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Backward Steps from Agony

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Die’s hands pressed to the cold tile of the sink in front of him. He stared down at the porcelain and marble, watching as drop after drop of wetness dampened the basin. He knew the tears were his own, but he couldn’t quite put himself in the same time and place with them. It was as though he had gone into instant separation of body and mind. His body reacted to the pain while his mind drifted through the familiar episode. He could feel his arms trembling, knew his breathing was coming in short panting gasps, and he could even see his vision fading out at the edges from lack of oxygen to the brain. But his mind didn’t seem to care enough to pull him back down to be a part of it. He just let it happen, watching as though he were on the other side of the mirror, helpless and unable to react… frozen in place.

Even when his legs gave out and he crumpled to the floor, he didn’t snap back into it. Instead, he lay there on his back, eyes glassy as he stared up at the ceiling, still itty bitty gasps of air the only thing keeping him conscious.

The outside world didn’t exist right then; even when the door slammed open and someone let out a panicked yell of his name, Die didn’t respond at all. He just lay there wondering if this was what death felt like. If it was, maybe it wasn’t so incredibly bad. His breathing stopped, but he didn’t really mind, his eyes unfocused and rolling in his head, his acceptance of whatever was coming allowing him to not react.

But then there were warm arms around him, a finger pushing into his mouth and the bitter taste of a pill dissolving under his tongue coming to greet him. The first things that hit him when he came back to reality were Kyo’s growled words right in his ear, “Fucking breathe or I’ll fucking make you.” He had no doubt this was the case, his body seeming to understand that he needed to react, a deep breath drawing in, shuddering and pained, but a breath all the same.

Over the next few minutes, Kyo tended to him, making sure he hadn’t hurt himself real bad on the fall, then cradling him against his chest. One hand stroked over his hair, Kyo’s version of a nervous gesture. “Damn it, Die… why do you always do this? You even have the pills on you and you don’t use them right.”

The guitarist made a soft sound and shook his head. “I don’t want to… they taste bad.” The smack that landed on his arm felt like almost nothing at all. He shrugged it off like it wasn’t anything to worry about.

Kyo sighed, shaking his head. “When will you learn? When will you understand I’m not just putting on an act when I say I care?” He got to his feet, reaching out for Die, carefully drawing him to his feet and then helping him into the hotel bedroom, laying him on the bed. “You can’t dwell on the past forever… it’s time to move forward.” He knew the words would sting to the guitarist, but he needed to hear them, and Kyo was tired of holding them back.

Die stared up at him, his eyes distant, sort of sullen and bleak. The clock ticked the minutes away in the corner, the sound almost numbing when it was the only thing happening in the room. Eventually, the guitarist looked away, his eyes full of pain and confusion. "Why would you bring that up?"

The look on Kyo's face betrayed that of immense pain and slight anger, but more than anything, a wealth of caring and compassion that it rarely held for anyone else. "Because you need to let it go... you need to let him go, Die. It's far past time."

Silence prevailed for an extended period of time until Die simply shook his head. "And if I can't let go?" Kyo remained silent for a moment before he let out a somewhat bitter laugh. "Then you'll die this way. Bitter and alone, clutching onto someone who's not coming back." He stood up, shoving his hands into his pockets, staring at the floor long and hard. "You'll become me." And with that, he moved to the door, pulling it open and only pausing long enough to take one glance back over his shoulder.

For almost an hour, Die sat alone in the room, still shaky from the earlier episode, trying to move himself back into reality again and then get on with his night. By the time he was climbing into bed, he'd almost forgotten what Kyo had said as he left the room. But the moment his head hit the pillow, it all came flooding back. You'll become me. and then ... clutching onto someone who's not coming back. Die's heart seized in his chest and he turned over, curling up on his side. He'd never understood why Kyo wanted him to start with, all those years ago, or why he still did. He wasn't anything like the vocalist's usual type. He wasn't dominant and he wasn't a tall, blonde American. He wasn't really much of anything that Kyo generally went for.

His mind drifted back to all those years ago when he and Kyo had decided to at least give a relationship between them a try. It had been a short-lived, month long affair, only a drop in the bucket for either of them. Things had started fine and on a general level, they were so compatible it was almost scary. Everything from the places they loved to eat at together down to the way they kissed was perfect and in tone with one another. But once they'd hit the bedroom, things had broken down and everything had fallen apart like a glass figurine hitting the floor.

To the outsider, Kyo was one to look incredibly dominant. He seemed like the kind of man who would throw you down and fuck your brains to kingdom come. But the truth of the matter was that once inside the bedroom, all of that dropped and left an almost vulnerable boy instead. Kyo wasn't exactly shy, but he didn't want to be the aggressor or the initiator. Rather, he was one to do as he was told and lay back and be fucked. It didn't seem much of a problem at first; Die could deal with topping every now and then. But after a few weeks and a couple conversations, they both came to realize that Die's place had always been on the bottom and he just wasn't comfortable being the dominant person in the bedroom. And as it turned out, Kyo found the idea of sticking his dick into anyone to be rather horrifying, if not disgusting.

From there, it had been easy enough for both of them to understand it just wasn't going to work out. No matter how much they were compatible in every other way, they both liked sex too much to give up that entire portion of their lives to be together. With neither willing to slip into the other role, they simply abandoned the idea of a relationship, settling on the friendship they had at their base and continuing forward with their lives on a more individual level.

It had seemed easy enough, felt like things were okay. But honestly, there were times in which Die could tell Kyo was struggling to keep himself in his own little bubble and out of Die's. In particular, any time that the vocalist consumed any amount of alcohol. It was never anyone else that Kyo went rushing to, that Kyo tried to feel up or make out with in a darkened corner. It was always Die. But somehow, the guitarist had convinced himself that it was just because they knew the kissing was good and Kyo was a horny drunk.

Die rolled over onto his back, pushing some of his hair away from his forehead, his eyes narrowing on the ceiling, his mind careening forward in time. Dark brown eyes, jet black hair, and skin he could have sworn belonged on a god. A mouth like that of an angel, cheekbones he admired and wished he could have. Kirito... the man he'd grown to love over the past two years. The man he thought he'd be spending the rest of his life with.

Just the thought of him, of the time they'd spent together spiraled warmth through Die's body, coiled it deep in the pit of his stomach and warmed the furthest parts of his heart. But then in an instant, he felt as though he'd been doused in ice cold water, the memory of the other walking out his front door, a box of his things in his arms. He had refused to tell why he was leaving; only claiming that the love had gone. That was almost a year ago now and he hadn't heard a word from him since. The only problem was that Die had given his everything to Kirito, and then he'd walked out like he was nothing. Some part of him was still clinging to the hope that he'd come back, that he'd love him again.... that maybe he'd be enough one day even if he wasn't right then.

And it was that realization that actually brought the tears to his eyes this time. This was how Kyo had been feeling all these years. This wrenching agony inside, the painful rip of his heart at even the thought of the other man. He couldn't even imagine how he'd feel if he were confronted with him on a daily basis. It was too painful to even think about. Letting out a soft whimper, he rolled over again, this time grabbing his phone from the nightstand and dialing Kyo's number, pressing the phone to his ear.

It was four rings before Kyo answered, his voice hoarse and sort of groggy sounding. "Die?"

"It's me," he murmured, sniffing a bit and grabbing a tissue to dab at his eyes. "I want... no... I need to talk to you."

He heard some rustling around. "I'll be right there." And then a click, the line dead. Die stared down at the phone and then pushed it back on the nightstand, getting up and going to the door, waiting on Kyo to come. His heart wrenched again in his chest and he wondered if he was doing the right thing. Maybe he was... and maybe he wasn't. But right then, he just felt like he finally understood what Kyo had been going through, and he felt like he wanted to make up for it in any way possible.

Die wiped a hand over his eyes again, mopping up the stray tears. The minutes ticked by until finally there was a soft knock at his door. Peering out, he could see the blonde fluff that was Kyo's hair through the peephole. Opening up, he let the vocalist in. The door clicked shut behind them and he flipped the lock before heading right back to the warmth of the bed. Settling down, he patted beside him.

Kyo hesitated, stopping halfway there and giving Die a wary look before he finally just removed his shoes and climbed onto the bed next to him. "Are you okay?" he asked quietly, concern lacing his voice.

"I don't know," came Die's reply. "I suppose it depends on what is okay and what isn't."

Kyo just sighed, playing with the hem of his black pajama pants. "Out with it. Why did you call me over in the middle of the night?"

For a long moment, Die just bit on his lower lip, his eyes watching Kyo's hands pluck at his clothing. He reached out, grasping one of those hands in his own. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I never knew what you were going through and I'm sorry I couldn't understand until now." He frowned, finally looking up to meet Kyo's eyes. "I never meant to hurt you like this. It was never my intention."

Kyo nodded a little. "I know. He never meant for it to hurt you like this, either, Die. It's a part of being human. We hurt one another... sometimes without intention and sometimes with." One small shoulder lifted and then lowered in a half-hearted shrug. "Life."

"It doesn't have to be this way. I... I don't want to be hurting you anymore." Die's voice wavered a little, betraying how guilty he felt for how things had gone.

For a moment Kyo's eyes were bright, almost happy, but then they flashed back to darkness and regret. "Don't give me false hope... it only hurt more." He drew his hand back, starting to stand up. "I don't need your pity."

"But you want my love, right?" He waited on affirmation, receiving it in a curt little nod. "I want to try again, Kyo. I... we only had problems because of the sex. Everything else was perfect. I think I'm grown up enough now to understand that I shouldn't place so much on sex. It shouldn't matter as much as I was letting it. Sex can be great, but it doesn't mean the other person loves you... but love is something rarely two-sided. Please... just give me another chance."

Kyo stared at him, one knee still on the bed, his eyes holding something that was achingly close to fear. "You... you love me?" he asked quietly, obviously scared of the answer.

"I never stopped... I just thought we couldn't work it out, and I could still be friends with you so it wasn't hurting me. I hate that it's been crushing you all this time and I never even realized how badly." He held out his hand. "Please."

Achingly slowly, Kyo sat back down on the bed, confusion written all over his face. "Promise me, I'm not just something to make you feel better that you'll throw aside once you're okay again."

Die shook his head. "I'd never do that to you." He ran his hand through his hair. "It's been a year. I should be over this. But I'm not because I haven't moved on. I can't move on unless I actually do it. And I want it to be with you."

Kyo shifted closer, settling down right at Die's side. "I can't just turn off the part of me that wants you, Die. I mean, I've stopped drinking so I don't embarrass myself by crawling all over you. But I'm still human... I still have wants and desires, and I still crave physical affection."

Reaching over, Die curled his fingers around Kyo's, linking their hands. "I know. Me, too." He let out a quiet sigh. "I'm willing to do what I did before... but I still need things the other way around sometimes." He ducked his head a little. "It's what makes me feel needed." He hated admitting it, but he knew he had to.

The room was quiet for a moment before Kyo murmured, "I can promise to try... we'll work on figuring something out. Okay?"

Die gave him a little smile, letting go of his hand and reaching to wrap his arms around Kyo's waist. "That's good enough for me." He pressed a soft kiss to Kyo's forehead before shifting to lie down. "Stay here tonight." Kyo didn't argue, just laying down beside him and reaching to flip off the lamp beside the bed while Die tugged the covers up around them. Once they were back in one another's arms, it didn't take either of them long to drift off to sleep, a certain amount of comfort filling the small room, and smiles on their faces.

The End