Genre: AU, Angst
Pairing: Aoi/Uruha, slight Reita/Uruha
Disclaimer: Don’t own them
Summary: When Uruha's first love leaves him, he's heartbroken and alone. He clings to the first person who shows an interest in him, not wanting to be on his own. But he finds that Aoi never truly leaves him behind, even as the years pass, one by one. Time can't change how he feels
“Reita,” I whine, adjusting my tie, annoyed that it won’t sit right. I scrutinize myself in the mirror, taking in my hair, making sure it looks alright, even though I have no idea why we’re getting so dressed up. Reita sits on the bed behind me, watching me with a small smile on his face, and I huff, turning to face him, leaving the tie be. It will have to do for now. “You haven’t even told me where we’re going.” I give him a small pout, trying to make him tell me, and he stands, grabbing my arm gently and leading me out of the bedroom.
I’m secretly hoping he’s taking me out for dinner, somewhere nice, because it’s been so long since we’ve done something together. Reita usually works so late, and by the time he gets home, he just wants to sleep. It makes me feel so lonely.
“You won’t want to go then, will you?” Reita tells me cheerfully, and I narrow my eyes as I’m pushed out the front door. Reita steps out behind me and locks the door, ignoring my questioning gaze. When he turns to face me, I glare pointedly at him until he confesses.
“Okay,” he admits sheepishly. “It’s a party.”
“A party.” I repeat dully, raising my eyes to the dark sky above us before letting out a small sigh. Another one. I thought we had finished with those silly affairs, I thought he was back to normal, that we were the way we used to be. “And why do I need to come?”
“Look, Uruha, my boss is going to be there. I need someone to take.”
I stiffen at those words, because to me, it sounds like he’s only taking me because he has to.
“I could get a promotion from this, please?”
I frown at him, not wanting to go at all. I always feel so out of place among the rich business men and their snobby wives. They make me feel as if I’m worth nothing, though Reita is among their ranks. I’m just pulled along for show, and Reita abandons me to mingle with his work friends. I always end up wandering around for the night, alone and bored, until Reita collects me and we go home. I wish he would just go without me.
“Reita-” I start with a sigh, exhausted from this whole thing; the coming home late, the constant work he’s doing the rare times he is at home. It makes me feel as if his work is more important to me, and deep down I know it’s true.
“I promise this is the last one,” Reita pleads, and he gently takes hold of my hand when I make no move, pulling me to the car parked in the driveway. I follow him without protest, because truthfully, I’m scared of him leaving me. I know that this isn’t fair on me, and it hurts me to be treated like this, but I know it would hurt more to be alone. I experienced that years ago, and I don’t wish to do so again.
“That’s what you said last time,” I say quietly, almost so quietly he can’t hear me, but as he starts up the engine, he gives me a guilty look. He doesn’t say anything though, doesn’t try to comfort me as a tear runs down my cheek. I stare out the window willing myself not to be so weak. I should be lucky that Reita’s stayed with me for so long, and I try to tell myself this. It doesn’t help though, only makes me feel me worthless.
Reita is silent the whole ride, and I am too, preferring to watch the lights of the city flash by as we travel. I hate this place, and I wish I could go back to my old house but……..I shake my head, trying hard not to start thinking about that again. It’s been years since I’ve been there now, and no doubt someone else has already moved in. I had thought I’d finally stopped thinking about my ex, and I had come dangerously close to doing so again. I know it’s foolish to still be so upset, after so many years, so I block the thought from my mind, concentrating on the sights outside.
The cars on the road with us pass by in a rush, their headlights cutting through the dark road, and I wonder where they are going, who they are carrying. Is there a happy couple in that silver one, out to spend a romantic evening together? And even though I can’t possibly know if there is or not, I feel incredibly jealous.
Why can’t Reita just be the way he was? I remember when we used to spend so much time together, and he would treat me for no reason at all. It wasn’t even the expensive dinners and gifts that I enjoyed, it was knowing that he cared enough to do those things for me.
But time passed, and he changed.
Work took over his life, his high stress job cutting into what little time we had together. I had quit my job shortly after I moved in with Reita, because as he had pointed out, he earned more than enough money. I was fine with the suggestion, because frankly, I hated my job at the time. I had hoped that it would mean we would be able to spend more time together, because by this time the flame was dying. But I found myself eating dinner alone and placing his portion in the fridge for when he arrived home.
He apologized in the beginning, telling me he would see his boss about lessening his work load, but it never happened. I had contemplated leaving many times, but my last relationship had shaken my nerves. I couldn’t go out there alone again, because I hated that feeling. I felt I was worthless, that no one would want me, so I took what little attention Reita gave me, feeling pathetic as I did so.
I feel butterflies rise in my stomach now as the car slows, and we come to a stop outside the tall building. I haven’t been here before, so I assume Reita’s company must have decided on a different venue this time. I can already see the elegant ladies almost floating through the doors, and the men in suits following beside them. I already feel out of place, and I haven’t even stepped out of the car yet.
Reita opens his door, and glances at me worriedly before stepping out of the car. I almost don’t move, because there’s no way I want to go into another one of those again. But Reita opens my door for me, and I can already see the people watching us, and I would only make a scene if I were to refuse. So I step out slowly, keeping my head down, not wanting to meet the eyes of the many people around us.
Reita hands the valet the keys, and entwines his arm in mine, pulling me along the wide doors of the building gently. There’s quite a crowd in the lobby already, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m not exactly from a rich family, and even living with Reita these few years hasn’t made me used to the extravagance of it all. In my experience, most of the women are snobs, and the men are power hungry.
Reita leads me to the elevator, and we step inside with a few other people, not saying a word to each other. I know our routine by now; Reita introduces me to his work colleagues, and then abandons me for the rest of the night.
Am I just a pretty face for Reita to use? I know they talk about me, about how beautiful I am, because I overheard the women at the first party I went along to. And I knew from that moment, that this was the only reason he would bring me along. It made them notice him, and that was what he needed.
The silence in the elevator is almost deafening, and it does nothing to calm my nerves. I can feel my heart beating fast, because I don’t want the elevator doors to open, and I don’t want to step out into the crowd I know will be waiting. My arm is still in Reita’s, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I know I don’t mean to him what I used to. Or maybe I never was more than a trophy in his eyes.
I try to think back to when I first met him, but time has blurred my memories and makes it impossible to tell if he truly did love me.
I almost miss the doors opening, caught up in my own thoughts, but Reita leads me out, and I follow along beside him, like I had done so many times before. But this time it’s harder to smile, harder to keep a cheerful face for him. I don’t want him to be disappointed in me, because I’m scared of being alone again. I know I shouldn’t be so weak, but I can’t help it.
Reita makes his way over to a group of men, and I think I recognize some of them, having seen them at other events before tonight. “You’ve met Matsumoto-san, have you not Uruha?” Reita asks me, and I stare at the shorter man in front of me, trying to remember who he is. Sure I know his face, but I can’t remember what position this man holds.
“Yes,” I end up saying politely, because I’m sure I’ve met him before. He holds out his hand in greeting, and I take it without hesitation, knowing it’s the polite thing to do. Matsumoto eyes me appreciatively, and suddenly I remember who he is. He’s Reita’s boss, one of the most important men in the company, and I can see why Reita’s been bringing me along now. Matsumoto’s handshake last for a moment longer than necessary, and his gaze lingers for longer than deemed polite. Even when he turns to Reita, I can see him glance at me momentarily out of the corner of his eye. I’m introduced to the rest of the people I don’t know, and I forget their names as soon as I hear them. Not that they matter anyway.
It’s a sizable amount of people around us, and I almost don’t hear the name when it’s spoken, but the voice, that familiar voice startles me out of my daze. I’ve heard that voice before, god, I could never forget it, even after all these years. It still has that lilting quality that I loved so much, and just the sound of that voice alone would make me feel safe.
I almost don’t turn to see who it is – I already know who it is, I’m sure of it. I could never mistake that voice – but Reita taps me on the shoulder, a frown on his face. I can tell he’s annoyed, because I’m being rude, but I can’t really care at the moment. I turn though, feeling the eyes of the rest of the crowd on me, and I try to keep a straight face as I observe the man in front of me.
He looks so different, yet still recognizable. His hair is longer, I notice that right away, and I stare at it for a moment, remembering how I would run my hands through the silky strands lovingly. His face still looks beautiful, but somehow more mature. I guess we were young back then, and despite the fact that he still must be in his late twenties, he looks so much older.
If he recognized me – and I know he must – he doesn’t show it. Instead, he holds out his hand, telling me his name. It hurts me that he’s doing this, because I’ve known him better than anyone in this room, and yet I’m reduced to acting like a total stranger. I stare at his hand, trying to stop the tears from welling up in my eyes, and he waits for me to take it. Reita nudges me again, and I can tell he’s becoming annoyed.
“Aoi’s new this year, so you haven’t met him before,” Reita informs me, his voice nervous before I finally take Aoi’s hand and shake it firmly. My own hand shakes, and I think Aoi notices, because he sends me a strange look, one that might have been of pity. And when he tries to pull his hand back, I find myself not wanting to let go, gripping it tightly. It somehow makes me feel safe to feel his skin against mine again. I’ve been missing this for so long.
He tugs his hand away forcefully, and I feel my cheeks heating up as I realize there’s still a crowd of men around us. Aoi steps back, away from me, and for the first time, I see the girl by his side. She’s pretty enough, her long blonde hair cascading down her back, and her dress hugging her form tightly. But the anger I feel is indescribable when I see Aoi wrap an arm around her waist and tug her close to him.
Is this what he left me for? He left me for this girl, this pretty young thing? He had told me that things just weren’t working out, but I had suspected he had someone else. Why else would he suddenly want to end it, when things had been going so well. Three years, we had been together, and I couldn’t have asked for more. Aoi had been my everything, and I loved him. I’m sure Aoi had loved me, but I don’t know when he had stopped. It hurts even more now, than it had that night Aoi had sat me down and told me he would be leaving, because I know why he left. I can tell by the way they’re so close, so at ease with each other, that they’ve been together for a while now.
“And who is this?” I ask, my voice dripping with venom, and Reita clutches my arm tightly as the girl narrows her eyes at my comment. As much as I try to keep my anger out of my voice, it doesn’t seem to work. I hate her, and I don’t even know her name. She took my Aoi away, the man I had loved, still love. I tried to tell myself for the past few years that I don’t, because it would make it so much easier to move on, but I can’t deny how I feel.
“This is Mai,” Aoi tells me, pulling the girl forward, and she giggles as she brushes against Aoi.
It sickens me.
It turn away, willing myself not to think about it, because it will only result in me becoming upset, but as much as I try, I can’t stop the tears from falling. The anger dissolves, and sadness replaces it. Reita looks to me worriedly as I bow my head, not wanting to let anyone else see, but when I let out a small sob, he knows there’s something wrong.
“Uruha,” he calls gently, and he steers me away from the crowd, away from Aoi. It hurts to be away from Aoi, because I wanted to see him again for so long, but at least I don’t have to see Mai anymore. I feel so childish for saying this, but I hate her.
“What’s wrong Uruha?” Reita asks, cupping his hand underneath my chin and raising my eyes to his. My vision is blurred by tears, and his face is filled with concern. Somehow it surprises me. I thought he didn’t care about me anymore. I let out another small sob, although I try not to, and before long, Reita is leading me over the restroom.
It’s quiet inside, the chatter from the room outside blocked by the door, but it only serves to make my noises louder, and Reita grows more worried. I make my way over to an empty stall, and sit down on the closed lid, resting my head in my hands. I can still see the way Aoi had pulled Mai close, can still hear her giggle, and the memory mocks me. It’s shoved in my face, making other memories surface along with it, happy ones of Aoi and I.
“Uruha,” Reita calls again, kneeling down to my level and I continue to stare at the wall across the room. “Please tell me what’s wrong.”
I never told Reita about Aoi, why would I? I felt no need to. Aoi was my first love, my only love really, and after he left I was heartbroken and on my own. I was young and scared, and when I met Reita I clung to him desperately, hoping he could make me forget all about Aoi. And I had for a time, but the memories would keep resurfacing, and keep reminding me. I knew I still loved Aoi, and I longed to see him again.
“I can’t,” I sob, feeling my makeup running, my mascara running down my face in dark lines. I know I must look pathetic like this, crying in the toilet, but I can’t help it. Reita rubs my knee comfortingly, not seeming to know what to say. I don’t think anything he’s says could make me feel any better anyway.
“You knew Aoi,” Reita says slowly, chewing on his bottom lip, obviously thinking. I nod, and it’s the only information I feel like giving him. It’s obvious anyway, from the way I had acted. And it hurts me that Aoi had acted like he’d never met me in his life.
Did all those years mean nothing to him? They meant the world to me.
“Who was he to you?” Reita asks quietly, but I can’t answer. I feel like I could cry all night at this rate, and it feels as though I’m reliving that night years ago, when Aoi walked out the door. I couldn’t bear to stay in that house, so I had moved out, finding somewhere new, somewhere that didn’t remind me of Aoi.
Reita kneels in front of me as I cry rubbing my knee gently, but soon he’s glancing to his watch, and as I calm down slightly he stands, brushing his pants off. “I really need to go back out, they’ll be wondering where I am,” he tells me, and I can detect a hint of guilt in his voice. I nod sadly, not looking at him.
“Will you be alright?” He asks, brushing my hair from my eyes gently, and the gesture reminds me of Aoi. Aoi used to like doing that, back when he loved me.
“I’ll be fine,” I tell him, hiccupping in the middle of my sentence, and Reita shoots me one last concerned look before exiting the bathroom. The loud sound of voices drifts through the doorway as Reita opens it, but with a small click the door is shut again, and the room falls silent.
I sit there for a while longer, not wanting to move. But when I glance at my watch, I realize it’s only six thirty. I have at least another four more hours, and there’s no way I can spend the rest of the night in here. But at the same time I’m scared of going back out there. I don’t want to run into Aoi again, because I’m afraid of what I might do. I feel like slapping that girl, and I know that if Aoi so much as looked at me, I’d burst into tears again.
I stand on weak legs, and make my way over to the mirror. I look a mess, and I glare at my reflection as I turn the tap on and wait for the water to warm up. And when the water turns warmer over my fingers, I cup my hands together, and splash it over my face. I wipe away the evidence of my crying as best I can, and dry my face off. My eyes are still red rimmed, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. At least I still look presentable, and my hair is fine.
I anxiously look to the door before I walk over to it slowly, and rest my hand on the handle. Maybe I’ll just have a few drinks and try to relax, try to forget about everything that has happened.
So I step back out into the crowd, the noise hitting me again and making me pause for a moment. Everyone’s milling around now, and as I scan the crowd anxiously, I notice there’s no Aoi to be seen. I quickly locate a waiter, and a glass of wine, before trying to find a quiet spot where I can just sit down.
I end up wandering through the rest of the building, up several flights of stairs, before I come to the rooftop. I ignore the curious looks I get as I pass the people already out there, and try to find somewhere that’s not busy. The rooftop isn’t as crowed as it is downstairs, yet there’s still a large amount of people out here. It’s nice up here actually, and there’s even small tables littered around.
I find one in the corner, and sit down hurriedly. The stars glint above me, and the lights of the city flash out at me as I look over the railing to the view below. The other, larger buildings tower over me, and it makes me feel insignificant and small.
I finish my glass of quickly, and soon I find myself getting another, and another, trying to drown out my sorrow. It doesn’t seem to be working though, and I set my last glass down in the table with a shaky hand.
I rest my head down next to it, closing my eyes and wishing I were somewhere else. I wish that I was back at my old house, the one Aoi and I used to share, and just watching a movie with him. It’s the simple things about Aoi that I miss most.
There’s a sound of metal scraping against tiles, but I don’t raise my head to see who’s there. It will be Reita, I’m sure of it, because although he’s never paid any attention to me during these events before, he had seemed genuinely worried a coupled of hours ago. I squeeze my eyes shut, not wanting to open them and have to talk to Reita. I don’t feel like talking about anything right now, no matter how concerned Reita is.
I let out a sigh as I feel a hand running through my hair gently, and it makes me just the slightest bit happier. It’s been so long since Reita’s shown me affection like this. But there’s something strange about that touch. It’s familiar, yet it’s not Reita’s. Reita’s not that gentle, no one’s ever been this gentle.
I remember that touch.
My eyes snap open, and I pull my head back quickly, away from Aoi’s hand. I stare at him for a moment, sitting across from me as if it’s the most natural thing in the world for him to be here. I look to the chair beside him expecting to see Mai there, but it’s empty. It’s just Aoi and I in the quiet corner of the roof now.
I try to stand, but I feel dizzy, and almost stumble down to the ground. Aoi catches my wrist from across the table and pulls me back down to my seat. “You never could hold your alcohol, could you?” He says with a light laugh, but I don’t find it the least bit funny.
I rip my hand from his grip and his smile immediately fades as he sees the anger on my face. “Uru, could we talk?” He asks, and his voice is almost small now; this is not the Aoi I remember.
“What’s there to talk about?” I ask coldly, sitting with my arms crossed, because I’m scared to attempt standing again. I just know I’ll fall flat on my face, and that’s the last thing I need after everything that’s happened tonight.
“You’ve been crying,” Aoi says softly, completely ignoring my question, and he reaches up to caress my cheek. For a moment, I lean into the touch, enjoying feeling Aoi soft fingers again, but then I remember everything that’s happened between us, and I push his hand away angrily.
“Stop fucking with me,” I cry, letting my tears flow again, unable to stop them in my alcohol induced haze.
“I’m not, I just want to talk-”
“You have no idea how much you hurt me, do you Aoi?” I yell angrily, and I push myself up from the table on unstable legs. He looks as though he wants to help me stand, but the look I send him warns him not to touch me again.
“Can I just-”
“I still love you. I never stopped loving you, but I’m obviously not that important to you, am I?” I push away from the table, feeling sick to the stomach and as though I might vomit any moment. Looking back on it now, I probably shouldn’t have had so much to drink. It’s just made things worse.
I find the bathroom minutes later, and to my relief it’s empty. I barely make it to the toilet, and I lean over it, retching violently, feeling tears run down my face. I hate the way I’m acting tonight, and I’m thankful there’s no one here to see me.
It’s as if my thoughts are heard, because just then the door opens, and the sounds of footsteps echo around the room. Moments later, hands are pulling my hair back gently, holding it out of the way as I vomit, all the wine I had consumed that evening coming back up. I know it’s Aoi, because I could recognize that touch anywhere, yet I don’t refuse his help. I’m too exhausted to care, and when I finally finish, and he passes me a paper towel, I take it without complaint.
I wipe my mouth with shaky hands, and lean back against the wall as I hear the lid of the toilet set down and flushed. I know I shouldn’t be sitting on the floor like this, because who knows what’s been on here? But I can’t care anymore.
Aoi sits down in front of me, closer than I thought he would, and he wipes my sweaty forehead gently as my chest heaves and I try to get my breathing to return to normal. It feels like everything is back the way it was, Aoi by my side, and me happy, because his touches are gentle and loving. It confuses me.
“I’m so sorry,” he breathes, but I don’t look to him. I don’t want to, because I’ll be reminded of what I cannot have.
“Then why did you leave?” I whisper, unable to express my anger with him for leaving me alone. I’m just too exhausted to try.
“I didn’t want to,” he tells me sadly, but I still don’t look to him. No one made him leave, no one made him go to Mai and choose her over me.
“Sure,” I say sarcastically, tears running silently down my cheeks, and I roll my eyes in an attempt to make myself feel better.
“Uru, you don’t understand.”
I feel myself breaking as Aoi uses the nickname he would call me by, and I sit lifelessly, not arguing with him when he begins to talk. He can try to suck up to me all he wants, but it’s not going to work.
“You never met my parents, right?” He asks quietly, and I raise my eyes to meet his, noting with shock that he’s crying. I’ve never seen Aoi cry before, never.
“No,” I reply, my voice shaky, and I wonder what he’s trying to tell me.
“They got me this job,” Aoi says bitterly. “They’re pretty rich you know, and they used their influence. I hated their lifestyle, so……you remember our place, don’t you?” Aoi asks, and he looks wistful, as if thinking back to those days. I nod, seeing the house clearly in my mind. It wasn’t anything flash, but it wasn’t a dump either.
“My father found out about you. I was visiting them and left my laptop sitting out. He saw one of your emails, and well……..he’s never been very supportive of me in that aspect. He told me he wanted me to end it, and I flat out refused. I never wanted to leave you.”
“Then why did you?” I ask again, still not understanding what Aoi is trying to tell me.
“My mother’s health was never very good, but over the last few years it’s been deteriorating,” Aoi sighs, running a hand through his hair. It seems that despite everything, he still loves his parents. “She wanted to see me married before she died, told me that I had to carry on the family name. I’m the only child she has left. And when father told her about you, she was in tears. She kept telling me how disappointed she was in me, how her only wish was to see me married. Father arranged a marriage…….and…..” Aoi trails off, looking to me with a pained expression.
“How could I refuse her?” Aoi cries, and I’m startled at the emotion the other man is showing. I’ve never seen Aoi like this before.
“I didn’t want to leave you Uru. I tried to get in contact with you the week after I left and the years after that, but you moved, and your name wasn’t listed in the phone book. I knew I had made the wrong decision. I didn’t love Mai like I love you. I never loved her. And when I first met Reita, and he mentioned your name, I was ecstatic.”
“You still love me?” I breathe, and before I can even move, Aoi is moving in and pressing his lips to mine. It’s only a small kiss, a gentle one, and Aoi’s mouth is gone almost as soon as it had come, but for the first time in a while, I feel happy, even if it’s only for a moment.
It gives me my answer.
“Please don’t think I’m lying,” Aoi pleads, but there’s something in his voice that convinces me anyway. It had seemed strange to me that Aoi had ended everything when he did, because we were so happy at the time.
“Why didn’t you just tell me?” I ask, feeling slightly betrayed as I think back to that night. “Why did you lie to me?”
“Because I didn’t want you to think I was weak,” Aoi tells me, and I lean against him, resting my head on his shoulder.
“I would never think that,” I murmur, relaxing completely as Aoi arms circle around my waist. “Are you married to her now?” I ask curiously, still simmering with anger when I think of Mai.
“She wants kids,” Aoi says, and he sounds scared. “Mother too.”
I fall silent, lapsing into my own thoughts, before Aoi grabs hold of my shoulders gently, and pulls me away from his body.
“Let’s run,” he whispers, and I look to him with wide eyes.
“Where to?” I ask, but it lifts my spirits. Why would Aoi suggest this if he doesn’t love me?
“Anywhere away from here,” Aoi glances at the door, and I do too, worrying that someone might come in, especially Reita. It’s as if Aoi reads my thoughts, because he’s soon asking me the question I’d been expecting since his confession.
“Do you love Reita?”
It only takes me a moment to decide. Reita’s nice enough, he’s given me a place to live, he’s kind enough to me, but I’m sure he doesn’t love me, and I don’t love him. He’ll find another pretty face he can use if I leave, and he probably won’t think twice about it. I think his work is just too important to him.
“Then let’s go, right now,” Aoi says softly, tugging me to my feet. I sway slightly, still feeling dizzy from the alcohol, but I don’t care anymore. I lean heavily against Aoi as we make our way down the stairs and before long we’re on the sidewalk. There are still people milling around outside, and they still look at me as I pass, but I don’t feel embarrassed as they do so this time.
“Love you,” I mumble sleepily, once I’m in the passenger seat of Aoi’s car. I feel a hand trail up my face gently, and hear the quiet words, “I love you too.”
I fall asleep knowing that everything will be alright.
The wheel of time had turned before, but this time we’ll be together as it does.
The journey won’t be as lonely.