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Silver Days

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I watch the door but no one comes through
I watch the sun painting pictures of you
Nothing I do can kill the chill inside

Suoh Mikoto liked to take his time.

To a bystander it might have looked as though he were weighing the consequences of each action, but really, Suoh just wanted the world to slow down with him.

Shortly after Reisi had figured this out, they had become friends. Not the sort of friends who helped each other hide the bodies -- that was strictly Kusanagi's province; Reisi believed in obeying the law -- but the sort of friends who trusted each other, at least. The friendship had happened over a pickup baseball game, not over Reisi's realisation about Suoh's nature, but the events had coincided, and at the age of sixteen, Reisi hadn't yet had much use for nuance.

At that time, Reisi hadn't known why he just couldn't leave Suoh alone. Everything about Suoh had fascinated him: his grades, how he dressed, the things he liked to eat and drink, the video games he played, the girls whose love letters he ignored, the way he deliberated every last word he spoke.

Two years passed before Reisi had figured out that his obsessive interest had been a crush all along, and that had only happened because Suoh had grown tired of waiting for Reisi to buy himself a clue. He liked to take his time, but that didn't make him patient. The patient waited on the world.

Suoh especially liked to take his time when he had Reisi pinned to the ratty futon in the disused club room the third-years had taken over. Soft weight of Suoh's lips against Reisi's belly, slow. Warm slide of fingertips along his ribcage, slow. Reisi would exhale Suoh's name into the cold, damp air as he teetered on the brink of begging. Every time, he longed to see Suoh frantic, sloppy, but Suoh fucked just like he laughed: slow and easy.

Winding up on opposite sides did nothing to their world, a world with an endless parade of hideaways where Suoh could take his time and Reisi could take off his mask, where they could still be friends. Most of the world outside would judge them more than friends, but neither had a need to call the other anything else.

Endless, Reisi had thought that world of theirs, but of course everything had to end.

*

The Red Sword of Damocles began to descend, and Suoh smiled while Reisi winced.

If that fell, the evacuation would have been for naught. They would all perish: not just Reisi's subordinates but Suoh's too, and all the schoolchildren with them, and who knew how many others?

He charged Suoh, sabre aimed true. He had done this countless times before, but never to a friend; never for a friend, so when the blade sliced through skin and flesh and gristle and lifeblood, Reisi's eyes squeezed themselves shut. Like a child, he wished to wake from this long, awful nightmare, bathed in cold sweat, and find Suoh next to him -- whole, unbloodied, dreaming.

Suoh embraced him, and Reisi's mad reverie ended.

"I'm sorry, Anna," Suoh said. "I won't be able to show you that lovely red any more."

"I'll pass it on," Reisi mumbled. The weight of Suoh's hand on his shoulder was far heavier than he remembered.

Suoh whispered: "I'm sorry, Reisi."

"Now you call me by my name?" Reisi's voice wavered like a loose guitar string. "Took you fucking long enough."

"I'm glad you've dropped the polite speech at the last," Suoh said. His fingers squeezed Reisi's shoulder. "Until next time, yeah?"

"Yeah." Reisi's mouth formed the word but his vocal cords were too numb except to squeak. "I'll see you later, Mikoto."

"Thanks for having their backs. I knew you would."

He'd been talking so much that Reisi had begun to hope that his blade had -- by some wild chance -- missed, that the wound had been just enough to fool the link with the Sword of Damocles but not fatal, that if he could just get Suoh up on his shoulder, he could take him to a hospital--

Suoh's grip on his shoulder slackened. He sagged against Reisi, all give, like a wind-up puppet whose gears had just squeezed out their very last turn.

In the end, even death had come at Suoh's leisure.

Reisi laid Suoh down in the snow they had trampled and knelt by his side, eyes shut. He couldn't bear to look at Suoh's slackened face; he wanted to remember him smiling. He was quick to smile, Reisi realised. Not just smile: he was quick to decide. That was what had killed him, in the end.

The voice of Reisi's father began to murmur, etching streaks of acid through his grief. Of course you'd think that, but face it: you killed him. You could have let the Sword of Damocles fall and died together, but you chose life. Life for yourself, death for your friend. You can fool the rest of them but you can't fool me, twerp.

"Shut up," Reisi whispered. He tugged Suoh's necklace down by one side, found the clasp, worked it open, and threaded the chain through his fingers as he pulled the star-shaped pendant away from Suoh's chest. Clutching it in his fist, he stood up straight and raised his face to the clouds.

There had been four people on this island just moments ago -- he, Suoh, the Silver King, and the Colourless King. Four people. Four Kings. Four killers. And now he was alone. Life for yourself. Death for your friend.

In his mind's clouded eye, Suoh still wore that slow smile he'd saved only for Reisi. It was time to go, before he answered temptation's call and had one last look at the face that would only smile again in the next life, with different lips and different eyes.

The star pendant's edges gouged deep grooves in his palm as Reisi headed for the bridge. As he squeezed his fist tighter, his skin broke. Blood trickled along the pendant, some of it seeping through his knuckles, leaving lovely red dots beside his footprints in the snow.

[end]


Where are you now?
Will I ever know?
Is it somewhere I can find you?
Somewhere the sun always shines.