Fandom: L’Arc~en~Ciel (JRock)
Theme: #20 – The Road Home
Disclaimer: Real people that I do not own are in this fic.
Summary: When Hyde’s world falls apart, Yuki is there to help him piece it back together, but will Hyde ever be able to consider himself belonging anywhere again? Ninth 30_kisses challenge. Dedicated to mitsuchan because she wanted "flangst". :P
Nothing quite prepares you for the words that tear your entire world to pieces. Nothing prepares you for the sudden shock, or the breathlessness, or the painful clenching of your heart, and nothing stops the tears from sliding down your cheeks. Nothing stops the thoughts that suddenly overwhelm you; nothing stops the feeling of absolute and utter helplessness. Nothing mutes the sobs that work their way out of your throat. You can’t keep yourself from thinking ‘what if’ or ‘if only I could have done something’.
And, once your world has shattered into a thousand pieces in this manner, it seems as if nothing will ever be okay again.
That’s exactly how Takarai Hideto felt when the head doctor came out into the hallway, and said the words he had been dreading to hear. “I’m sorry, Takarai-san, but they’re both gone. We tried our best, but they both lost so much blood… we couldn’t save them. I’m so sorry.”
In that one instant, Hyde’s entire world as he knew it ended. At first he felt numb; he barely registered Yuki’s arms around him or Ken’s voice, telling him over and over again that it wasn’t his fault. He saw the tears streaming down Tetsu’s face, but he didn’t know why Tetsu was crying.
He felt wetness on his own cheeks then, and wondered why he was crying. This was all a dream, right? It couldn’t be real. His daughter and his wife… there was no way they could be dead. It was a wreck – they couldn’t have died because of that. It just wasn’t logical. Megumi was a careful driver.
“If I could have gotten there sooner…” Hyde began, but he trailed off before he could even finish his sentence, letting his forehead fall onto Yuki’s shoulder as he began sobbing bitterly, his entire body shaking from the force of those sobs.
“Don’t think like that,” he heard Yuki reply, almost fiercely. “Don’t you dare think like that, Haido-chan. You weren’t there. Even if you had managed to get there earlier, what would you have done? You’re not a doctor.” The drummer’s arms tightened around him and he sobbed even harder, feeling cold suddenly and not knowing why.
“I feel empty,” Hyde managed to choke out between sobs, barely registering Tetsu’s hand suddenly clutching his own. “They’ve been taken away from me… they’re gone. Gone…”
It’s funny how the world can give you such beautiful things, such as a family, and in a single moment, take everything that is beautiful away, and leave nothing but an empty, ugly void behind.
But that’s life, isn’t it? And no-one ever said that life would be fair.
There’s something strange about watching a funeral. When you aren’t really attached to the person that has passed away, you feel sorry for that person’s family and friends, but other than that, there’s really nothing you can do. On the inside, you’re just waiting for the speaker to be quiet already so you can go home and get on with your normal life; you won’t ever admit to it, though, because that’s impolite and disrespectful.
When the person that’s passed away is someone you hold dear, it seems almost surreal. You know it’s happening… you know you won’t ever see that person again, but at the same time, you feel like their going to be there the very next day.
That’s how Hyde felt, when he watched those two coffins being lowered into the ground. One of those coffins was too small to deserve to contain a body – no child should ever have to be buried, not in something like that. And his wife…
Hyde glanced away from the sight. It was becoming unbearable to watch, and although he knew in his heart that his wife and daughter were gone and he would never see them again, part of him was still hoping that this was just one big nightmare that he had yet to wake up from.
That’s it. It was a nightmare, wasn’t it? After this was over, Hyde would go home and find Megumi and their little girl sitting on the living room floor, playing a game of peek-a-boo. Megumi would smile at them and ask him what he wanted for dinner, and then, after they had eaten and Megumi had put their little daughter to bed, she would shyly take his hand and lead him up to their bedroom and ask him to make love to her.
However, Hyde knew much better than that. This was real; it wasn’t a nightmare. There was no sense in hoping to wake up because he was wide awake already. Awake, but dead on the inside.
Hyde’s eyes were dry. He hadn’t cried since the head doctor had told him that he had lost them. He knew the tears wouldn’t help. If tears would bring his wife and daughter back, he would cry an ocean, but nothing could bring them back. He suddenly wished that he was a lead character in a fantasy movie. In the movies, the good people never die. They’re always saved; they always come back in the end.
This was life, and not a movie. People didn’t come back after they died. They just faded away until they were nothing but bones and dirt.
He gripped Yuki’s arm suddenly, turning back to watch as they began covering up the graves. “They won’t be able to breathe in there,” he whispered brokenly. “They won’t be able to move. Megumi’s a little claustrophobic, did you know that?”
Yuki’s eyes filled with tears. “Oh, Haido-chan,” he murmured softly, closing his eyes in an apparent attempt to hold the tears back. He seemed to want to say something else, but he fell completely silent instead.
Hyde chewed on the inside of his lip until his mouth filled with blood and he swallowed, making a face at the tangy, metallic taste. On the other side of him, Tetsu was holding his hand in a death grip. Hyde was certain there was no blood circulating through his fingers.
Ken was on the other side of Tetsu. He had remained silent throughout the whole funeral. Hyde figured it was because every time Ken tried to talk to him now, his voice would take on a strange sort of wobble and then he would choke up altogether.
Heaving a soft sigh and still tasting blood as they finished covering the graves, Hyde spoke again. “I can’t stand here anymore. I want to go home.”
Knowing that his wife and daughter wouldn’t be there when he got home wasn’t a good thing to think about. Would he be eating alone from now on? Sleeping alone? Would he have no-one to talk to late at night after he woke from one of his nightmares?
He didn’t want to go home to an empty house. A house isn’t a home when you live alone, unless you want to live alone. When you have no choice, you can’t consider having a home. You can’t even consider yourself to be living. You’re surviving, and that’s all.
“I don’t want to be alone,” he said before he could stop himself, and Yuki looked down at him.
“If you want to go to your house and get some of your things… you can come and stay with me for a little while, if you want to, Haido-chan. I wouldn’t mind at all. I have a really nice guest bedroom.”
“You shouldn’t have to be alone,” Tetsu agreed. “I think it’s a good idea... at least for a little while.”
“Y-you can always go back to the house later,” Ken said, speaking to him for the first time since the funeral began. “I-I think it’s a good idea, too.”
So, everyone was agreed, then. Hyde would be staying with Yuki for a little while. Just until he got back on his own two feet.
Hyde nodded. “Thank you, Yuki-chan.
And that was how it all began.
Going back into the house didn’t feel the same at all. It seemed cold and lifeless – there was no longer anything there to brighten it up. Emptiness… that was all that was left, despite the many objects that cluttered the various rooms within the house. Hyde didn’t feel right being there; he didn’t feel like he belonged there anymore. It was home and it wasn’t home all at once, because there was no one there to make it feel like a home.
Yuki stood in the doorway, almost as if he was completely uncertain as to what he should be doing. He probably was. Hyde didn’t blame him. He himself was uncertain as to what he should be doing. He knew he had to get at least a few clothes, though. He couldn’t just go to Yuki’s empty-handed.
“I won’t be long, Yuki,” he said softly, looking at the stairs that led upstairs almost apprehensively. “I just need to get a few things.”
“Do you need me to go with you?” Yuki’s voice was almost as soft as his own, and Hyde had to strain to hear them.
“No,” he replied. “I need to do this by myself.” Slowly, he placed his hand on the railing and took that first step, swallowing hard as he did so. Why couldn’t this just be easy? Why couldn’t he be as uncaring on the inside as he probably seemed to be on the outside? Why did his feet feel like they were made of lead? Why did it grow increasingly harder to take each step?
When would the pain stop? When would his insides stop feeling like they were being ripped apart?
He reached the final step and as soon as he was at the top of the stairs, looking into his and Megumi’s bedroom, he felt like turning and going back downstairs without taking another step. His stomach churned as he forced himself to walk a little further… just a little further… he was almost there.
He grasped at the doorframe, using it to support his suddenly too-weak legs. They didn’t seem to want to hold him up anymore, but he knew he couldn’t stop. He had to do what he had to do, and he couldn’t let himself fall apart completely. Not yet. Months down the road, when he was completely alone, then he could let himself fall apart; but not now. Not when a friend was offering a roof to stay under and also companionship – the latter probably being the more needed of the two.
Taking several deep breaths, he forced himself further into the room, taking into account the bed that had not been made. It was still exactly as it had been when Megumi climbed out of it just a few mornings ago, telling him to hurry up and get up already because they had a lot on their plate for the day. He hadn’t bothered to sleep in that bed since then, or come to this house. Nights spent in the car staved off the pangs of loneliness that he had known he would feel as soon as he reentered the house.
Knowing it was a mistake, he sat down on the bed, reaching for the pillow that always rested beside his own. Her pillow still smelled like her. He caught the scent of her favorite shampoo and savored it for a moment before it slipped from his senses and became one of the many memories he would always have of her.
Hyde squeezed his eyes shut, waiting until strange dark spots danced behind them before opening them again. He moved on to their closet then, grabbing a suitcase and beginning to pack. He left all of her clothes exactly as they were, untouched. She had always been so picky about how she placed things, and so he left them just as perfect as she had, and as she would have wanted them to be. Within moments the suitcase was full, and he headed back into the hall, pausing in front of his daughter’s room just long enough to whisper a soft “goodbye, Little One,” before heading back downstairs.
Yuki had wondered a little further into the house and was currently standing in the middle of the living room, examining the pictures and the other various objects that lined a nearby shelf. He gingerly picked up a blue vase and turned to Hyde, a questioning look in his eyes. “Don’t you want to take any of this stuff with you?” he asked, the blue vase still held gently in his hands.
Hyde paused at the bottom of the stairs, his hand still on the railing. He shook his head, motioning toward his suitcase. “I have all I need in here. I’m leaving the rest of it behind… I don’t want to take any of it with me.”
Lowering his eyes and turning back around, placing the vase back in its proper spot, Yuki then asked: “Not even any of your drawings? None of the family pictures?”
Hyde crossed the room and opened the front door. “None of it. Will you please just take me to your house, Yuki? It’s depressing being here and it doesn’t feel right.”
“I understand, Haido-chan,” Yuki replied, also crossing the room and coming to stand beside Hyde. “Let’s go, then, if you’re sure you don’t want to get anything else from here.”
“I’m positive.” Hyde waited for Yuki to step outside and then he stepped outside himself, locking the door and shutting it. The ‘clicking’ noise sounded louder than it should have and made the whole place seem that much drearier. The house itself… it was dead, wasn’t it?
During the silent drive to Yuki’s house, Hyde wondered if he would ever again be somewhere that felt like home.
Chances were, with his luck, probably not.
Yuki’s house felt a lot less empty, but it was really strange to Hyde, knowing that he would be there for a while instead of just for a few hours like he usually was. Yuki led him to the guest bedroom, where he immediately dropped his suitcase and flopped down on the bed, gazing blankly at the ceiling. He knew he should probably change clothes or take a bath or maybe even sit down and try to have a decent meal, but he didn’t feel like doing any of that. Right now, he wanted to just curl up and sleep… and maybe never wake up.
“Welcome to your home for however long you wish to stay, Haido-chan,” he heard Yuki murmur from the doorway and he lifted his head, narrowing his eyes at the drummer. Of course, Yuki’s words had been meant in all kindness, but Hyde didn’t quite accept them as such. This wasn’t his home. He didn’t have a home anymore.
“This isn’t my home,” he replied just as softly. “I appreciate your kindness, Yuki-chan, but I don’t belong here. I don’t belong anywhere.”
“Haido-chan…” Yuki seemed to want to help so badly, but he also seemed uncertain as to what he should be doing right now. “I want to help you, you know. Do you need anything?”
Hyde shook his head, closing his eyes. “I don’t really need anything, Yuki-chan. I just want to sleep right now, okay? Wasn’t practice scheduled for tomorrow?”
Yuki shook his head. “It was cancelled. You don’t need to be pushing yourself like that; not yet, anyway.”
Hyde reopened his eyes and shrugged as best as he could while lying down. “It gives me something to do and takes my mind off things.”
“I know that, but right now you need to rest. So, I’m going to let you sleep, okay?” Yuki was motionless in the doorway for a moment, as though he were considering what to do next. Then he reached for the lightswitch and flicked it off, and the room was suddenly quite dark, save for small bit of light shining in from the open doorway. The shades were drawn, and the moonlight could not pass through them. Darkness, darkness, darkness. It was in Hyde’s mind, and he found it to be quite fitting that it would be in this room as well. Constantly lurking, always there.
“Yuki…” Hyde wanted to say something – he wanted to explain how the darkness was suddenly closing in around him from all sides and how he felt so alone in that big empty bed and how he would probably always feel alone from now on, but his voice died in his throat before he could get the words out.
Yuki stepped inside, crossing the room and standing at the side of the bed. “What is it, Haido-chan?”
Hyde reached out, finding the bottom of Yuki’s shirt in the darkness and grasping it tightly. “Stay,” he managed to whisper. “Just stay in here until I go to sleep, please. I know I’m being stupid but it’s too empty… too dark… please…”
Yuki climbed into the bed unhesitatingly, settling down beside him. “You’re not being stupid, Haido-chan. It’s understandable. You’re used to someone being there with you when you go to sleep. It’s okay. I’m here.”
His words were reassuring, and Hyde found himself curling up against Yuki’s warm body, shutting his eyes tightly against the darkness of the room and instead plunging into the darkness of his mind. “Thank you,” he managed to whisper, clutching at Yuki a little tighter.
“You were wrong earlier.” Yuki sounded somewhat melancholy.
“About what?” Hyde ventured to ask.
“You said you didn’t belong anywhere. You have a place here, for as long as you want it. You belong here. You have a home here.”
Even though the darkness in his mind was telling him that Yuki’s words were all lies, Hyde didn’t feel like arguing. For now, he was just grateful for the kindness, and Yuki’s willingness to try and dispel the loneliness even though he believed that he would always feel that way – lonely. Even in a crowd of a thousand people, he would still feel that aching emptiness.
“Okaeri,” he heard Yuki whisper, the word barely audible. Perhaps he wasn’t supposed to hear that softly-spoken word.
Hyde believed it was wise to ignore it. He could feel exhaustion finally settling into his body. During everything that had been going on, Hyde hadn’t allowed himself a moment’s rest, and now he supposed it was finally catching up with him. With a soft sigh, he allowed himself to slip almost gratefully into a different type of darkness – one that offered him a chance to rest.
Even his dreams were nothing but darkness – just blackness, consuming him and everything around him.
Hyde heaved a heavy sigh and exited the studio, utterly exhausted. He had been there all afternoon, long after everyone else had decided to leave. Now, he was just ready to go home.
Not home, he reminded himself. Yuki’s house.
It had been two years since Hyde had been staying with Yuki. In that span of time, something had developed between them – something terrifying and wonderful all at once that Hyde was afraid to put a name to. He didn’t want to say ‘lover’, because it gave him an odd feeling inside – a feeling that made him believe what they were doing was wrong.
Then again, what was between them at night anyway, besides sex? Hyde had never been gentle with Yuki; Yuki never complained, but Hyde could see the hurt in his eyes sometimes.
Hyde, however, didn’t like sleeping alone. He had established that on the first night, two years ago. For a few nights, Yuki stayed with him in the guest bedroom, and then a little while later, Yuki suggested that Hyde just stay with him in his bed.
About three months afterwards, they had had sex for the first time. Hyde felt somewhat guilty over not being gentle even then. Yuki had never been with another man before, and Hyde hadn’t been the least bit sympathetic. He had been rough and maybe even a little uncaring as well.
He regretted every single time he was like that with Yuki, but that never stopped him from being rough again.
Outside of sex, everything always fell into a comfortable routine with the two of them. Yuki could make him smile, and Hyde was grateful for that. He probably wouldn’t have made it through the past two years had Yuki not been there, making him smile and laugh. Yuki was a brightly-shining light that kept the darkness at bay whenever Hyde needed him to. It was just… nice to have that kind of relationship with someone. Comforting and calm – at least, during the day.
Hyde wasn’t sure if their nighttime relationship was at all healthy or stable. He hadn’t really questioned it before now. The first time he began to consider their fucking as being perhaps more than it should have been was just a few months ago, when Yuki wrapped both arms around him in their afterglow and whispered “I love you, Hyde. I love you.”
Hyde had never returned those words, though he had thought of doing so. He had also thought of Yuki’s. Perhaps he knew all along, deep down, that Yuki had had feelings for him. But Yuki actually speaking them shone a sort of dangerous light on their entire situation. If Hyde spoke the words back, would that be wrong? Would it be wrong to tell Yuki he loved him, and actually be gentle with him for once?
Maybe Hyde was just terrified that he would wind up losing Yuki just like he lost Megumi. Perhaps this was the biggest danger in falling in love.
These thoughts spun in his head on the way to Yuki’s house, and were still doing so when he opened the front door. Yuki was sitting in his usual spot on the couch, and his head snapped up as soon as Hyde entered.
That smile was one of the most beautiful things Hyde had ever seen, but that smile also made his insides bunch up in knots because he knew what Yuki would say next. He knew what Yuki was about to say, and he didn’t want to hear it. He never wanted to hear it, but Yuki said it anyway, every single time he came in the door… ever since that very first night.
“Okaeri, Haido-chan,” Yuki said, and Hyde closed his eyes. He did not reply; he never did reply. Silently, not wanting to start an argument, he went into the kitchen and took a coke out of the refrigerator, taking a long drink from it before putting it back.
No, no, no. Hyde knew what that tone meant. He didn’t want to argue, not today. He was tired and just wanted to sit down and do nothing, but Yuki was going to ask him questions and push him for answers, and Hyde just didn’t want to deal with it. “Yuki, please. Not today.”
“Why not?” Yuki asked, sounding lost. “This is your home now, you know. You’ve been here for two years and haven’t made a single attempt at finding somewhere else to stay.”
Hyde remained with his back turned to Yuki, leaning over the kitchen counter with a sigh. He knew Yuki was right – Yuki had always been right, but Hyde wasn’t about to let himself think of this as his home. He wasn’t about to get comfortable and consider himself in love and happy, not after what had happened last time. “You know why I don’t call this place home,” he said softly. “Just like you know why I won’t tell you that I love you.”
“I’m not your wife!” Yuki’s voice was angry now, and also teary. Hyde couldn’t help but flinch at the tone, even though he had heard it several times before. “I don’t expect to ever take Megumi-san’s place! No-one could ever fill her shoes! I don’t want that, Haido-chan.”
Yuki walked around the table so that he was standing in front of Hyde, but Hyde kept his eyes locked on the top of the table, refusing to meet Yuki’s eyes. Yuki would have none of it, apparently, and he grabbed Hyde’s chin, tilting his head up and forcing him to meet his eyes. “I know you have feelings for me, Haido-chan. I am tired of living with you and you never telling me. I am tired of you being afraid of loving someone else. Just because something awful happened to Megumi-san doesn’t mean anything awful is going to happen to me, and I’m sick of you not giving me a chance… not returning those words and not acknowledging that you belong here when you know you do. I’m sick of it! Don’t you think I fucking deserve a chance?!”
The words made Hyde’s heart wrench painfully in his chest. Of course Yuki deserved a chance… Hyde knew that he did. But he hid all of that knowledge and all of his feelings behind that cold mask of indifference, and he knew that that was what hurt Yuki most of all: seeming to not care at all. “If you’re sick of it, then why in the hell don’t you do something about it?!” He couldn’t help but yell… it was one of his defense mechanisms. He believed that by pushing Yuki away in this manner, both of them would wind up less hurt at the end of the argument than if he gave in and further down the line something awful happened.
“So… even after two years, you can’t say that this is home? You can’t say that you belong here? You can’t say that you love me and you want to be with me?” Yuki was crying now, the tears sliding down his cheeks and falling onto his shirt. It hurt Hyde to see Yuki like this, and it hurt even worse to know that he was the cause of it, though he’d probably never admit that to anyone other than himself.
“No I can’t,” Hyde replied, jerking away from Yuki and turning his back to him once again. “Don’t tell me ‘welcome back’ or ‘welcome home’, Yuki. I’m sick of hearing it. You know I can’t say ‘I’m glad to be home.’ This isn’t my home. It’s yours… I’ve just been staying here. I don’t have a home. And I don’t think I know what love is, anymore.”
He knew each word would be like a stab in the heart to Yuki. He knew, but he had to come up with some way to make him shut up. If hurting his feelings right now was the only way, Hyde would take it. He expected Yuki to tell him that he was selfish and stupid, or that he didn’t deserve the feelings that Yuki had for him, or something of the sort and he steeled himself for those words.
Yuki’s next words, however, were nothing at all like what Hyde had been expecting. “Get out,” he heard Yuki hiss. “Just get out of my house.”
In a state of utter shock and disbelief, Hyde turned back around, gazing at Yuki, noting the tears still streaming down his cheeks. “…What?”
“You said you don’t belong here, you apparently aren’t capable of loving me, and you get pissed at me when I welcome you back here. I’ve been dealing with it for two years Hyde, and I’m not going to deal with it anymore. Pack some of your things and go to a hotel. You can come back later and get the rest of your things. I love you, but I’m not going to let myself waste away due to heartbreak on your account. Just… go.”
Everything that Hyde had so carefully built was falling apart again. His world was falling into a thousand pieces once more, only he knew the fault was his own this time. As much as he wanted to grab Yuki and hold him and tell him he was the best person in his life right now… as much as he wanted to tell him that yes, he loved him and yes, he wanted this to be his home; as much as he wanted to apologize and say that he would never act in such a manner again, his pride and stubbornness wouldn’t allow him to do so.
“Fine,” Hyde snarled, his eyes narrowed. “As long as you’re fucking happy.”
“It’s better than living with heartbreak every single day! Going to bed at night and having you fuck me like I’m some plaything, and then going about the day like everything with us is perfectly normal?! What kind of life is that, Hyde?! What kind of home is this?!” Yuki was gripping the kitchen counter so tightly that his knuckles were turning white. He was shaking violently, but Hyde could see the authority shining in those eyes. Yuki meant business.
“I told you,” Hyde spat, exiting the kitchen and heading upstairs, “this isn’t any sort of home for me. I don’t belong here.”
“You’re right. You don’t,” he heard Yuki whisper brokenly.
Ten minutes later, Hyde’s suitcase was packed. He headed back downstairs and found Yuki exactly where he had left him, but he refused to look at him directly. Without saying a word, he exited, slamming the door behind him. He didn’t bother looking back as he climbed into his car and started the engine, knowing that if he did it would only make things harder.
For the first time in two years, Hyde knew he was going to cry, and all he could do was let the tears fall.
“Idiot,” Hyde muttered as he pulled the car to a stop, not quite certain if he was referring to Yuki or himself. He should have been referring completely to himself, and only himself, he knew. Yuki wasn’t the idiot… Yuki knew what he wanted and had tried his best for two years to convince Hyde of the same. And though he hardly ever outwardly showed it, Hyde always found himself inwardly responding to Yuki’s efforts, each and every single time.
How could he not? Yuki had been nothing but loving towards him; kind and giving and simply an endless bundle of warmth. He had never seen such selflessness in any other previous lover. Of course, Megumi had loved him with all of her heart, but Yuki seemed to practically worship him. Hyde felt as if he had to withstand it, but how could he? He found himself wanting to wallow in that warmth. And yet...
He had gone too far today. He had been pushing Yuki for two years and today the storm had broken. Yuki had been holding all that hurt inside, and Hyde had pushed him just far enough for him to let it all loose. Hurt, pain… he was sick of hurting the people he cared for. He used to push Megumi away too, when she would tell him he was pushing himself too hard. Now, he knew he had to do something… something to prove to Yuki that he truly did want to stay – that he thought of Yuki’s house as his home, even if he was afraid to admit to it. If things kept on this way, he would lose Yuki for good – if he hadn’t already - and it would be his own fault.
A growl churned deep in his throat as he pushed himself out of the car somewhat angrily. It was time to deal with this… to deal with everything that had been happening these past couple of years. There would be no more avoidance.
As soon as he set foot on the ground, however, his stomach coiled into a thousand anguishing knots. Mentally reinforcing his resolve, Hyde forced his legs to work, and he began heading forward, toward a secluded hill in the distance. He stopped at the top of said hill, just beneath the willow tree that had been planted there. Megumi had always liked willows. His gaze fell to the ground, to the elegant stone markers that held few words, yet each one was a knife twisting painfully into his heart.
Their names – those of his wife and his little girl, a brief poem for each, and then the day he had lost them at the very bottom. A sigh escaped him as he slowly eased himself down to his knees, his hand rising to lightly run over the engraved kanji on each marker. I’m so sorry, my girls… you were my life, you know…
Megumi had always seen straight through his faked indifference. She knew who he was on the inside, and why he tended to distance himself sometimes. She knew how he felt.
But still… she had deserved far better. She had deserved a better husband, just as their daughter had deserved a better father.
Hyde closed his eyes against the fresh wave of tears that threatened to spill over, but closed them too late. They fell anyway, not making an audible noise as they hit the ground below. “Forgive me,” he whispered. “Forgive me for not being there when you needed me, for not following you when you passed on… I probably should have, shouldn’t I? Forgive me for coming in late more than on time. Forgive me for missing our little girl’s first word. Forgive me for letting her slip away with you.” He scrubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand, irritated at the tears.
“And,” he added, almost as an afterthought, “forgive me for Yuki…”
“…He’s been so patient with me these past two years,” he continued, his tone growing even softer. “I’ve never been half as gentle with him as with you, and it hurts him. I know it does. I’ve been doing nothing but hurting him, even though I don’t want to. He tells me his house is my home… but I’m afraid of that, Megumi. I’m afraid of the implications in those words. I’m afraid of telling him that I love him and that I want to be with him…
“Would you be jealous if I did? Would it be a bad thing for me to be with him, or would you want me to try and work this out? I don’t want him hurting on my account, but I’m so afraid that something will happen to him one day as well and then I will be truly alone. You loved me, and I never understood why. He loves me, and I don’t understand why. But I want to try, Megumi… I want to give a real relationship another chance. I want to try with him, because he’s been trying so damn hard for so long… I want to try for him. With him.”
There. Hyde had said it. His eyes fell closed again and he sighed in relief. It felt so good to say it out loud.
“I love him…” He lifted his hand once more, touching each marker once more. “But that doesn’t mean that I’ll ever stop loving you, Megumi… or our little girl. The two of you were my entire life, and I love you both so much. I miss you… and I don’t think that I’ll ever stop missing you. I don’t think I’m supposed to stop.”
He slowly climbed to his feet, but tarried a moment longer, gazing wordlessly down at their graves – and then a sudden feeling of peace overcame him, gentle and soothing as it tenderly caressed him with a soft, velvety touch.
Hyde blinked, and then a smile tugged at his lips. He had to make one more stop.
The house was just as he had left it years ago, only now it was quite dusty and smelled strange… old. Of course, no one had set foot in it for such a long period of time – what exactly had he been expecting?
He stepped into the living room almost cautiously, feeling his heart wrench painfully despite the calmness within him. It still hurt to be here, in such emptiness. But he was here for a reason. He had to get something and take it back…
It was then that his eyes fell on the very object he was looking for. The same blue vase that Yuki had asked about the last time Hyde had been here… it was still in its proper place, just as it should have been. He moved to stand in front of the shelf that it rested on and he lifted it gently, dusting it off as best as he could. It had always been his favorite vase.
With his fragile cargo in his arms he exited the house once again, taking a moment to gaze around the living room one last time before locking the door and quietly shutting it.
Hyde carefully placed his vase in the passenger’s seat, and then climbed into the car himself. He placed the key in the ignition and turned it, smiling as he heard the engine start. He pulled out of the drive and onto the road, humming softly to himself.
He was going home.
The door wasn’t locked, and Hyde found it quite strange that it wasn’t. He pushed it open nonetheless, the vase tucked safely under his arm. Yuki was standing at the bottom of the stairs, gazing at him in what appeared to be disbelief, but there was also hope shining in those brown orbs of his, and he wasn’t bothering to hide it.
“Haido-chan,” he whispered, that hope in his eyes spreading to his voice also. “I was hoping you would be back. I didn’t… earlier—I mean, I didn’t mean what I said. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again, I promise. I was just--”
Hyde crossed the room in a few short strides, shaking his head wordlessly and placing two fingers to Yuki’s rapidly flapping lips. He smiled as Yuki’s eyes slid to the vase and turned, walking to the coffee table, which was in the middle of the living room. He gingerly placed the vase in the middle of the table and then gazed at Yuki, hoping that the other man would understand what Hyde was doing – what he was trying to say without speaking.
From the looks of things, Yuki understood. His eyes kept flicking from Hyde to the vase and back again, and they rapidly filled with tears. “Oh… oh, Haido-chan… I--”
“I know,” Hyde interrupted, speaking very softly. “I know, Yuki-chan.” In the next moment, he was standing in front of Yuki, his arms tightly wrapped around him. “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry.”
Yuki’s arms were around him then, too, and had the world fell into a thousand pieces in that instant, Hyde would have gone smiling. “It’s okay,” he heard Yuki reply. “I just don’t want to argue like that anymore, so I won’t try to push you or--”
“Hush,” Hyde interrupted again, pulling back and taking Yuki’s hands in his own. “Come upstairs with me, Yuki-chan. I want to make love to you.”
Hyde had never been so gentle with him before. But tonight, he took his time. He ran his fingers over every inch of skin, paying special attention to the areas that made Yuki’s breath catch. He gazed at the beautiful man beneath him, as if memorizing every curve, every angle of him. His lips and hands wandered freely, and Yuki lay passively beneath him, letting him explore.
When Hyde slid inside of him, he went slow and was incredibly careful, gazing into Yuki’s eyes the entire time. For once, he didn’t see even a hint of pain in those eyes, and he felt relieved for it. He set a slow rhythm, loving the delicious feel of Yuki’s muscles clenching around him every now and again, loving the way Yuki clutched at him every time he brushed against his prostate, loving the way Yuki’s hips rose to meet him thrust for thrust, and loving the way Yuki moaned his name and writhed beneath him.
Their shared climax was overwhelming – Hyde could hear himself crying out, and could also hear Yuki crying out beneath him. His entire body trembled, and continued to tremble even several minutes afterwards.
“Mmm…” Hyde buried his face in Yuki’s neck, unwilling to pull out of his warmth just yet. Yuki’s release was sticky between their bodies, but Hyde didn’t mind at all. He was quite content to just be in Yuki’s arms right now, regaining his breath and balance.
“Haido-chan,” Yuki whispered, and Hyde nearly purred when he felt Yuki’s fingers run through his hair. “What does this mean?”
Hyde finally lifted his head, a small smile playing on his lips. “You don’t know what it means?”
“I have an idea… I’m hoping that I’m right, but I want to hear it from you,” Yuki replied, brushing his knuckles over his cheek.
“It means,” Hyde began, kissing Yuki softly, “tadaima, Yuki-chan. Tadaima.”
Yuki’s eyes closed, and suddenly Hyde found himself crushed even tighter against Yuki. Yuki was murmuring something insensible over and over again, and after straining to understand, he finally realized that Yuki was saying ‘thank you’ over and over again.
“You shouldn’t thank me,” Hyde replied, almost sadly. “I don’t deserve it. You deserve it though. You put up with me all this time.”
“It’s only because I love you.”
Again, Hyde found himself smiling. “I know. I love you, too. And now I’m not afraid to say it. I will always love Megumi, but she’s gone, and you’re here. I think she would want me to be happy, and with you, I know I can be. I belong here, with you.”
There was a comfortable silence between them for a few moments, but when Hyde shifted slightly, slipping out of Yuki, the other man groaned softly and Hyde made a small noise in the back of his throat. He lay down beside Yuki, dragging him even closer and running his fingers over his hair. “Should we sleep now?” he asked. “I know I’ll sleep well tonight, now. And remind me to go get my suitcase out of the car in the morning, please.”
He both heard and felt Yuki chuckle. “Okay. Goodnight, then, love… and… okaeri.”
Hyde couldn’t help but grin. “Yes…” he murmured softly before sleep claimed him.
He was home. And it felt wonderful to be there.