev shook his head when saying it, the slice paused at his lips. "I don't wanna know you."
"Fair enough, we can stick to other topics- if you wanna talk, that is," he brushed his hands together then left the couch for the kitchen to get them some drinks. "Do you mind water or would you prefer something more flavorful?"
Gev didn't want to answer but he was thirsty so he dryly replied. "It's fine."
Returning to the living room, the Krenn set down the glasses of ice water. Sipping the drink he then took a longer swig, before asking. "How are you holding up?"
He had expected the question a lot sooner than this, and replied coolly. "He's in here, with me."
Gev sighed through his nose. "God, everything you say makes me wanna punch you in the face,"
Not offended by that declaration Hakuo, though, had to ask. "Then why did you stay? You could be halfway home by now."
"Because I wanted to look… I… I wanted to look at you," The food fell to the plate and the plate to the coffee table. His eyes glossed and he swallowed a lump down. "You're right, I shouldn't have stayed, it was a dumb move on my part." He got up to leave but Hakuo followed him to the door. "Get away from me." Ground out the steady growing bitterness.
"Why?" He asked, stepping in front of him blocking the exit. "I don't mind. You wanna sit in a silence and just stare at me, go right ahead."
"I don't trust myself,"
"To what? Not beat me to a pulp," scoffed Hakuo.
Once again he was surprised by getting shoved into the door where he was, again, latched onto only this by the cheeks. His face was held so tenderly as Gev's lips met his own kissing him deeply but it did not last long, because when Hakuo joined in it wasn't like Yakusoku and it wasn't like Mamoru so Gev wanted no part of it. Hakuo's face returned to the face that Gev is beginning to know as the stranger's and the London teen pulled back from him, still close enough to be close but not close enough to touch.
Slamming his fist against the door, he barked. "Do you really wanna keep dealing with that every time I wanna see Yakusoku?" He hit the door again. "I might not be able to stop myself... but I'm not gonna turn into that guy. What if I just fucking take you against your will? That'd be rape, you fucking cyka… So don't sit there and act like you wanna get to know me, or you don't mind that I'm only around you just to ogle who you were. Don't fucking sit there letting me kiss you or touch you… It isn't alright."
Hakuo blinked as he's, again, unsure of what to say. He's never been chatty in his life, not really. His style was more of the get other people started with talking and he would just slink into silence. But he's also never been at a loss for words.
Gev's hold never waned from Hakuo, and he just stared at him. "Where's the fucking reset button? Because I don't want any of this,"
"Then take me home," Insists Hakuo.
"Why? So I can say goodbye to the only bit of him that I have left?" He shoved the Krenn teen aside and walked out. "Just stay away from me."
'You came to me genius,' Thought the returner.
Closing the door, he leaned against it and touched his lips with his fingertips. If he wondered about Mamoru still being inside of him the fluttering in his heart from Gev's kisses was the proof of it. And perhaps, even a bit of Yakusoku still existed within him. That one was very unlikely. Pushing away from the door he returned to his dinner, and tried to figure out a new means of getting home.
Unfortunately the new method turned out to be the old method, because after riding the bus into Groton, with his new furry companion inside his carrier. He found his way to the London home and ringing the doorbell. It's late. 10 at night, and he doubts anyone is awake. The tiring pain of loss is still too fresh for them, which meant it still held everyone in its exhausting grasp. The Londons were close to Ludwig too.
He rubbed his arms against the cold backing away from the front door to look up at the home. The curtains moved in one of the bedrooms hiding a ghostly figure that's hanging out there, but it moved when realizing it could be seen.
"Gev?" He called up to the disappearing act. "Please come down," he called again. Looking at Binks who meowed as if he planned to help him, he smiled at the offer. The cat was the only one trying to help him, it seemed. "Gev!"
The front door pulled open startling Hakuo, who thought the homeowner would still be upstairs. "I told you to stay away from me," Spat the angry Russian through a slur.
Even from the distance Hakuo could smell the alcohol on him. It would seem shit-faced was his method of coping. "I need you to take me to Pennsylvania, I wanna go home." He pleaded. "After that, you'll never have to suffer in seeing me again."
Gev swayed on his feet. "Fuck you." He closed the front door with a firm thump.
Not hearing the lock slide in place, Hakuo debated just hanging around inside and weedling a ride out of him, but he didn't think that was a good idea. One could only be so rude. Plus, he'd have to wait around until morning anyway when Gev is sober- hungover, yes, but at least sober. It's not too cold out. Thought the returner. What is it, 51 degrees? It'll likely rise from there because of the damaged ozone layer. It's been warm so far.
Sitting on the porch-less porch swing he leaned back and occupied himself with Binks by sticking a finger into the door of the cage to pet him.
Gev bounded in a wobble up the stairs. Just when he was getting over it by getting inebriated the jerk had to show up! The nerve of him! Who the fuck does he think he is? How far does he think he can go!
"Fuck everybody," he muttered and returned to the window.
With any luck, he'll be a Picasso by morning having fallen out of the window after leaning into the screen. That would be great. He'd find those two little shits in the cosmos and kick their asses for leaving him. And then he'd kiss them for just being. If it only worked like that.
He looked down into the yard. His eyes slit when seeing a leg kick out from where the porch swing is placed. He didn't go home? Seriously? Didn't he get over not knowing how to drive enough to get himself here? He can see not knowing where he's going when leaving the state, but shit, figure out how to work a GPS. But he remembered, Hakuo doesn't have Yakusoku's car.
'He wouldn't seriously stay out there all night?' Wondered the pounding headached. "Fuck!" Opening the window, he called down. "Go away! The Land house is twenty minutes on foot, go left until you see a big inflated snowman."
"Nothin' doin'!" He called out in response.
Gev continued staring down at him, or what little he could see of him which is a spindly leg kicking in and out of view. The embittered teen huffed out a sigh and charged back down the stairs, jerking the front door open. He snatched Hakuo up by the arm and tugged him inside.
"Don't fucking freeze to death," he muttered as he yanked him over to the couch. "There. Good night."
Falling onto the couch after being shoved at it, he watched after Gev, asking. "About the ride?"
"I'll take you in the morning, get some fucking sleep." He slammed his bedroom door shut.
Hakuo smiled and made himself comfortable on the couch. He can't wait for morning. However; there is one more matter he has to look into before he leaves. Nah. It could wait.
At the Hartford hospital.
A boy struggled to open his eyes when he felt his lids twitching. His eyelids were so thick with weight he almost thought he was blind if it weren't for the misty glow he can see from lighting somewhere overhead. When he tried to open his eyes but failed again he left them shut. What would being able to see matter? Would he even want to?
He tried out his voice when he heard footsteps passing by. 'Who was that?' he wondered. Trying to roll over was impossible so he remained immobile.
He listened to the voices swirling around him, faint, whispering voices. He doesn't know what they're talking about but he wanted to get their attention. But how?
'I'm so tired… But wait… How can I be tired when I'm dead?' Wondered the boy.
Limbs heavy he managed to lift his hand and it dawned on him that he lifted his hand. The dead don't have hands. His heavy lids managed to part, revealing a world of black and white before him. He expected cosmos, clouds, robed people, even goblins- with the way things have been going for him. But what he sees is a room…
x x x
Commentary: I can't even say anything about Chester Bennington's passing. That man was family and I am going to forever be a mess about his being gone. I knew that group since they started, I even named Chester Flint after him- wishing I had picked someone else though… But, man… I never go without one or more of their songs playing in my head. Silent World's had a soundtrack I played when I typed and one of those songs was Linkin Park's 'Waiting for the End'. It was hard to do this chapter because of so many lines but, I didn't wanna change them.
I hope we can all remember to love, and remember that we are loved. Always hold in your heart who you haven't got. Because everyone is important to someone- even if you don't think so- and everyone matters.
Thanks for taking time to read this and that. I'll have more later, and in honor of my man I'll be cheerful next time I commentator. Thank you always.