Their eyes meet from opposite sides of the room. Catch. Hold.
Dōmeki flinches under the scrutiny of the other man’s gaze—not because there is anything especially accusing or angry about that look, but because there should be. There should be, but there isn’t.
The only emotion in that distant expression is something resembling confusion, possibly even curiosity. If Dōmeki was less of a cynic, he might entertain the possibility that maybe something in Watanuki still recognizes him, loves him. But he knows that’s not possible.
After all, he was the one who had sought out Yūko when Watanuki had become ill—when it had become apparent that the cancer was going to win. How could anyone have expected him to sit idly by? So he’d done the only thing he could.
“Do it. Take away his love for me,” he’d said. “Take his memory of me. Do what you must. Just make him better. Save him.”
It had been the right choice. Right?
Stiffly, Dōmeki offers the stranger with his lover’s face a tense smile and wonders if the pain will ever truly fade.