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The following week was rough for Sykkuno. It was hard to adjust to not using his arm for most things, like getting cups out of cabinets or even getting dressed for the day. He could still use his hand but most motions that required his shoulder hurt too much. He felt so bad for making his parents and friends do just about everything for him. Especially Corpse, who came home with him every day after school to make sure he was cared for. He would make food for him if his parents had to work late, help him do simple chores, and before he got used to dressing one-handed, he would (much to Sykkuno’s embarrassment) help him change clothes. Appropriately, of course, because neither was ready for that. 

But despite him seeing Corpse every day, there was something off. His mind seemed to be lost in thought a lot more often than usual, whenever Sykkuno tried to talk to him, he would usually get simple responses like shrugs or nods. Whenever the brunette tried to hug or hold hands, it would either be met with resistance or avoided completely. It hurt the more it happened and Sykkuno just wanted to fix things. In his mind, he rationalized that he was still working over his own things about what occurred but a part of him was starting to believe there was something else going on that Corpse wasn’t telling him about. 

The worst part about this whole ordeal was the fact Corpse knew Sykkuno was hurting. He knew that each subtle rejection and the silence only made him blame himself, only made him cry to himself every time he left. What tipped Sykkuno off was the stares whenever Corpse thought he wasn’t looking, or just the very brief flashes of emotion that crossed his features every time Sykkuno tried to hug him. And yet despite knowing what his actions were doing to him, Corpse still did it. Sykkuno should be mad at him, he knows he should, but he can’t bring himself to be. 

They were sitting across from one another, Sykkuno munching on the grilled cheese that was made for him. Corpse hadn’t made himself one and instead opted to stare at the surface of the table. In fact, he’s been eating a lot less often after that night, only eating certain vegetables every now and then. He has expressed his concerns already but just like everything else, they were met with only a shrug. It was Friday now, his parents would be home in an hour and Corpse would leave for the day. He wasn’t sure if he’d end up seeing him this weekend and Sykkuno wanted to at least try to talk about it. 

“Uhm, Corpse?” The junior, who was wearing his face mask (another fact that worried Sykkuno) met his eyes. Unlike in the past, they were guarded and he couldn’t tell anything from them. But at least he got his attention. “Is everything okay? Y-You’ve been different since…” He trailed off, unsure of how to phrase what he wanted to say. But Corpse was able to get it and once again, his gaze returned to the table. 

‘I’m fine’ Well, at least he actually signed something for once. And if all the other evidence that has been piling up over the past week wasn’t enough to convince Sykkuno, the shake of his boyfriend’s hands would definitely do the trick. There was more than just his familial issues that were eating away at him and Sykkuno was determined to find out what. 

“No, you’re not.” He tried his best to control his voice but the hesitance still crept its way in. Corpse didn’t move and Sykkuno sighed, setting his plate to the side so he could pull himself to the seat next to him. He made a move to grab his hand that was resting on the table but Corpse immediately set it onto his lap out of reach. Sykkuno had to ignore the tightening of his chest. 

“Corpse, please. I-” His throat felt awfully tense and he had to blink away the tears already forming. But he couldn’t stop the quiver of his bottom lip or the way his voice sounded so shaky and uneven to his ears. “I can’t t-take his silent treatment a-anymore. What did I d-do to upset you? Please, I c-can’t do this.” Corpse looked up at that, his eyes unveiling the first emotions he’s seen in a while. Guilt, of course, it was guilt. He always seemed to blame himself for everything. Sykkuno watched through blurry eyes as he brought his hands back into view. 

‘It’s not you’ Corpse seemed like there was more he wanted to tell, his hands halted halfway through some words that Sykkuno couldn’t quite make out yet. ‘Please don’t cry’ Was what his boyfriend settled on instead and that made the tears come on full force. It all came crashing down from there. Sykkuno rubbed at his eyes, letting the water flow freely down his cheeks. He no longer cared about hiding it or the way he hiccuped through his words. 

“H-How could I n-not?” Out of his peripheral, he could see Corpse’s hand hovering over his shoulder. “Y-You’ve barely t-talked to me, y-you rejected,” He swallowed the lump in his throat, “rejected e-every h-hug. I-It hurts, Corpse. I-It h-hurts so m-much.” And just like that, the feeling of being enveloped in the arms of his boyfriend washed over him. It was such a comforting thing, something that always seemed to calm him. This was no exception and he found himself hugging back so he could sob into Corpse’s shoulder. Deft fingers worked on scratching the back of his head, the other hand rubbing circles up and down his spine. 

Sykkuno gripped onto his boyfriend’s hoodie like it was his lifeline, afraid that if he let go he would disappear. He was terrified that if he opened his eyes, he would wake up in the dark of his room, the alarm clock next to his bed glaring at him with bright red numbers that read some ungodly hour of the morning. He needed this to be a reality. He didn’t want to lose Corpse. But the hands that were coaxing him to be calm were on his shoulders, pushing him away every so slightly so he could meet the eyes of the man himself. He was barely able to interpret the apology the mute signed, his mind too focused on everything else. 

“P-Please Corpse, tell m-me what's wrong.” He was begging at this point but couldn’t bring himself to feel embarrassed by the fact. Sykkuno would do just about anything at this point, he was desperate to help his boyfriend feel better. But he didn’t know how to do that and wouldn’t know until Corpse just tells him. But the man in question looked conflicted, pained, and sad all at once, his eyes pinned on something above Sykkuno’s head before finally meeting him again. 

‘I want to but I’ Sykkuno let himself get hopeful, he knew it would end up with him getting hurt more, but he wanted to have faith that Corpse trusted him with everything. That Corpse trusted him with whatever he was hiding. ‘I can’t’ It seemed he was wrong. And it appeared that the raven-haired man didn’t trust him enough to even stay anymore. Because before Sykkuno knew it, he was out of his chair heading for the front door, only stopping to grab his backpack laying next to the couch. 

Sykkuno all but stumbled to the door, using his one good arm to hold onto his boyfriend’s hand. Corpse was stronger than him in every way and yet, he didn’t force himself out of his grip. It was a start, at least. The door was already open halfway and he choked around the sob clutching at his throat. 

“Don’t leave. Please.” He shut his eyes, a hand covering his mouth to muffle the noises he was making. Sykkuno hated the way he sounded when he cried and the last thing he needed was to give Corpse another reason to leave. He would endure the way his shoulder screamed in protest at the movement of it. The arm he was gripped pulled itself free and Sykkuno let his limb dangle, his legs finally giving out. His body dropped to the floor, the brunette bending over his knees so let himself cry freely. He knew relationships could be rough but he had no idea they could get this bad.  

Corpse’s knuckle gently lifted his head up, his body following suit with the help of his hand. He was still sitting except this time he was graced with the vision of his maskless boyfriend. His eyes were glossy and he cupped his cheek, placing a kiss on his forehead with the softest of lips. His eyes fluttered closed once more. 

“So...rry.” 

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Corpse felt like he was going to be sick. He had forgotten to put his facemask on, but it's not like it would have mattered because his hand was clamped tight around his mouth. Yeah, he was definitely going to be sick when he got home. 

“So...rry.” His own voice had sounded so unfamiliar to him. Despite him wanting it to come out clearly, it was more like a whisper. If he hadn’t caught the look of shock on Sykkuno’s face before he ran out of his house, he wouldn’t believe that the brunette heard it at all. It was deep, deeper than he remembered it being, and there was so much rasp to it. But more than anything else, it was painful. So incredibly painful to even form the word. 

Corpse was sitting in the hospital, his hands holding onto that of his sleeping Sykkuno. He looked so peaceful, despite the way his shoulder was wrapped and his arm secured to his chest. His cheeks were wet from tears, the junior positive that he’s cried all that he’s had left. It was because of him that Sykkuno was laying in that bed right now anyway. Had he just believed his own instinct that someone was watching him, he could’ve prevented all of this. But he was too stubborn. The brunette’s parents walked in, finally done dealing with all the legal proceedings for the moment. For the hundredth time that day, Corpse found himself signing an apology. Luckily, it was one of the few signs they knew. 

“Stop apologizing sweetheart, we don’t blame you for what happened to Sykkuno.” His mom found her way next to him, bending over so she could pull him into a hug. He wasn’t expecting it, but he wasn’t against it. He shed a few more tears, embracing her with just as much fervor. “You saved his life.” She whispered, pulling back to give him the warmest smile through her sobs. He wasn’t wearing his mask, they had seen it during the fight. 

“And you can’t blame yourself because that piece of shit was your dad.” Corpse caught the sneer on Mr. Shao’s face at the mention of his, in his words, POS dad. That didn’t make him feel better though but at least Sykkuno’s parents didn’t hate him. He looked past the man’s shoulder to see his adoptive mom walk in. She was wearing her nursing scrubs, another woman he didn’t recognize following in after her with a computer. 

“Good afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Shao. I’m here to check up on Thomas.” She smiled, Sykkuno’s father moving out of the way so she could get his vitals, relaying the information to the other woman who typed it down dutifully before leaving. Mykie’s mother made her way around the bed, putting her hands on Corpse’s shoulder and planting a kiss on the top of his head. He hadn’t talked to her since they left Sykkuno’s house. 

“I’m very sorry about what happened to Thomas, he is such a nice young man.” It occurred to Corpse that this was the first time they’ve met. He wished it was under better circumstances but he was thankful that his adoptive mom was assigned as Sykkuno’s nurse. There was no one he would have trusted more. 

“Thank you.” The nurse’s hand turned his head, signing to ask if he was okay or if he needed anyone. He shook his head, returning his attention to the sleeping brunette. “Corpse told us about his biological parents. You were very kind to remove him from that situation.” Corpse tuned them out after that, not wanting to be reminded of any of that right now. Instead, his mind drifted back to when Sykkuno got shot. His vision had turned red and if the brunette’s parents hadn’t walked in when they did, there was a good chance that Corpse would have done something incredibly stupid. The kind of stupid that would’ve ended with him going to jail. 

But that’s not what his mind was focused on at the moment. No, it was trained on the memory of the pain that pierced his throat. He wasn’t sure what caused it, but the more he thought about it, the more he was beginning to piece it together. In the back of his mind, he remembered hearing something underneath Sykkuno’s own voice. And now, he could recognize it as a scream. From him. He had screamed. His vocal cords had made a sound. And it hurt like a bitch. 

And so that’s how Corpse found himself in speech therapy. He had told his mom the day after and she took him to see his, in lack of better terms, throat doctor. He had asked several questions, such as if there were any other indicators or if he had changed his diet. In all honesty, Mykie started a new diet that she made Corpse participate in. He didn’t think that would have helped his voice. He didn’t think anything could. 

But he hadn’t been able to make a sound since that day. He spent an hour every day from 7 to 8 pm in speech therapy, doing many vocal warm-ups that either killed his throat or didn’t help. It was frustrating. While Corpse hated the way his voice sounded, there were so many things he wanted to say to Sykkuno. He wanted to tell Sykkuno how amazing he was, how much he appreciated him, and all the little things that he loved. His boyfriend was what drove him to actually work on getting his voice back. 

So why couldn’t he tell Sykkuno what was bothering him? 

It was easy. My voice is back , that’s all he had to sign. But every time he tried, his hands would start shaking and he no longer felt like he could breathe. He trusted Sykkuno more than anything, he knew that his boyfriend wouldn’t leave or hate him for how his voice sounds. He wouldn’t do that. Right? 

He thought that about Delilah too. Corpse believed she was genuine with him but it was all a facade. The longer they dated, the more he grew to despise everything about his voice. Every time he talked, she would sneer and insult him, throw whatever she was holding at him no matter how dangerous it was. And eventually, he accepted what she said. He accepted that his voice was disgusting in every sense of the word. Why would Sykkuno be any different? 

Corpse knew the answer to that. Sykkuno was the kindest person to ever exist, he was perfect in every way. He wasn’t the type to judge others based on what they sounded like and deep down, he knew that his being able to talk wouldn’t change their relationship. What he was doing was selfish and because of it, he made Sykkuno cry. And when he finally had the nerve to actually tell him, he managed to get out one word after a week of nothing. 

Corpse didn’t go to speech therapy that night. His parents were ready to leave by the time he got home but he chose to run past them and barricade himself in his room. They were knocking at his door, asking him to let them in; he just pulled his knees to his chest and cried. Why couldn’t his voice just work? Why did it have to hurt? Why did he have to fuck up everything good in his life? He left Sykkuno there crying. Alone. 

He stayed there, sitting on the floor for an hour before he heard another knock. A voice filtered in, one belonging to Mykie’s mom, asking if they could come in. Deciding he didn’t want to be alone anymore, he pulled himself off the ground and unlocked the door. He went back to his spot, grabbing the soft black blanket on his bed and wrapping himself up as he sat. The only thing visible was his face. The two adults entered the room, closing the door behind them and flicking the lights on. He winced at the sudden brightness but didn’t complain as they took a seat across from him on the floor. 

“Corpse? Is this about speech therapy? I know it’s frustrating but these things take time.” When he didn’t answer, it was Mykie’s dad that spoke next. 

“Is this about Sykkuno?” They knew they hit a spot when he flinched. Corpse knew he was going to have to come clean. They didn’t know he was in a relationship with Sykkuno. Hell, they didn’t even know he was gay. He was so scared to tell them, terrified that they would react in a way his biological parents would. He didn’t want to disappoint them. “Corpse, there was nothing you could’ve done.” 

Corpse let the blanket fall slightly to free his arms, pausing as he figured out what he wanted to say. He figured he should just go for it, rip off the bandaid and get it done. There was no way he could beat around the bush. ‘I’m gay and Sykkuno is my boyfriend’ He couldn’t look at them, Corpse didn’t need to see how much they hated him. Instead, though, he felt a pair of hands on his cheeks, making him look at them. They were smiling. 

“We know. And we love you no matter what.” She pulled him into a hug. “You don’t have to call us mom and dad but you are our son and we love you just as much as we love Mykie. Nothing will change that.” Corpse hugged them back like his life depended on it, letting himself cry on Mykie’s parents-no- his parent's shoulders. No more hiding, he was done. 

I promise Sykkuno, I won't keep secrets from you anymore.