WRITTEN BY P1NK5PIDER
First, some notes from me: while i refer to the members of Nightmare by their band names, i’m assuming that outside of band stuff they’d refer to each other by their true given names (you can see this video, where Yomi signs Hitsugi’s birthday card ‘Jun’.. anyway it’s a silly video ^^), so for your reference:
Also, there’s some slight references in here to another fic i’ve written (you can read it here but be warned it is a slash- fic) but you needn’t have read it to understand the story. And actually, this isn't a pairing i really support, but this story came to me and wouldn't leave me alone until i wrote it all out.. anyway enough of my babbling!
The five of them walked down the darkened street, their photoshoot finally over. Each had changed back into their casual street clothes, combed the styling product from their hair, and had their mind set on unwinding at their favourite drinking spot. Except for Hitsugi, that is. His mind had been elsewhere all week, unable to ignore the deep-set issues he’d been able to hide so conveniently in the back of his mind until recently. Now those vivid nightmares plagued him relentlessly, whether he was sleeping or not.
“Don’t ever forget how beautiful you are,” the young teenage boy said, reaching a hand out to touch his cheek.. The memory was gone as quickly as it had flashed before Hitsugi’s eyes. It was then he realized he had been staring down at Ruka and Yomi’s hands, pinkies discreetly linked as they walked side-by-side. He then glanced over at Sakito, who began laughing at some joke shared amongst the others. Nothing processed in his head though, none of their voices seemed to even reach his ears, as if he were trapped inside of himself and nothing on the outside could penetrate through his prison. He then found his eyes drifting back down to focus again on Yomi and Ruka’s discreet display of affection. Nothing had changed in the group since they had announced they were together- everyone was great with it, handled it casually as if it were something that had been going on all along.
Hitsugi was honestly overjoyed for them, glad to see them so happy, but he couldn’t deny that it wasn’t their announcement that had triggered those nightmarish recollections, those dark bits of memory he wished more than anything he could forget.
“..ne, Mitsuo? Oi!” Yomi startled Hitsugi out of his trance and he realized they had arrived at their destination. Ni~ya was already heading down the stairs to the pub in the basement, Ruka following behind.
“You alive in there?” Yomi joked, grinning.
Hitsugi forced his lips to return a smile. “I’m just worn out.”
“Well we’ll get some alcohol in you soon, and you’ll have all day tomorrow to recuperate,” Yomi consoled, patting Hitsugi on the shoulder before turning around to head down the steps to join the others.
Hitsugi nodded, and was about to follow Yomi when he felt Sakito grab his wrist.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Sakito questioned.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” He worked to make his smile more convincing as he answered his long-time best friend. It had been Sakito who had helped him through the nightmare as he had lived it- back before they knew any of the others. He felt horrible for putting him through that the first time, and wasn’t about to do it again.
“You’ve been like this all week…” Sakito caught Hitsugi’s gaze and held it. His brow furrowed in concentration as if trying hard to find something, searching Hitsugi’s eyes for any trace of what might be going on in his mind.
Hitsugi found himself starting to crumble, to break down from the inside. He always felt safe with Sakito, and something about being locked in his gaze made him feel that he could throw down his guard and just open up and tell him everything..
“It’s just been a hectic week. You worry too much,” Hitsugi played it off lightly, tearing his eyes away from Sakito’s before he broke down. “Come on, they’re probably waiting.” He turned and headed down the stairs to join the others.
Hitsugi tried his hardest to act normal and enjoy his time with his bandmates as he let the numbing effect of the alcohol take over him. Everything he did though felt fake and forced. He tried to avoid looking at Sakito too much; every time he did Sakito was giving him a concerned look, and Hitsugi was sure Sakito was aware of what was bothering him despite his efforts to hide it, and it made him feel guilty for lying about it.
A sickened feeling hit Hitsugi deep in the pit of his stomach and he slumped over the table, realizing that he probably should have stopped drinking over an hour ago.
“I think Mitsuo-kun out-drank us all!” he heard one of his bandmates bellow.
“We should probably get going now before we all end up like that,” another voice followed.
“Somebody wanna get his other side?”
He then felt a pair of hands on either side of him, gently easing him to his feet. He tried to support some of his own weight but couldn’t even feel if he was standing on the ground. His head felt like it weighed five times more than normal, and any sudden movement sent a stabbing pain shooting through his skull and worsened the nausea in his stomach. He stumbled along, shuffling his feet in an attempt to not be complete dead weight for those dragging him along.
Somewhere along the way he lifted his head to see where they were, but all he saw were the bright colors of store signs and street lights blurred with the dark shapeless forms of buildings and people around him. Groaning as he fought back the urge to vomit, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to led blindly again.
A while later, the voice to his right spoke: “I can take him from here. Both of us live in that direction and it’s not much further. It’d be out of your way to come the rest of the way.”
“You sure? I don’t mind, it’s not out of my way,” a voice to his left replied.
“I’m sure. If you can just help me readjust him I can take him the rest of the way.”
Hitsugi felt himself being maneuvered so that his right arm was slung over the shoulders of the one who would be carrying him the rest of the way, their left arm going around his back to support him.
“Take it easy, Mitsuo-kun,” he heard the voice address him. He attempted to respond, but all that came out was inaudible babble. Some words were exchanged between the two others, then all was silent. Hitsugi then realized that somewhere along the way everyone else had gone their separate ways, and he was now alone with the unfortunate one burdened to carry him home.
That familiar, dreaded feeling made his stomach lurch. He pointed his free hand off to the side at some bushes lining the sidewalk and mumbled.
“There… hurry..” was all he could annunciate, but he got his message across. He was led to the bushes, and pulled his arm away just in time to fall to his hands and knees as his stomach forced out all it could.
He sat there afterward, shaking with fatigue, embarrassed at having been seen in such a state by one of his band members, wishing he could just curl up and disappear from sight.
He heard someone kneel down beside him and felt as they placed a hand on his back.
“Are you okay?” v Hitsugi turned his head toward the voice, seeing finally that it was Sakito who was left to drag him home. That would make sense, he told himself. If his thoughts hadn’t been so muddled by alcohol on top of everything else he would’ve realized it, since Sakito was the only one who lived in the same area as him.
Not getting a response from the younger guitarist, Sakito helped him to his feet again, supporting most of the weight as Hitsugi struggled to keep his balance. v “We’re almost there, okay? Just another few blocks,” Sakito encouraged as they trudged on.
After searching Hitsugi’s pockets for his keys, Sakito opened the door to Hitsugi’s apartment, shutting it with his foot behind them after they stepped inside. He removed both of their shoes before leading Hitsugi to his bedroom, but Hitsugi stopped partway and mumbled something that Sakito couldn’t quite catch.
“Bathroom…” Hitsugi’s hand flew to his mouth and Sakito felt his entire body lurch forward. Apparently his stomach had yet to complete its forceful expelling.
“Hang on,” Sakito said, hurrying him as fast as he could to the bathroom. Hitsugi pulled away, catching himself on the sink as he fell forward.
“Don’t stay in here,” Hitsugi said, dropping to his knees in front of the toilet, “Please.” He turned to look at Sakito, eyes pleading to be spared the embarrassment again. Sakito understood and shut the bathroom door behind him as he left.
Completely worn out from everything, Sakito allowed himself to collapse onto the couch. He ran his slender fingers through his long hair, letting out an exasperated sigh. He tried to compose his thoughts, but they were about as jumbled as Hitsugi’s. He knew what was bothering the younger man- Hitsugi went through a little mental slump the same time every year. Despite the fact that it wasn’t that usual time of the year, Sakito still knew what it was, and it worried him that Hitsugi had gotten so depressed.
It had started in their last year of junior high, when they had befriended the new transfer student in their class- Shouji. He was tall for their age, and slender, with a beautiful face and longish tea-colored hair that hung down in his deep, striking eyes. He was very popular with the girls, but as it turned out he could care less about them romantically. In the end it was Hitsugi he had taken a liking to. Sakito kept their secret and hid his jealousy as best he could. After all it was his own fault that he hadn’t told Hitsugi his feelings earlier; he had been afraid of driving Hitsugi away with his confessions, or causing any sort of rift in their friendship. At times he had admittedly considered sharing his feelings in the hopes that Hitsugi would pick him instead. It was childish of him, he knew, but Hitsugi was happy and there was no way he would do anything to compromise that.
Until that day in the middle of their first year of high school: Shouji hadn’t shown up for school. Sakito arrived home to find an envelope sticking out from under the doormat with merely his name scribbled on the back. Curious, he opened it to find a letter from Shouji. It didn’t say much, just thanked Sakito for all that he’d done and for being a friend, but he “couldn’t take it anymore”- whatever “it” was, the letter didn’t say- and asked that he take care of Hitsugi. “He’s lucky to have you. I’d only bring him down with me in the end.” Panic had taken hold of him. “What the frack is he thinking?” He dropped the letter, his schoolbag, everything, and took off as fast as his legs would carry him to Shouji’s house. His mind was racing as fast as he was. He had to get there before Shouji did anything stupid. He didn’t know how long ago the letter had been left, but he had to get there regardless. Hitsugi must’ve gotten a letter too. Shouji couldn’t.. he couldn’t possibly do that to Hitsugi. It had to be a mistake…
But as he rounded the corner to see the paramedics in front of Shouji’s house he knew it wasn’t a mistake. Everything from that point on was a blur: Hitsugi’s bike lay haphazardly on its side on the lawn in front of the house, a stretcher was being wheeled outside toward an ambulance, a white blanket fully covering the motionless form beneath. Hitsugi was led out afterwards by a couple of paramedics, his face completely pale and expressionless.
“Mitsuo..” Hitsugi stopped upon hearing his name, turning to lock eyes with his friend. Sakito fumbled for something to say, but was at a complete loss for any words.
“He.. Shouji, he…” Hitsugi ignored the attempts of the paramedics to get him into an ambulance, not wanting to break eye contact with Sakito, afraid that doing so would make him lose sight of everything, would make him lose control.
“shoot,” his voice broke as he unsuccessfully choked back the tears.
It tore at Sakito’s heart to see Hitsugi standing there so helplessly, trembling, tears rolling down his cheeks, and he couldn’t help but be furious at Shouji for doing that to Hitsugi. Not wasting another second he pulled Hitsugi into his arms. Hitsugi didn’t put up any resistance and just let loose, sobbing into Sakito’s shoulder, shaking uncontrollably, hyperventilating and mumbling inaudibly. Sakito gently led him to the ambulance, holding him close the whole drive to the hospital.
It was from the paramedics that Sakito learned the gruesome details of Shouji’s suicide: the overdose and the horrid shape Hitsugi had found him in, having run to his house after reading Shouji’s note. He never learned Shouji’s motive though. He assumed Hitsugi knew, but figured that if he wanted to tell he would’ve done so already.
It didn’t matter to Sakito, though. He never entirely forgave Shouji for what he put Hitsugi through: the counseling and therapy and emotional trauma. Sakito was there for Hitsugi the whole way, taking on the emotionally taxing burden of seeing Hitsugi through the whole mess. It was worth it in the end though, to see Hitsugi genuinely smile again for the first time, to see Hitsugi return to normal again, save for the bout of depression he went through each year on the anniversary of Shouji’s death.
And now this.
Sakito stood to go check on Hitsugi, finding him curled up on his side on the bathroom floor. Kneeling next to Hitsugi, Sakito spoke, “You alright, Mitsu?”
Hitsugi forced his eyes open but only stared straight ahead, saying nothing.
“Come on.” Sakito helped Hitsugi sit up, saying as he did: “You’re such a wreck.” He helped Hitsugi get a drink of water from the sink then led him to his bed, helping Hitsugi out of his shirt before lying him down.
Hitsugi turned his blurred vision to look at his friend, feeling completely undeserving of what Sakito was doing for him.
“I’m sorry, Hiro. I’m sorry,” Hitsugi finally spoke.
“You don’t need to be sorry.” He put a hand on Hitsugi’s clammy forehead. “Just get better, please? I hate seeing you like this.”
Hitsugi could tell that Sakito was genuinely pained by the whole situation, which made him feel worse. Sakito had been his first crush, but on top of not being able to come to terms with the fact that he liked another male at first, he figured Sakito would have no interest in him anyway. Throughout his relationship with Shouji, he often found himself wondering what it would be like if it had been Sakito instead. When Ruka and Yomi came out about their relationship, he found himself wondering that again, but his mind ended his thoughts with Sakito in Shouji’s place- sprawled out on the bed, mouth open and foaming, eyes rolled back in his head, body rigid with rigor mortis.
He cringed thinking about it again.
Sakito placed his hand on Hitsugi’s cheek before turning to leave. “Take care of yourself, please.”
“You can stay here tonight,” Hitsugi offered. As much as he hated burdening Sakito with his problems, he wasn’t ready to see him leave yet. “You had to drag me here, and it’s late…”
“It’s okay, don’t worry about it.”
“Are you sure? I hate for you to have to walk all the way home so late..”
“I’ll be fine, as long as you are?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” he lied.
“Call me if you need anything though.”
Sakito felt guilty for leaving Hitsugi alone in that condition, but he felt so hopeless and so useless: if he couldn’t help the one person he cared for more than anything else then what good was he?
Hitsugi wasn’t sure when he had fallen asleep. Recently his dreams and reality had began to blend so that when he awoke the next morning, shouting and sobbing, it took him a while to realize that he had only dreamed Sakito’s death, that it hadn’t really happened.
He had taken all he could, and couldn’t take it anymore. He was done; done wallowing in the guilt of feeling he could’ve done something to save Shouji, done with the constant fear of losing someone else so suddenly, done with all the nightmares.
At that point there was nothing left of his sanity, nothing left of his reasoning, nothing left telling him to stop as he stumbled to the kitchen and pulled a knife from the drawer.
He stared down at his left arm through the tears blurring his vision, hand in a fist, the smooth underside of his arm facing up. He hesitated only a moment, with the cold steel point just beginning to pierce into his flesh. He clenched his teeth, tears streaming down his cheeks, then with all the anger and hate he felt towards himself built up behind it he brought the knife slashing across his arm. Deep red blood gushed instantly from the wound, and Hitsugi was surprised at how little of the pain he felt. In a mad fury he made another gash on his arm, and another and another, then again on his right arm. Then his chest, over and over, his torso soon streaming crimson from numerous gashes. He stood there, breathing heavily and shaking, growing dizzy from loss of blood as he watched the deep red droplets fall to the floor.
“Hiro..” Hitsugi mumbled. He couldn’t leave without offering some sort of closure to the one person who stood by him through it all. Stumbling back to his room he found his cell phone and punched out a text message with shaking bloodied fingers: Hiro I’m so sorry I just can’t do this anymore. I tried for you but I just can’t anymore. I’m so so sorry, it’s selfish but I don’t know what else to do. You’ve done so much for me, thank you, I wish I could’ve done something for you.
He hit the “send” button, then turned off his phone and, sitting down on his bed, he leaned back against the wall.
He wasn’t sure how long he’d sat there- just a few minutes or many. He didn’t think he had hit a majour artery in his harried slashing, but he had definitely cut deep enough that the open wound still gushed freely, the blood yet to begin coagulating, pouring down his arms and soaking his sheets. He felt himself fading, but slowly, too slowly. In a numb trance he stood unsteadily and walked to the dresser, pulling a belt from the drawer. He pulled the end through the buckle, making a loop and putting his head through, tightening it around his neck. He walked to the closet, throwing down some of his clothes to make room on the horizontal bar to tie the loose end of the belt. Once it was secured he lowered himself until he was no longer standing, his knees bent, the belt around his neck supporting all of his weight.
His air was cut off, as was the circulation to his brain. He felt the pressure building around his eyes, blood vessels popping. He was sure his head would burst, but not once did he change his mind, not once did he try to get back up on his feet. At that point he just felt to far gone.
As the blackness surrounded him, he swore he could hear a voice in the back of his mind- it sounded like Sakito. He wished things could’ve been different. He wanted to be held by Sakito, to always be close, to walk side-by-side with their pinkies discreetly linked together.
I’m sorry, his lips formed the words, but there was no sound.
And then there was nothing.