grammar losers lose grammar wise (inappropri8) wrote,
grammar losers lose grammar wise

[one-shot] withering

Title: Withering
Length: Oneshot, 1,664 words
Author: inappropri8 
Genre:  secret agent!AU, angst, (still)
Rating:  PG-13 (still)
Pairing: Written as Ryo/Uchi. But so damn vague it could go any way (still)
Warnings: 2nd person again. And angsty, again. (still)
Comments: I just couldn’t leave it well enough alone, could I? This is a follow up to Not That You’d Admit It. It ended far too sad for my taste and I can’t have even vague-almost-kind-of-possible character death. Told from the opposite point of view as the last one, still second person, still vague enough for any pairing.

You don’t attend his funeral. You don’t think you have any right to. You receive an invitation in the mail, plain and nondescript. The people he worked with know he cared about you, or at least trusted you. They don’t know you killed him, sent him off to his death. They know you didn’t pull the trigger and that’s good enough for them. It would have been good enough for him, too. But it’s not enough for you, not enough to deserve to see him off.

You cry for a week straight. For seven days you shed tears on his account, not leaving your apartment, not eating, drinking nothing but sake. You still have a job, still have work to do, but you can’t bring yourself to do it now that he’s gone because it was that job that killed him, took him from you.

You try blaming your work. You try blaming the man you work for. You try blaming the disposable lowlives who shot him. You think that he didn’t deserve to die, and you know his death should have been more than a gun in the hands of a common thug. If you were going to kill him, you tell yourself in the deep dark of your apartment when the hours and days are starting to run together, you should have done it yourself. Because he deserved more.

You’re not enough, either. Not enough to kill him; not enough to love him.

You recall the first time you realized you loved him. The two of you had just been ambushed in the Somalian desert and you thought he betrayed you. So you turned your pistol on him and stared down the barrel at the man you loved. And that’s what you thought, that the man you were pointing a gun at was the man you loved. And it clicked, in a weird way, that by loving him you had to trust him. So you lowered your gun and swore to never threaten his life, never betray him ever again.

You just want to die thinking of what you’ve done. You just want to curl up in a ball and cease to exist. Maybe if there’s an afterlife, you’ll meet him there. You’d both go to hell, you know. You’d be in a deeper circle though, the deepest you can go; the ninth circle, because betraying the one you love is unforgivable. It’s suitable, you think, that you won’t even be able to be with him when you’re dead. But at least if you’re dead, you won’t have to think about how you killed him, even after he told you he loved you.

Reciprocation was never something you wanted. You knew it was an impossible, painful wish, so you never even acknowledged the possibility. It was almost cruel of him to tell you right before you killed him, as if you didn’t regret it enough before, as if you didn’t hate yourself enough already.

But it’s not his fault, it’s anyone’s fault but his; it’s yours.

On the eighth day you leave your apartment. You look like hell, you’re sure; a week of not eating or sleeping will take a toll on even the prettiest of people.

He’d always tell you you were pretty. Before you thought he’d say it in jest, to mock and upset you, but you’ve realized he probably meant it, in a nice way. Or as nice of a way as can be expected from him. You’d always though the sparkle in his eye when he’d call you pretty was one of mischief and teasing. That sparkle, you learned too late, was a different sort. It was there when he told you he loved you. And you regret not seeing it sooner.

You pull your coat tight around your face, bury your hands deep in your pockets and walk down the cobblestone street to the last place you saw him. The bar is smoky and dark, like always, and the music is soft, like always. You sit in the seat you sat on before, and stare at his empty stool. You’re sentimental and silly; you order what he drank that night. The barkeep looks at you, pushes the bowl of peanuts at you and tells you to eat.

You do, blindly, waiting for your drink. The bartender watches you eat and it’s almost like he refuses to give you your drink until you’ve eaten the entire bowl. Each peanut you swallow is like stone, and you can feel your stomach acids attack the nuts, electing an almost painful hunger that you’d long grown numb to. You devour the food in seconds, suddenly ravenous and you want more. A stale loaf of bread appears before you and you rip it apart, shove hard chunks into your mouth. Halfway through, your insides start to hurt, you vaguely wonder on poison and then there’s a glass of vodka in your hand. You swallow it in one go, get another and you start to feel better.

The alcohol burns, you wonder how he could have enjoyed this. But by your fourth glass, it’s grown on you and suddenly, drinking his drink isn’t enough. So you switch over to his stool and you expected to feel something different, but there’s nothing special about it. Except the feeling that he sat here the last time you saw him. That thought alone is enough to send you over the edge and you start sobbing, loudly at first, and the people in the bar look at you like your crazy. And you are, so you keep crying.

You loose strength and your sobs become whimpers, and the tears running down your face must be made of vodka; there’s no other liquid in your body anymore. You smile a bit, you’re on your way to withering away and dying, just like you wanted, and motion for a refill.

Your elbows are on the bar, your hands curled around the glass, holding it near your face. You nurse your drink, tears slipping in so the liquid stings of salt as well as burns of alcohol every time you manage to tilt the glass to your lips. The barkeep put another bowl of peanuts in front of you, but you don’t partake; you’re withering now, and peanuts will only impede that process.

Someone slides into the seat next to you, almost silently. You can only tell they’re there because their leg has entered your field of vision, and their body heat is painfully reminiscent of his. You look at them over your arm and the glass slips from your fingers, tumbled off of the bar and crashes on the floor. You don’t notice. He’s here, next to you, sitting in your seat.

“How’ve you been?” He asks and you’re sure it’s a hallucination. He wouldn’t ask that, not after all that’s happened. You wonder again on poison, how you haven’t felt right since that bowl of nuts. You try to shoot the bartender a scathing look, but your vision swims.

He’s preoccupied anyway, because the man sitting next to you asks, “How many has he had?”

“Six,” the barkeep says, “But on an empty stomach. Seems like he hasn’t eaten in days.”

He nods and turns back to you, wiping the spilled vodka and the bartender puts a glass of ice water on the napkin. “Drink it.” He says, and you do. The cold hurts your throat, you can feel it flow down your esophagus and into your stomach and you don’t like that feeling. He stares ate you, and there’s a sparkle in his eye but it’s almost masked by other emotions. Sorrow, worry, regret, they all overtake his face; the same emotions you looked at him with the last time you saw him.

Your hands are on his face, you feel the contours of his cheeks and the soft skin of his eyelids. You wonder if he’s real and the words escape your lips in a hoarse whisper. Then your mouth is on his and you’re kissing him to prove he’s real. He kisses back, wraps his arms around you and you cling to him. He pulls away, “You’re so thin.” He says and his eyes shine with tears.

“And you’re dead.” You say against his lips and kiss him again.


You don’t attend your own funeral. That’d just be silly. Faking your death means disappearing. He came back for you before he disappeared. But he’s here, his hand is in yours and you have nothing to go back for. The two of you go back too Japan on a commercial flight, business class. You say you can’t remember the last time you flew like a normal person. He says he can’t remember the last time he was home.

He keeps telling you he loves you and you say it back. He says you’re pretty and you kiss him, not caring about his vague noises of protest. He grins against your lips, and says he’s happy.

You smile back. You are too.

You let him take care of things when you land. You don’t care where you go, what you do, as long as he’s with you. He buys a car, an old jeep the seller swears works like new. You sleep while he drives and he doesn’t wake you until the car is stopped at a beach. It’s a small costal town south of Osaka. The sun is setting, and he leads you down the beach. You role up your pants, he doesn’t bother, and the two of you walk hand in hand into the surf. He kisses you, “I love you so much.” And grins at you, eye sparkling. You grin back and squeeze his hand. He points at the sunset, mentions how beautiful it is, but you don’t look. He’s there, holding your hand and smiling; the setting sun could implode for all you care, as long as you can be with him.


AN: Whenever I try not to write angst, it comes out way to sappy. But I don’t care, I’m a sucker for a happy ending. If you care to know, I imagine they meet the rest of Eito in Kushimoto (which is where I randomly decided they live, for no reason except it’s by the beach and still near Osaka. It looks nice on Wikipedia) and the eight of them are all awesome friendliness like in the Okinawa section of the 47 prefecture tour photobook. Except eight. And not as sunburned.

Tags: fic
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