Nighttime. Matthew glanced at the clock.
It was only 10:30, he wasn't asleep yet. His brother probably was
still awake too. Matthew sighed and went back to staring at the ceiling.
As soon as they had gotten home from the competition, he had gone
straight to his room and locked the door. Mark had asked him if he
was alright, but Matthew had claimed a headache and asked to be alone.
His family had fulfilled his wishes, and more, not even bothering to come
up and check up on him. Maybe they'd forgotten he was still here.
Matthew closed his eyes slowly. He knew he was being childish.
He should be happy for his brother. But instead of being happy, he
felt as though something fundamental was being stolen from him and nobody
was noticing. He was going to be seperated from Mark for four years.
They had never been apart that long before. Their parents had always
done their best to keep them in the same classes in school until high school,
and even then they tended to sign up for the same things. Well, not
always the exact same things. In fact, when Matthew thought about
it, they had slowly been seperating more and more every year. This
year they only had their English class together. Next year, they
probably wouldn't even be in the same state. Matthew's eyes squeezed
tighter. It felt unfair, terribly unfair. He was losing his
brother, and he couldn't even make himself happy that Mark was getting
what he wanted. What did Mark want? Mark wanted to play his
music, to be a success, to go to college and make their parents happy.
But what did Matthew want? All he wanted was his brother. He
couldn't even have that. Matthew rolled over onto his stomach, trying
to bite back tears. He was being childish, very childish. He
couldn't help it--he needed his brother. Ever since they had been
young Matthew had felt protective over Mark. Now Mark was going on
with his life, as though they were just any other pair of brothers in the
world. But they weren't the same as any other brothers! Matthew
balled his hands up into fists at his sides. He'd always felt it,
that there was something they had that other brothers or even other twins
didn't. They were two parts of a whole, like two halves of a picture.
Mark was leaving, though, and that meant the picture would be torn in half.
Maybe Matthew had just been imagining the picture the whole time.
Maybe he and Mark weren't anything special, and Matthew was just delusional.
A knock on the door interrupted Matthew's turbulent thoughts.
"Go away! I don't feel good!" Matthew muttered through his pillow. The door opened anyway, and Matthew heard someone step inside his room before closing the door quietly.
"Matthew? Are you alright?" It was Mark. Matthew sighed and rolled over onto his back again, squinting to see his brother in the dark of his room.
"I told you I don't feel good." Matthew almost growled. Mark stepped back, and Matthew felt a shock of guilt.
"I'm sorry... I just wanted to make sure you didn't need anything. You didn't come down for dinner." Mark smiled a little awkwardly, and reached backwards for the doorknob. "I hope you feel better..."
"Wait... I'm sorry." Matthew looked down. "I didn't mean to snap at you. Don't go away yet."
"What?" Mark turned back.
"I mean... come here." Matthew sat up in bed, and gestured for his brother to sit beside him. "I wanna talk."
"Okay..." Mark hesitantly walked back to the bed, then sat down where Matthew had gestured. "What's up?"
"I wanna..." Matthew stared intensely at the ground. "I wanna apologize."
"Apologize?" Mark exclaimed. "What for?"
"Because you're having all this great stuff happening to you, and all I can do is sulk about it." Matthew looked up, and smiled weakly. "I mean... it's been like I've almost expected you to feel guilty for being so successful or something. That's not right. I do want you to be happy, more than anything! And I want to be happy for you."
"Matthew... thank you." Mark smiled and hugged his brother. "I'm sorry too. I know you've been upset about my leaving. We should have talked about this before."
"It's just... I mean... it's like..." Matthew leaned against Mark, struggling to find the words he wanted. "It's like we're always together, and now suddenly you're going away, and I don't know what I'm going to do."
"I'm not just going away. I'll still be with you. I'll write you, and call you, and we'll see each other on vacation. It isn't like I'm going to be wiped off the face of the planet or something!" Mark laughed slightly, ruffling his brother's hair. "Don't worry. I won't forget about you."
"But... It..." Mark took a deep breath, and bit his lip. "I mean... it feels like we're supposed to be together, and you going away isn't right! I mean... I don't know..."
"Shh, I understand." Mark kissed Matthew on the forehead. "I know."
"...I used to have dreams about you, you know." Matthew whispered quietly, resting his head on Mark's shoulder. "About just you and me, without Mom or Dad or anybody. It was like we were in a different world or something. And I'd have nightmares... that you went away and I couldn't find you again. I..." Matthew stopped to swallow. "I don't want to lose you."
"I used to have dreams like that, too." Mark answered softly. "Except I used to dream that I couldn't protect you, that something happened and I left you all alone. I won't ever leave you alone, Matthew. I may go away, but if you ever need me for anything you can depend on me. I'll give anything for you, I promise. So just ask."
Matthew leaned on his brother for a few more minutes, before sitting back up and grinning at him. "Sneak me into your dorm room. I can sleep in the closet. Nobody'll know."
"Silly." Mark smiled and stood. "Are you sure you aren't hungry? I'll get you something to eat."
"Nah. I'm just tired." Matthew fell back onto his bed. "Weird, since I've been lying around all day anyway."
"Sleep well. Good night." Mark stepped out the room quietly, and Matthew smiled at the door. Even if Mark was going away, at least Matthew felt a little better about it now. He closed his eyes and relaxed, exhausted from all of his worrying. Maybe things would turn out okay after all.
"All right, spill it." Keisuke slipped into
the cafe booth across from Tetsuya. "What's going on? You sounded
like the world was going to end over the phone."
"Thanks for coming. It's nothing that phenomenal." Tetsuya looked down into the cup of coffee cradled between his hands. "It's just... I'm worried about Yui-chan."
"What's wrong with her? Is she still getting those dreams?" Keisuke asked.
"They're getting worse. It's gotten so she barely goes to sleep at night, and she's tired all day. I know she can't keep on living like this." Tetsuya sighed and looked up. "Do you remember when you and I hunted down the reincarnations for the Suzaku seishi?"
"Yeah..." Keisuke answered hesitantly. "Why?"
"Well... I'm thinking I might have to do that for Yui-chan."
"No way!" Keisuke jumped out of his seat. "You can't go hunting down Seiryuu seishi! They might hurt you! Or kill you! Or eat you! Or...!"
"I didn't mean all of them, stupid." Tetsuya picked up his cup to sip from it, then looked Keisuke in the eyes. "I think the one she's really been dreaming about is Suboshi."
"Suboshi? Why... oh." Keisuke sank back down in his seat. "But... you and Yui are..."
"I know that! But she feels guilty. If the Seiryuu seishi were reincarnated, like the Suzaku seishi were, then maybe I can find Suboshi's reincarnation. If I can show her a perfectly happy Suboshi, in his own little life somewhere else, then maybe... maybe the dreams will stop." Tetsuya watched his reflection in the coffee. "Maybe she'll forget about him."
"What if she doesn't? Suboshi said he loved her. If she loves him too..." Keisuke trailed off.
"I know that! But Yui-chan can't keep on going like she is! If it makes her happy, I'll find him for her! Even if it means losing her." Tetsuya shook his head.
"Well... what are you going to tell Taka and Miaka? Suboshi's scary." Keisuke shuddered. "Maybe we should get Taka to come with us, to make sure that nothing bad happens."
"No. I'm not telling either of them. Neither are you. We're just going to find him, have him tell Yui that he's happy, and that'll be the end of it. You remember how much Suboshi and Tamahome hated each other. What if Taka and Suboshi's reincarnation end up feeling the same way? If he's like the old Suboshi, then we should be fine as long as we don't hurt him or his brother. Bringing Taka into it would make a whole realm of trouble." Tetsuya said.
"But you remember how crazy he was! Suppose he tries to kill you just for the fun of it? Or... suppose he tries to kill you for Yui-chan?" Keisuke protested. "What if he hurts Yui-chan?"
"I don't think he'll hurt Yui. As for us.... we'll just have to take the risk." Tetsuya decided. Keisuke sweatdropped.
"What do you mean, we'll take the risk?" he muttered.
"Of course you wouldn't abandon me to meet an evil Seiryuu seishi all by myself." Tetsuya said expectantly. "Not a brave, loyal friend like you."
"A-actually, I'm a very cowardly friend..." Keisuke answered nervously, standing and trying to escape the booth.
"Not a friend that owes me as much money as you." Tetsuya added. Keisuke blinked.
"Wait, do you mean...?"
"It's dangerous. Hell, even for Yui-chan, I don't know if I want to do this alone. So... how about this? If you help me with this, then I'll forget about all the money you owe me." Tetsuya answered, still staring into his coffee. Keisuke hesitated, then sat back down again.
"Can I try to talk you out of it again?" Keisuke asked.
"I've already made up my mind." Tetsuya answered.
"Well... you know I'd help you with this, since you're my friend. Even if I didn't owe you money already." Keisuke said, a little defensively.
"Sure, sure." Tetsuya grinned.
"I would!" Keisuke insisted. "I just think you're crazy for trying this!"
"If it works, and if it makes Yui-chan happy, then it'll be worth it." Tetsuya answered firmly. "That's all there is to it."
"I understand." Keisuke nodded slowly. "But... I hope you're right."
"Yeah." Tetsuya swirled his coffee around in the cup, before swallowing the last of it. "I hope so too."
to Part Two!
On to Part Four!
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