Title: Photographs and Memories
Disclaimer: Minekura's, not mine.
Warnings: BL, fluff, angst, AUish
Author's note: I was inspired to write this by vink_sama and oversaturate... I hope it makes sense and turned out...
They met in the seventh grade. It was a warm day, the sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. A comfortable breeze kept the air from overheating, but the cement stayed agreeably warmed. The roof of the school had been crowded at lunch period, but now that classes were beginning again, only two boys remained, sitting, solitary, on either sides of the roof. One slept, the other idled his time tossing a paper ball between his hands. Time dripped by slowly in the comfortable warmth, and neither boy moved from his respective sphere of personal space until a particularly strong breeze carried the wakeful boy's paper ball across the roof. Having lost his only form of amusement, he was forced to rise from the pleasant comfort of the heated cement and venture across the roof, into the other boy's sphere.
The paper ball, after it fell from the weakening gust of wind, rolled, reminiscent of a tumbleweed, until it impacted the with form of the other boy, lying on the floor. The first boy halted in his pursuit suddenly when the sleeping boy woke, taking the ball into his hand and studying it before looking up to the other boy. Smiling a smile which the first boy could not read, he extended his arm.
Hesitant as an unsure kitten, the first boy took a few steps forward before slowly extending his arm to take the paper ball. When he was sure of the safety of the situation, he snatched it back, taking a step back and suddenly blushing, feeling stupid. This boy, after all, had given back his toy, he ought to at least give a word of thanks.
Instead, he sputtered "Class has already started, you know."
The other boy's smile didn't change. "I know."
"Oh. Okay." Paper ball in hand, the first boy retreated back to his corner, but eventually returned to class, flushed at the thought of the confusing-smiling boy.
And that was the end to the first exchange.
"You cut class a lot, huh?"
"So what? You do too."
"It wasn't meant to be an accusation."
"So, why the paper ball?"
"Uhh-- no reason really. Just... don't see the point in having anything fancy."
"... You can't afford it, that is."
"Shut up. I haven't got any parents, okay?"
"I wasn't judging you."
"If you had a game, what would you want?"
"A really awesome video game system, with tons of fighting games!"
"Hmm... I see."
"We're in the same class, aren't we?"
"Uh-- yeah. Maybe? Think so."
"...Sorry. What's your name?"
"The Most Awesome Minoru! ...But you can just call me Minoru, because everyone does. Haven't got another name."
"Minoru... I see. You do well on tests, don't you?"
"You--you look? ... But yeah. Got into this school on scholarship. Did well on my exams. ... Well, what's your name, then?"
"You can just call me Makoto, then."
Minoru smiled a warm, comfortable smile, and Makoto smiled back before both headed inside. And though the first exchange did exist, they considered this the beginning.
It was pleasantly warm again, but today was a weekend, a Saturday, after school. They were in eighth grade now, and Minoru was constantly stressing about exams for high school in the near future, but today, they decided, they were going to take a day off. Walking home, Minoru mentioned that he wanted taiyaki and, to his surprise, Makoto stopped and bought him one, and together, the two sat on a park bench, Minoru eating and Makoto watching him eat.
At first, there was silence, Minoru intent on his cake and Makoto was a soft smile on his face. It felt as if there wasn't a care in the world; under the shade of a tree, they were comfortably warm but of out the sun, and they were relatively alone. Finished and contented, Minoru slouched on the bench. "Hey... thanks."
Makoto smiled at him but did not respond, and Minoru smiled back before closing his eyes.
Time passed, again in silence, and Makoto looked out into nothing, lost in thought. Before now, after all, he had never been as attached to anyone as he was feeling to Minoru... but then again, what did it matter? Perhaps things would go one way, perhaps they would go another, but Makoto was happy with Minoru and that was that.
At this point, Makoto was brought out of his thoughts by the feeling on Minoru's head resting against his shoulder, and he jumped slightly before realizing that Minoru had fallen asleep and was leaning against him. He was warm, perhaps a little too warm to be comfortable, but Makoto smiled and ran a hand though his hair. Perhaps things would go one way, perhaps they would go another, but Makoto was pretty sure he knew which direction in which they were headed, and he surprised himself by not minding at all.
It was snowing, a fact which always delighted Minoru, a trait which Makoto secretly found extremely cute. He was always complaining about the cold and whining about wanting it to be spring, but when it snowed, his eyes always lit up and he was all grins and giggles, despite his constantly denying his like of it.
It was getting to be around Christmas time, but it mattered little to Makoto; he disliked commercial holidays and he had no one to give anything, to, anyway. And so, he was startled when one day, after school, Minoru pulled him aside and handed him a small package. He was blushing very attractively, and Makoto couldn't help but stare at him until he looked away and muttered by means of explanation: "I didn't know what you'd want... I hope it's okay."
Makoto blinked, then nodded, looking at the gift. It was wrapped rather nicely, but in plain brown paper, and when Makoto unwrapped it, he found a glasses case, plain grey plastic, and turned it over in his hands.
"Yeah-- I know it's not much," Minoru commented quickly, looking pointedly at the ground. "If you don't want it, I'll... I'll just take it back. But I know you can't see at all without 'em, and I just thought..."
Makoto smiled, looking down at the case, then back to Minoru. "I like it."
Minoru's eyes lit up. "You do? -- I mean, I know it's amazing and all--"
"Yeah. Thanks." He smiled warmly back at Minoru, who flushed and took his hand, and together, they walked home, feeling warm even in the snow.
The next day, Minoru arrived at school to find a wrapped package on his desk. Confused, he glanced to Makoto, who only gave him a mysterious smile. Looking back at the package, he peeled off the paper to find a brand new Game Boy. Aghast, he turned back to Makoto, who was now pointedly looking the other direction, then grinned. It seemed as if he would have no use for paper balls anymore.
"You live alone?!"
"Wow-- at 14?!"
"That's so cool! I wish I could do that. I'm stuck in a horrid orphanage..."
"Then come live with me."
"Unless you don't want to."
"Makoto... you mean it?"
"I... I can really come live with you?"
And at that, the conversation ended, when Minoru grinned and jumped on Makoto, throwing his arms around his neck, and Makoto smiled, too.
Minoru lounged on the bed they shared like a cat in the sun, gazing at Makoto, who sat on the floor, looking at a magazine. He was startled, however, when Makoto suddenly turned and looked at him, raising his eyebrows. "Is something the matter?"
Minoru flushed deeply and shook his head quickly, stuttering, "N-no! I was just... waiting for the magazine, is all!"
"Of course," Makoto replied evenly, handing Minoru the magazine. It was no secret to him what Minoru really wanted... and Makoto had been surprised to find, when he thought about, that he had absolutely no objections. But he didn't want to push it, Minoru could tell him on his own schedule; Makoto was in no hurry. After all, he would have Minoru with him forever, and so long as he had that, he'd be happy.
It was a particularly chilly, cold day when Makoto returned home from an errand to find Minoru not home. Minoru almost never left the apartment without him, and he had not let Makoto know of any plans, which was really quite out of the ordinary. There was no sign of a forced entry, nor of a struggle inside, Minoru was just gone without a trace.
Makoto waited all day, and all night. He once went to school in hopes of finding Minoru there, and when he was absent, Makoto left again. He continued to wait. He took up smoking, drinking, mahjong, but he never stopped waiting. He waited a day, two days, a week, two weeks, but Minoru never returned.
When he had waited for a month, two weeks, five days, and approximately seven hours and twenty-two minutes, Makoto gave up. When he was approached, he joined the yakuza. It was something to do, something to take his mind off of it. Off of the fact that he had allowed himself to fall in love and then lost everything.
Komiya never understood why Makoto so liked cats.
Makoto never, ever admitted that it was because they reminded him of Minoru.
When Makoto saw the body lying in the alley, at first, he didn't recognize it. In truth, the first thing that caught his attention was the animal-looking hand. Only when he had taken a closer look did he see the face--that dear, beautiful, beloved face-- Minoru's face. Before he even knew what he was doing, he was picking him up, taking him back, taking him home... home again.
He had a tag around his ankle which read "Minoru," and Makoto came to the realization that he must not have run away-- something must have happened-- and, all of a sudden, he felt terrible with guilt... he should have tried to find him... he should have tried to save him...
But nothing could be done now, Makoto couldn't turn back time. All he could do was wait for Minoru to wake up, wait and hope that perhaps, this time, he would do the right thing. He had been given a second chance... though he was afraid now, after all these years of telling himself so, of being committed, of being in love... But Minoru was back to him now, and so he would figure something out. After the three years they had spent together, falling in love... somehow he would make things right.
Little did he know all that was to come.
When Minoru woke up and didn't remember him, it just about broke Makoto's heart, and it was just downhill from there. Minoru was so different now, so changed... and to see what had been done to him... Makoto wanted to cry, but he couldn't, he wouldn't... yet, it seemed like, if anything in the world could hurt him, it was Minoru, because he loved Minoru more than anything else in existence...
Gradually, things got better. He learned to say "Tokitoh," the name he had given Minoru, without hating himself, he learned to look at the mutated hand without flinching, without thinking of the pain it must cause Minoru. But it was so terribly hard, when Minoru wasn't himself, was so afraid, so twitchy, had nightmares both waking and asleep. And it was so painful to see him unable to remember, unable to write, unable to do all those things at which he had been so talented... And yet Makoto could only love him more, for as much as Minoru didn't remember to love him.
But yet Makoto was afraid to ruin everything, afraid to frighten, this new, changed Minoru-- Tokitoh. And so he did nothing, said nothing, took the baby steps all over again. He bought things, brought things home to make Minoru happy. And when he gave him the newest flavor of ice cream or the next version of Street Fighter, Makoto only had to watch Minoru smile to remember everything, and yet to forget.