[identity profile] stormymood.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] arashi_exchange
A piece of rainbow for [livejournal.com profile] learashi Part 3



Light, light, where's the light?

Someone please bring it back.



There's a green rose in his hand. It took him a long time to find it, but he didn't want to show up with a white one.

It's the exact shade of green that Masaki favors for his clothing.

The color of the scarf he was wearing on that night.


----------
When Jun opened his eyes, he was in a white room. "Where am I?" he said aloud. His voice came out funny. His throat hurt.

He remembered screaming.

The park.

Masaki!

"MASAKI!" Jun yelled. He rushed out of the room. "MASAKI! MASAKI! MASAKI!"

A woman clad in blue scrubs came in his aid. "Matsumoto-san!"

"Where is Masaki? He was with me. He needs help. Where is he?"

The woman's face went somber.

She guided Jun to a chilly room. There was someone lying on a table, covered by a sheet. The woman pulled it down.

"Masaki…"

Jun broke in tears.
----------


Jun is wearing Masaki's scarf. The nurse gave it to him when they were in the morgue. She wasn't supposed to let him keep it, since the hospital had to hand all of Masaki's personal effects to his family. Perhaps she just let Jun have it out of pity.

When he enters the room where they're holding Masaki's funeral, everyone turns to look at him. They whisper behind their hands, as if Jun couldn't see them. Suddenly, a young man stands up and walks straight towards Jun.

"Get out. You're not welcome here," he says. His eyes are so cold when they meet Jun's that a shiver goes down Jun's spine. "This is your fault! If it wasn't for you, my brother…" The young man's voice cracks. He clenches his jaw and continues glaring at Jun. "Go away, Matsumoto."

Now everyone is looking at them. They seem furious, and Jun suddenly feels so small. It was a bad idea to come. The voices around him get louder. "Yes, it's him! He's the guy who got Masaki killed! He's the culprit!" The room is spinning. It's so dark, so dark. Jun wants to move, but he can't. He opens his mouth to defend himself, and no sound comes out. Something hot burns behind his eyes, and then slides down his face leaving a wet path behind.

"Let him stay," a voice says. The young man, Masaki's brother, is about to protest when the voice speaks again. "It's not his fault, Yusuke, and you know it. He would have never wanted this to happen."

An arm wraps around Jun's shoulder. "Come with me, Matsumoto-kun." Jun thinks he sees the owner of the voice smile a little bit. He isn't sure, for his vision is still failing him. He lets himself be guided somewhere else, and sits when the voice tells him to.

He can't stop crying the entire time.

When the ceremony is over, the guests are allowed to place their flowers around Masaki's head. Jun is shaking as he approaches the casket. He is in a cold sweat, and if it wasn't for that arm holding him, he would have already fainted.

"It's alright," the voice says. Jun disagrees. It's the last time he'll see the only person he's ever loved, and probably the only one who loved him as well, how can it be alright? "It's alright," the voice repeats. Then the arm is gone, and Jun is gently pushed forward to face the casket.

Masaki looks so peaceful, as if he was sleeping. Jun wants to reach out and touch him, but he doesn't know if he's allowed. He decides not to push his luck and simply puts his green rose next to the other flowers. "Goodbye," he whispers, and bows to Masaki.

The arm wraps around him again. "Let's go."

Jun casts a quick glance in Masaki's direction. He can't believe that this is it.

Someone closes the casket.

A part of Jun dies in that very moment.



When Jun wakes up, he finds himself in an unknown room for the second time that week. It doesn't look like a hospital's room, though. The walls are cream-colored, and the bed is way bigger than the ones they have at the ER. There's an opened closet, which is mostly empty because whoever lives here seems to have a tendency to throw their clothes all over the room. It's a man, judging by the amount of ties stacked neatly in an organizer and the collection of designer watches displayed right next to it. Jun chuckles, thinking of his own closet. It isn't in such a tragic state as this one, but more often than not the only items in perfect order are his jewelry and accessories. The owner of this room must be at least a bit similar to him.

He continues looking around. There's a laptop on the desk, several old newspapers, books that seemingly haven't been touched by their owner in a while, a few candy wrappers, and a bag with the logo of that crepe shop where Masaki used to work.

Masaki…

Jun frowns. Why is this here? Does the person who lives here know Masaki? And if so, who is he?

Ah… that guy…

Jun can barely remember Masaki's funeral. He knows that he bought a green rose, and that he was wearing Masaki's favorite scarf when he went there. There was someone who told him to leave, that he wasn't welcome. And then that guy appeared. He defended Jun, and stayed by his side. He let Jun cry in his arms after they left, until Jun fell asleep.

Somehow Jun doesn't seem to remember his face. Maybe he didn't look at it, or maybe he just forgot. The last few days he's been unable to keep a good track of everything that happens. He isn't sure if he should feel alarmed about that.

In any case, he's grateful to that guy, whoever he is.

Determined to find out his identity and thank him for his help, Jun goes out of the room. He tiptoes his way to the living room, heart racing in anticipation. His lips curl in a grin when he sees someone sleeping on the couch.

His eyes widen in horror when he sees the man's face.

Out of all the people in the world,  of course it had to be Sakurai Sho. Whatever good feelings Jun had when he woke up are replaced by a deep shame. He won't ever be able to look at Sakurai in the eye after what happened yesterday.

Which is why he needs to leave, now.

Trying to keep the noise to a minimum, Jun grabs his shoes and his coat. He closes the door behind him and walks away.

A cab takes him directly to his apartment complex. Once the door is closed, Jun let out a sigh of relief.

Then he panics when he realizes that he doesn't have Masaki's scarf around his neck anymore.


----------
"That thing is so ugly."

Masaki turned to look at him with narrowed eyes, holding the scarf he had decided to buy after searching during almost an hour. "It is not!" he replied.

"It is!" Jun insisted, taking the offending item in his own hands. Okay, he had to admit that it was very soft and comfy and that he kind of wanted to wrap it around his own neck… just a little bit. "What's with that color anyway? It's so… green."

Masaki snatched the scarf away from him and walked towards the counter to pay for it. "It's bright and lively, unlike someone else's clothes."

Jun's eyes widened. "Excuse me?"

Masaki looked at him over his shoulder with a smirk. "Like you heard, Mr. 'I only wear things that are as dark as my soul'."

"Hey! Not all my clothes are black!" Jun whined. "There are lots of neutrals in my closet, but not all of them are black. They're easier to accessorize and they combine with almost anything. Besides, I choose what I wear by feeling, not by color."

Even with his back turned on Jun, it was evident that Masaki was laughing at him. When he turned, he had a little bag with his scarf and the receipt in his hands. "So most of the time your 'feeling' just happens to guide you to buy all the black clothes in the mall?"

"My clothes aren't just black, I just pick-"

"Yes, yes, neutrals," Masaki shook his head. "Jun-chan, you know I love you, but neutral tones aren't fun. You ought to take more risks every once in a while!"

"I'm okay with taking fashion risks! I just choose carefully which ones I'm going to take."

Masaki burst out laughing. "Then it isn't a risk!"

"It is if I don't know how people will react to it."

"Ah, Jun-chan…" Masaki patted Jun's back. "You care about opinions too much."

"I don't-"

"You do. We both know it," Masaki interrupted him. "And that's alright, really, I mean… your modeling career is just taking off, so you have to pay attention to what you wear, but you don't need to look perfect all the time. You should have more fun!"

Jun sighed. Certainly, sometimes he viewed picking an outfit as a task, one that gave him a great deal of stress. He loved shopping, yet most of the things he bought remained unused in his closet, piling up and taking space because he wasn't brave enough to wear them. As a model, he only had his image to present himself to society. He would much rather settle for what Masaki dismissed as boring clothes than making a fashion faux pas.

"You know… I might just do that one of these days…"

"There's nothing to lose, Jun-chan!"

And so Jun did. He started wearing more 'risky' clothes.

He made it to a few "what were they thinking?" lists that year. He blamed it fully on Masaki.

Masaki just laughed it off.
----------


Sakurai has called him twice since he got home. Jun doesn't answer the phone. He doesn't want to deal with whatever Sakurai wants to say, not when there are more important matters at hand.

He searches all over his apartment, even if it's futile. The scarf isn't there. Why would it be? It must be at Sakurai's place, if he didn't lose it somewhere else.

"Maybe I should just ask him," Jun considers for a moment, eyeing his phone. Then he is reminded of what happened the previous day, and decides against it. If he talks to Sakurai, then they might have to meet again, and Jun would rather not do that. He's not mentally ready to face Sakurai at the moment, not yet.

As his phone continues ringing in the background, he rummages in his closet, looking for… he honestly doesn't know what he's trying to find anymore, to be honest, but he keeps going. There's a pile of clothes forming around him. Any other day, he would care.

Not today.

Today he needs to do this. He needs to find a proof that Masaki was once here. If he can't, he'll probably go crazy. A part of him tells him that he's already acting crazy, yet Jun just ignores it. He curses every time he empties a drawer and is unable to find anything.

"There must be something in here," he says aloud. "I know there must be!"

At last, in a dark corner of his closet, he finds a ridiculous floral print shirt that once belonged to Masaki, the one he used to wear with those tight light purple pants back during his self-proclaimed 'Disco Star' phase. He isn't even sure if those are flowers or not. There are too many colors all over the fabric, so he can't make out the shapes accurately. To this day, he also doesn't understand very well what the heck a 'Disco Star' is supposed to be. He remembers that Masaki danced around in those obnoxious clothes, doing some wicked hip rolls that made Jun want to fuck him on the spot, spectators be damned. He didn't actually dance any disco music, though.

It's all irrelevant now. Jun giggles as he puts on the shirt. It smells musty and it's a little too tight for Jun's broader shoulders, but he feels warm and calm once it is wrapping him. As if by having that piece of clothing with him he could have a little bit of Masaki back.

When he looks around himself, he can't help but laughing at the mess he made. "Look at all these clothes…" he shakes his head. Then he laughs again after realizing that Masaki did manage to make him start wearing more colorful things in the end, instead of sticking to the neutral tones he favored back when they met.

And then he cries, for no reason in particular. He lies on top of the scattered clothes in fetal position, sobbing until sleep claims him.



Life goes on.

It does, doesn't it?

It always does.



One week.

Somehow, he made it. He has lived one week without Masaki.

He hasn't combed his hair since the day he went to the funeral.

He can't remember when he took a shower for the last time.

He has been wearing the same pajamas since five or four days ago.

He had biscuits and some tea for breakfast… yesterday?

His phone has been dead since that afternoon Sakurai kept calling him. His voicemail must be full.

Poor Matsu now has an oddly shaped branch because of his trembling hands.

And today he woke up screaming after a nightmare. Again.


The face, that face, he can't forget it.

Every time his eyes close, it is there, looking down at him with a sneer.

The hatred, the contempt…

He wants to protect Masaki, to keep him safe from that creature shrouded in darkness, but he can't.

It is always Masaki who sees it first and pushes him away from the danger.

It is always Masaki's blood which pools in the cold pavement.

And Jun screams. He screams until his voice is raw and his eyes grow tired of producing tears.

Masaki's lifeless form is the last thing he sees before waking.



Jun is fine. That's what he keeps telling himself every time he wakes up.

He's fine.

He turns on the stereo and plays some classic music for Matsu. It's Vivaldi today.

The doorbell ring, and Jun curses. Who can it be? As far as he knows, ever since the agency assigned his former manager to someone else, nobody is authorized to come upstairs to his apartment without prior notice.

"That fucking security guard better not have let some stranger come upstairs," Jun grumbles as he walks towards the door.

When he opens, he finds a short man standing there. "Who are you?" he asks. It's probably rude to talk like that to someone he's meeting for the first time, but he is in no mood to entertain strangers.

"My name is Ninomiya Kazunari," the man says with a grin. "I live next door."

Ninomiya… Nino! Jun feels the heat rushing to his cheeks. Oh, this is so embarrassing, he thinks as he remembers his dirty pajamas and his terrible bed hair. "Ah… n-nice to meet you," Jun stutters, giving Ninomiya what he hopes is a convincing smile. "I'm sorry, did I wake you with the music?"

"No, not at all," Nino replies, still smiling at Jun. "Actually, I just came back home. I heard the music and thought that maybe I could drop by to say hello."

"Oh…" Jun nods dumbly. Somehow that doesn't sound like something Nino would do. Then again, Jun knows nothing of the man, aside from his love for video games and that he likes how Jun sounds when he's having sex.

"May I come in? It's a bit cold out here," Nino asks, looking slightly nervous for a second.

"Ah, sure…"

Jun moves aside to let Nino come in. It's strange to see someone else in his living room after all the time he's spent alone lately. The last time someone came over was when Masaki was teaching him how to make crepes and they made a mess in his kitchen. Jun shakes the thought off his mind as soon as it comes.

"Wow… this is interesting…"

When Jun turns, Nino is standing in front of the dancing poles in his living room. "Ah, t-that…"

"This explains a lot." Nino laughs. "Are you a stripper or something?"

Jun blinks. Nino doesn't know who he is? It's somewhat relieving –and also somewhat insulting, a little part of him thinks. "Or something," Jun replies. "I… I played a stripper in a movie. Recordings ended almost a month and a half ago."

"That's why there's no more club music blaring in the middle of the night!" Nino's face lights up. "I would have never pegged you for someone who likes classical music, though. It's a drastic change."

"It is, yeah." Jun chuckles.

Eh. How long has it been since he chuckled? The sound of his own laughter appears a bit foreign to his ears.

"That's Vivaldi, right?"

"Eh? Ah… umm… yes," Jun replies with a nod. "You know about classical music?"

"Little bit," Nino says. He sets a plastic bag on Jun's coffee table and starts taking some things out of it. Food, Jun sighs at the glorious smell of bread and freshly brewed coffee. "Took piano lessons when I was in school. I still play sometimes, when I'm not busy."

"Hmm…" Jun nods, far more interested in the food Nino brought than in the man's words. His stomach is grumbling, and Jun hopes the noise isn't too loud.

"I could show you someday if you want," Nino continues. He takes a curry bread out from a paper bag and munches on it. Jun bites the inside of his cheek to avoid making any sound. The bread truly smells delicious.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, where are my manners?" Nino laughs, covering his mouth with a hand. "You want some? I think there's enough for the two of us…"

"N-No, thanks, it's…"

"Here," Nino says and puts a bread in Jun's open palm. "Want some coffee? I got an extra one because there's this 'Happy Hour' thing now at the coffee shop."

Jun doesn't even get a chance to refuse before Nino hands him the cup. He sips a bit of coffee and sighs. It tastes just perfect –he might need to ask Nino where he got it. When he takes his first bite of the curry bread, he almost moans. He devours it in just a few more bites. His stomach grumbles noisily.

"Ah… I-I…" Jun blushes. Way to go.

To his surprise, Nino just laughs and hands him another bread. "I bought more than I can eat anyway. You can have the rest, if you want to." Jun wants to tell him that no, he cannot take Nino's food, but once he starts eating he forgets all pretense of not wanting the food. Nino doesn't make a comment on it, which Jun is thankful for.

"So… I believe you still haven't told me your name," Nino says. He laughs when Jun turns towards him with his mouth full of bread and stuffed cheeks.

Jun swallows quickly, hiding his embarrassment behind a serious look. "I'm Matsumoto Jun."

"Hmm… Jun-pon, then," Nino says with a grin.

Jun cringes. Another nickname? He's barely recovering from the tabloids that insisted on calling him 'MJ', arguing that they couldn't call him anymore by the nickname Mao gave him because it was a "constant reminder of his betrayal" or something as ridiculous as that. Well, at least they didn't dig up the first nickname he had in the industry. He thinks he would flip out if anyone dared to call him Macchan again –not that anyone ever did, since only Sakurai used that one, but never mind.

At least Nino chose '-pon' instead of '-chan'. Jun is pretty sure he would have cried if Nino had called him Jun-chan.

Jun scowls at Nino. "Hey! Don't call me that!"

Nino merely smirks at his response. "Then J?"

Jun's eyes widen in horror.

Nino laughs.


They keep talking for hours. Nino rambles about video games, and then Jun tells him everything about bonsai trees.

Nino blinks. "Wait, you actually named your bonsai?"

"Many people do so! And wouldn't it be strange to not give him a name if I talk to him every day?"

Nino's eyebrows shoot up. "You talk to it?"

"Him," Jun corrects. "And yes, I do."

"Jun-pon…"

"Hmm?"

"Never thought that I, of all people, would ever say this, but you should- no, you need to go out more."

Jun glares at him. "Oh, shut up!"

He thinks he likes Nino already.


Masaki and Nino would have been best friends if they had met, Jun has no doubt about it. They're fans of the same baseball team, they have the same crazy fashion sense –Jun couldn't help noticing the smurf print in Nino's boxers when he stood up, not that he was staring at Nino's ass or anything–, and they share the opinion that Jun will lose his mind unless he goes back to talking with actual people instead of having one-sided conversations with his bonsai.

Jun can't help wishing that Masaki was here with them.

His heart aches a little.



Not all sources of light shine as bright as sunshine…


Nino comes to see Jun every morning.

He doesn't seem to be a morning person. Jun isn't one himself, and even he isn't as cranky as Nino is sometimes.

"Tough night?" Jun smirks over his mug as Nino continues grumbling between his teeth.

"Had a quest. Son of a bitch from Austria ditched us in the middle of it, and we had to go on without him. Bastard," Nino says. "See if we let him tag along ever again!"

Jun laughs and refills Nino's mug with more coffee. After the third time Nino dropped by, Jun felt a bit guilty for always getting food from him, so he restocked his fridge and cupboards. He got everything delivered, since the thought of walking through the park to get to the usual place where he does his grocery shopping made him anxious.

"You shouldn't have come then," Jun says. "You should have slept a little longer."

"I'm fine, Jun-pon," Nino replies. "I'll just take a nap before getting to work."

Nino works from home –not surprising. He's an editor. He refuses to disclose any details about his job further than that, which is fair since Jun hasn't really told him what he does either. Jun doesn't know how much Nino's earning, but from what he's seen lately it must be a lot. Anyone who has such a big collection of games and consoles must be getting a pretty fat paycheck to afford that kind of hobby.

"Talking about work, when does your vacation end?"

Jun flinches. "That's… umm… I don't really know, Nino." He bites his lip, avoiding Nino's eyes as he continues. "It depends on when I get a new project. Until then, I guess I'll just stay here."

"Is that really alright?"

"Yeah," Jun lies. "It's happened before. I've been inactive for a while, and then they just start throwing so many projects at me that I can barely sleep."

"I see…" Nino nods. "But, say… don't you want to do anything else until then? Get a part-time job maybe?"

"Hmm…" Jun furrows his eyebrows pensively. "I hadn't considered that."

"You should do it," Nino says. "It must be boring to just sit here all day long without doing much."

Jun can't disagree with that. "I'll find something to do," he says. He doesn't mention that his contract doesn't really allow him to get a second job, regardless of his current status in the agency. Nino seems relieved, and that's the important part.

The next day, after Nino's morning visit, Jun decides to make some crepes. Masaki had gotten him one of those cool crepe makers, which he hasn't used since the day they tried it for the first time. Maybe he can make Nino a snack, to thank him for everything he's done lately. His company always manages to cheer Jun up, at least for a while.

"So… how was this supposed to work?" Jun scratches his head, trying to remember Masaki's instructions.

He should have paid more attention.


----------
"If you keep eating the fruit, your crepe will be nothing but cream."

A pout formed in Jun's face. He was sure that Masaki could see it from the corner of his eye, if that smirk was anything to go by. The bowl of strawberries that was next to him was taken away.

"Here you go," Masaki said and handed him the finished crepe with a smile. "So?"

"Sweet," Jun mumbled, already going for his second bite. "Needs more strawberries."

Masaki burst out laughing. "Well, whose fault is that, eh?"

Jun tried not to grin when Masaki pinched his cheek.
----------


The crepes don't look as nice as the ones Masaki did. "Practice, Jun-pon, that's what you need," Nino tells him. He eats the crepe anyway.

"Cooking was pretty relaxing. I might make some more tomorrow."

"Do it!" Nino nods, still munching. "This one's pretty good."

"Ah, that's Masaki's recipe. He called it the 'Super Funktastic Strawberry Aibanana & Cream Deluxe'." Jun replies, amazed that he recalled the full name.

"Aiba-shi sounds like a weird guy." Nino chuckles. "His crepes are good, though. Tell him that."

"I will," Jun says.

He feels horrible for not telling Nino the truth about Masaki.


…but light is light, no matter how little.

It's enough.



At least until the moment that it just isn't anymore.



The nightmare comes again. Jun, like a fool, hopes that it will be different this time.

Yet nothing changes.

"You did this," a voice accuses him. "This is your fault."

Jun shakes in fear as the darkness grows. Faceless figures surround him, pointing their fingers at him.

"You did this."


Jun can't control the feelings bottling up inside him.

He thought he could. When he befriended Nino, he honestly believed that things would get better from that moment on, that he would be able to continue with his life normally.

It was impossible.

He's a time bomb.

He'll explode. Soon.


----------
The first time he saw Masaki's murderer on TV, he was with Nino. They were watching the news together while they had dinner.

"Ugh, sorry, gotta take this," Nino said and left the room with his phone in hand.

As Jun poured himself a glass of water, he heard a familiar name on the news.

"…the murder of Aiba Masaki…"

He turned immediately to catch what they were saying. In the screen, they were showing a live broadcasting from Kasamatsu prison.

"…found not guilty…"

Masaki's murderer was smirking as she came out of prison.

The glass shattered on the ground.
----------


The nightmares are getting much worse. Jun barely eats anything unless Nino forces him. He is also afraid of leaving home. His only moment of peace is when he is tending to Matsu, and not even that manages to put him completely at ease these days.

Why did they release that woman? Everyone saw her! Heck, Jun would have testified against her if necessary!

It only makes sense when Jun looks her up. She's the daughter of some hot shot businessman who has links to the yakuza. She's now living in Europe, like nothing happened.

The world is really unfair.


The crime against Masaki will probably be forgotten soon. Aside from that report, nothing else is added on the matter. There's no mention of Jun or the witnesses that were present that night. Masaki's family doesn't protest either.

It goes just as expected, and that's what Jun hates the most.



"So… you want to go somewhere tonight? I heard that there-"

"No."

"You didn't even let me finish! See, my boss told me about this restaurant-"

"Not interested."

"He said that even celebrities go there! The food-"

"How about you just leave me the fuck alone, Ninomiya?"

"…"

"…"

"Alright."



Nino is worried. Jun knows it, even if Nino never says a word about it.

It's bad for the two of them, Jun thinks. Nino shouldn't have to deal with Jun's issues, and Jun shouldn't have done something as irresponsible as befriending someone when he's so messed up.

It occurs to him that maybe he should put a stop to the situation. But how? Nino doesn't seem to have any intentions of going away, and moving out is definitely out of the question.

There is another alternative, a voice in the corner of his mind murmurs.

It's the only way.


"I have to get something at the convenience store. Need me to bring you anything?"

"No, it's alright."

The front door closes behind Nino. Knowing him, he won't be back in a while.

Jun goes to the kitchen and fetches a knife.

He locks himself in his room with it.



If living is hard, then perhaps dying should be easier.



"Open the door, J."

No.

"Don't make me go in there to get you, because you know very well that I will!"

No.

"Open the door, I said!"

NO!

"You can't hide there forever, you know?"

I know.

"This is ridiculous! Just let me in!"



"Jun? Jun!"

I'm sorry.



Everything is my fault. Mine.

Masaki's gone because of me.



Nino keeps pounding on the door, his screams getting more desperate each second. "Please, Jun, let me in!" he says. "Please, please! Say something!"

It seems that he knows what is about to happen. Jun isn't surprised. Nino is smart. He surely put two and two together the moment Jun stopped replying.

Jun wishes he could stop, but he can't. It has to be done. It is the only way.

He's scared out of his wits, yet he must do this. He must put an end to everything. The sooner, the better.

Nino continues screaming and crying outside.

It's time.



If I had left him alone back then, everything would have been different.

He'd still be happy. He'd still be working with those little children he loved so much, taping colorful pieces of paper filled with drawings to his apartment's walls and playing with his dog.

He'd still be alive.



He has seen Masaki die many times before his eyes. Every night it happens again. Jun can never save him. He can't change past.

"You did this," the voices say. A part of Jun thinks it's kind of ridiculous, but he's starting to believe them.

He is the one to blame. He was supposed to die that time, not Masaki.

That mistake must be rectified. Jun will make it right, so that he doesn't have to see Masaki die in front of him again.

He grabs the knife with shaking hands.

I will join you soon, Masaki. Wait for me.



The last thing Jun sees before losing consciousness is the blood pouring from his wrist. Blood, blood, blood… It gleams in the moonlight like a crimson river, a stark contrast to the white color of the marble floors in Jun's bedroom.

The sound of Nino's voice is becoming more and more distant.

It's a strange state, like he's here but he isn't here at the same time. Flashes of memories pass through his mind. Is this what death feels like? Is this what Masaki felt that night?

He lets the sea of memories engulf him until there's nothing but darkness.


----------
"Mommy, what's that?" Jun pointed at the multicolored thing in the heaven. It was so pretty, and he wished he could take it in his hands.

"That's a rainbow, dear," his mother said. "It is formed when rays of sunshine mix with the raindrops."

Ever since then, Jun stopped hating rainy days. He used to dislike them because his mother never allowed him to play outside when it rained. He started longing for them. He sat by the window hoping that maybe he could catch a glimpse of a rainbow again.

Rainy clouds and sunshine made such a good pair.

----------
"What's your name?"

The other boy turned towards him with a scowl on his face. "None of your business."

Jun pouted. That wasn't the reaction he was expecting. He went along with it anyway. "Nice to meet you, none of your business! I'm Matsumoto Jun!" he said with a grin.

The other boy's eyes widened. His cheeks went red and puffy. He was fuming. Jun thought that he would get hit or something, but then the boy held out his hand. "I'm Sakurai Sho."

It wasn't the best beginning for a friendship, but it wasn't so bad either, Jun thought.

----------
"You look like a bug," Sho said. "You are so tiny, and your eyes are so huge."

Jun laughed along with everyone else. It was a joke. Sho was just being silly, as usual.

He cried when he was alone. That was the first time he felt his heart ache.

----------
"I-I like Sho-kun."

Saying it out loud was so embarrassing.

Sho was grinning when he looked up. "But is it love or like?"

Jun's face went red. "I-It's different, because we're both guys!"

Sho pouted at him.

If Jun hadn't know better, he would have said that Sho looked disappointed.

----------
"I HATE YOU!"

Sho looked so shocked when Jun said it. "I hate you!" Jun repeated and stomped off outside.

"Macchan, wait!" Sho pulled him by his arm. For the first time, Sho looked nervous in front of him. "Macchan, I…"

"Don't call me Macchan ever again."

It was over.

----------
"My name is Aiba Masaki, and this one here is Kuu-chan."

The dog started growling, making Jun take a couple of steps back. Masaki frowned. "Kuu-chan isn't usually like this."

"It's alright," Jun sighed. "Animals and little kids tend to have that reaction to me at first. Bugs love me, though."

Masaki burst out laughing. Jun's heart skipped a beat.

----------
"I like you, Masaki."

Masaki giggled. His cheeks went pink, like the cotton candy they were sharing just a moment before.

Confessing in a Ferris wheel was probably too cheesy, but Jun didn't care. He was ready, so he decided that he didn't have to wait any longer.

"I like you too, Jun-chan," Masaki said, gnawing on his bottom lip with a bashful expression. "I've liked you since the day we met."

They beamed at each other and closed the distance automatically to meet in the middle for a kiss. Their first kiss. Jun would make sure to treasure it.

----------
"Jun-chan…" Masaki moaned, his nails digging in Jun's back. "Ah, Jun…"

Jun grinned and rolled his hips again, drawing another moan from Masaki. He was close. He could feel the heat pooling in his groin.
They came almost at the same time, hands joined over Masaki's head.

"I love you," they both said in perfect synchrony. Then they started laughing and crying happy tears and kissing like there was no tomorrow.

Jun could see himself spending the rest of his life like this, by Masaki's side. He didn't need fame, wealth or anything else as long as they were together.

----------
"Let's break up."

Jun didn't know how to react when Masaki said it, so he didn't.

"I don't think I can keep doing this, hiding our relationship from everyone as if it was a crime. I'm tired! Not of you, but of… this."

What could Jun say to that?

"Okay."

----------
Jun didn't cry over Masaki. He didn't throw away the things that reminded him of their time together. He didn't block him on social media. He didn't badmouth him, didn't wish him to suffer.

Jun accepted Masaki in his life again when he was ready. Jun became his best friend. Jun didn't ever show his jealousy. Jun dated other people, and saw Masaki date other people too.

Because a world where Masaki was in his life, despite not being his lover, was better than a world where Masaki wasn't around.
Because he refused to let go.

Because he loved Masaki.

----------
"Ah, right there, ah…"

Ohno spanked him before thrusting back inside him, faster and harder than before. "What did I tell you about talking?" he said in Jun's ear, pulling him by his hair.

Jun moaned again. "More, more, more," he kept saying, smirking when Ohno spanked him with more force.

"You're doing this on purpose, aren't you?" Ohno chuckled. "Alright… I guess you leave me no choice."

Jun couldn't utter a full word after that. Whatever sounds he was making, they had no coherence at all.

There was nothing else in his mind but Ohno's cock in that moment.

----------
"Good! Nicely done, Matsumoto-san!" Ohno praised him. "You are very good at dancing!"

Jun blushed at the comment. "Why, thank you," he said with a grin. "I hope the audience will think the same when the movie comes out."

"Oh, they will love it, trust me." Ohno winked at him.

----------
"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry…"

"Shh…" Masaki rubbed Jun's back. "We already talked about-"

"Yes, but…"

"Jun-chan, it's alright. I really don't blame you."

It was the third time Jun ended up apologizing since they started talking again. Jun still felt like crap.

Masaki remained calm. Jun envied him.

----------
Masaki was wearing a white kimono.

Right side over left.

----------
Jun clung to the person in front of him like they were his lifeline.

"I'm here. I will not leave you."

Jun buried his face in that sturdy chest, inhaling the person's fragrance and finding out that he loved it. They smelled like fresh linen, like safety, like good things.

----------
"You again?"

Nino shrugged and walked past him, bringing takeout boxes with him. "I bought hamburger steak," he said. "I hope you like it. It's my favorite."

"Why do you do this?" Jun asked. "What's in it for you?"

Nino shrugged again.

Jun never got an answer to that question.

----------
"You know, J… It's been more fun to meet you than to hear you through the wall."

"Is that so?" Jun arched an eyebrow at Nino. "I thought you were bored of me and my talks about bonsai."

Nino winced. "Well, yeah, but… it's still fun. I don't have many friends."

"Me neither," Jun said. "Well, at least not anymore…"

"Why is that? I thought you were pretty popular."

Jun bit his lip. "Things happened. Nothing important."

"Oh come on! Tell me!" Nino whined. "You know you can trust me, don't you?"

"I know." Jun smiled at him. "I know."

----------
"J, what the heck are you putting inside that crepe?"

"It's curry!" Jun grinned. "Masaki said that he wanted to try it, but we never actually did it, so I'm doing it now to see how it tastes! What do you think?"

Nino took the crepe reluctantly. His eyes widened when he took the first bite.

"Good, isn't it?" Jun laughed. "That's it! I'm including this one in the menu!"

"Menu?"

"Oh… it's just… Masaki wanted to open a crepe shop. Maybe… maybe I could just, you know…  make his dream come true?"

Nino grinned. "That's a great idea, J."

----------
"You know… I think I'm like a rain cloud."

Nino laughed. "Is that so?"

"Yeah… there's only darkness everywhere I go."

Nino hummed. "But you said you loved rainbows the other day."

"I do."

"Then isn't that convenient? If there's no rain, there's no rainbow. You just need to get yourself some sunshine." Nino winked at him. "What about Aiba-shi? He sounds like the right kind of person for that."

"No!" Jun snapped. "He can't. Not anymore…"

"Well… if not him, then you'll have to find a new one. Can't be that hard, right?" Nino grinned.

"Easier said than done…"
----------



Jun's eyes flutter open slowly.

What happened? Where is he?

There's something beeping not far from him. Every time he takes a breath, there's a funny sound, like he's wearing the helmet of that Darth Vader guy who appears in the movie he and Nino saw the other day.

He didn't die then.

At first, he doesn't know whether to feel relieved or not. But then he looks to his right.

Nino is there, crying. "He woke up! Doctor, doctor! He woke up!" he yells as soon as he notices that Jun's eyes are opened. "It's alright, J! You're alright! T-Thank goodness, you're alright…"

His voice cracks, and Jun feels guilty for it. Nino isn't the kind of guy who feels comfortable displaying emotions like that. He must have been really scared.

"I'm sorry, Nino."

"Eh? No, J, don't say that," Nino tells him. "You don't have to apologize, okay? I'm the one who should… I suspected you weren't feeling alright, and I still didn't do anything to help."

Jun shakes his head. "It's not your fault."

Nino merely pats his cheek. They don't say anything else.

The doctor says that Jun has to stay at the hospital for a while. He lost a lot of blood, it's a miracle that he resisted until he was taken to the hospital. He was in surgery for a long time. The tendons in his right hand were damaged a bit when he slit his wrist. The scars will be quite noticeable, the doctor says. He won't be able to use his hands during the next two months.

"We need to contact your family, Matsumoto-san, to let them know about your condition," the doctor says. "Would you be able to provide us their telephone numbers?"

Jun lowers his head. "Sensei, I don't think that would be a good idea. I'm not in very good terms with my family at the moment."

The doctor gives Jun a sympathetic look. He probably knows exactly who Jun is and what has happened to him lately. At least he doesn't look at Jun with disgust –that's a good sign. "I understand," he says. "If you change your mind, please let me or any of the nurses know."

After doing a quick check on Jun, the man leaves. Nino is allowed to stay with Jun that night. It's not unexpected, given the reason why Jun ended up there in the first place. They don't talk, though. Jun can read in Nino's eyes all the questions he must be itching to make, yet neither of them breaks the silence.

A nurse comes in after a while and injects something into the IV bag. Pain medication, she explains with a little smile. She seems concerned when she checks Jun's temperature. He has a fever, and the doctor needs to be alerted. Jun's eyelids feel heavier as the fluid she injected in the bag earlier slowly flows into his body. He loses consciousness soon enough.

He doesn't dream anything that night.


Like the previous time, the first thing Jun hears when he wakes is the beeping of the machines around him and the odd sound of the ventilator. They must have put it on again when he was asleep. The tubes are still attached to his right arm.

Jun tries to sit up, but his body is weaker than he expected. His arms have been immobilized, so he can't use them to push himself up either. It makes him panic. The constant beeping sound doesn't help him calm down at all. His breathing becomes more labored, and his heart is racing. He feels helpless.

A nurse rushes inside the room shortly after. With her assistance, Jun is able to regain his calmness. The beeps of the machine are less frequent now, which Jun supposes is good. The nurse pushed a button next to the bed to change its angle. Jun is sitting now.

The first thing he notices is that Nino isn't in the room anymore. "Your friend said that he will be back later," the nurse says, as though she could read Jun's mind. "He went back to your place, to get what you'll be needing for your stay here. He shouldn't be back soon, since he left so early."

Nino is such a sweetheart, Jun thinks. He should be grateful for him. One of these days, when he gets better, Jun will find the way to repay his kindness. He has to focus on getting better to do that, though.

The nurse doesn't leave until Nino arrives. "Thank you, Ayako-san," Nino bows to her and comes in with a big duffel bag. He's also carrying a small paper bag. Breakfast, Jun grins once his friend starts taking out the bread and coffee. "Come on, let's eat," Nino says. He helps Jun take off the ventilator mask and puts a cup in front of him.

Jun pouts when he remembers that he can't move his arms. Before he even speaks, Nino breaks the bread with his hands and brings a little piece to Jun's lips. Jun doesn't really like being handfed, but it will have to do by now. It's not like he has another choice.

"Jun-pon… would you… I mean…" Nino sighs. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Jun stops chewing. "Not if I can help it, but I guess that's not an option now." He chuckles bitterly. Nino brings the cup to Jun's lips, so he takes a sip. "Where do you want me to start?"

"That's up to you," Nino says. "You don't have to tell me everything if you don't feel comfortable doing so."

Jun shakes his head. "I have to. Not talking hasn't been a good strategy so far. Look where it got me…"

Nino hums. He shoves another piece of bread in Jun's mouth. "Well, then speak up. I won't push you to say anything you're not ready to share with me, but I can listen."

"It's a long story."

"I have time."



Follow the link for part 4

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