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Under the sky, beside the waves

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Gentle stillness stretched out across the sky, letting each star just twinkle in silent peace. Views like this were why Takaki loved the beach so much. He couldn’t look up at the stars like this in Tokyo, couldn’t appreciate the ever-present sound of crashing waves or the feel of the breeze against his skin.

He needed this right now.

It was 3am but he couldn’t stay in that hotel room with Hikaru any longer. If he did, he felt like the walls would just collapse in on him, just like their whole relationship had collapsed only a few hours ago.

Inevitable. He knew it. Hikaru knew it. But denial was a funny powerful thing, and they’d fooled themselves into thinking this trip could salvage something that was already broken.

Takaki took a deep breath, letting the salty air fill up his lungs before he sighed. It wasn’t that he didn’t love Hikaru. He could name countless things about Hikaru that always made him smile. The way he scattered papers around the room when he was writing music, the way the sun reflected off his face even on cloudy days, the way he leaned forward in anticipation whenever he wanted someone to try a new food, the way his fingertips danced across his skin when…

Takaki buried his toes in the cold sand, focusing a moment on that grainy feeling to bring him back to reality, like a jolt of electricity to remind him to think straight. Because he couldn’t let himself get swept away by these nice memories. He wished he could just take all the memories—all the time spent—and put them in a bottle to toss out to sea. Let it float away and let someone else deal with it.

Because no matter how nice the good times were, they didn’t erase all the multitude of bad times that had piled up. Just one snide comment, one offhand insult, just one word could set them off. He knew they were both to blame for the flared tempers and stuffy silences. But it wasn’t even just the arguments. No, that was just a symptom of the poison that had taken root within their relationship.

He knew that.

He and Hikaru didn’t connect. Not anymore. It was like he had jumped onto a parallel set of train tracks and Hikaru had stayed behind. They were still going in the same direction, but not together anymore. He could reach his hand out, stretch the fingers as far as they could go, but Hikaru was no longer traveling with him.

Takaki wanted Hikaru to be happy, and if he was being honest, he wanted himself to be happy again too.

And now finally, after months of slowly sinking further and further into this mess, they could both see that happiness was easier when they were apart.

But damn if there wasn’t an empty pit of loneliness right now settling down into his bones. He’d get over it in time, he knew, but that didn’t make it hurt any less.

Takaki looked up at the stars again spread out over the ocean like glitter on a canvas, like somebody’s art project proudly put on display. He listened to the constant sound of crashing waves and felt the breeze against his skin.

Later, when he got up to go inside, he could see Hikaru standing on the hotel balcony looking at the sky too, the smoke from his cigarette rising silently up to meet the stars.