Login

Lost Password?

Create New Account

The Walls

Chapter 1: The Walls

by isilelensar

He was up early; earlier than the sunrise. Which was the entire point. Sitting languidly on the deck of the private villa, he held his camera, angled at the spot he'd picked, and waited. It wouldn't be much longer. Patiently, quietly... and then... now! He snapped the photo.

A tiny smile lifted his lips as he looked at the picture on the display. Beautiful. The sun was just barely touching the horizon. The colors that painted the sky were soft hues of pink and purple, mixed with the last vestiges of indigo night. The crystal blue waters were muted.

Tomorrow he was going home. His latest contract had ended a few days ago, and being in this little villa, on a secluded beach in Fiji, was his reward. He made sure that was in his contract. Locations changed, but he always took a few days to rest and recharge before moving on.

Home. Somewhere he hadn't been in... well, it had been a while. But lately, it was somewhere he constantly thought about. He could do without the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, but it was home. Well, no. Not quite. If he was honest with himself, home wasn't Tokyo. Home was Miyagi.

Happier memories from years ago faded into his mind; a shy smile, tender eyes, hair that glistened gold in the sunlight. When they were alone, he was given a glimpse of the truest self, and he fell in love. That wasn't to say he didn't love the rest, either.

He did. But it was the walls that were firmly in place that eventually pushed him away. The walls he'd tried so hard to climb, to bring down, that tore them apart. No one, including himself, was ever let in. The constant duality was exhausting. So, he'd taken off. He ran.

Back to Tokyo; back to what was before. Except that even there, he couldn't escape the memories. He asked for, and received permission for a hiatus from his job with the JVA. Luckily, he had his hobby to fall back on for extra income. All he needed was his trusty camera.

Freelance photography had appealed to him at an early age. Being able to take beautiful pictures in beautiful places, miles away from home. Most of the time, he went by what the client wanted, and fulfilled it. But in some cases, he made a point to include a couple stipulations:

1. No portraits. Ever. (He only did one, and it was sacred. Nothing would ever compare to it.)
2. A few days rest at a local resort, paid for by the client.

His pictures were mostly landscapes, and he'd made a name for himself with them. For a job that he took up only when he needed to take a break from the rat race, he was known as one of the best around.

Once he opened his freelance website up for commissions, his inbox was routinely inundated with offers. By rule, he only selected a few, and each in far-flung locations. Mountains, beaches, deserts... once he went as far north as Greenland to see the Northern Lights. Everything was beautiful.

And yet, none of it compared to home. Home, where there were mountains and beaches, big cities and small towns. Home, where his heart had remained, even after they'd parted. Home was a pair of golden brown eyes, pale blonde hair, and that tiny shy smile. Home was in Miyagi.

Hours later, he stood on the deck, his phone in hand, waiting... waiting. He aimed it at the spot he wanted, and when the moment came, he snapped the last photo he'd take here. The sky was painted with red, gold, and the faded brushstrokes of indigo as sunset faded into twilight. A few stars twinkled and a crescent moon had risen.

Selfies weren't his thing. At least, not lately, anyway. But he still took one, everywhere he went. Sort of like a personal record. He kept a journal, of sorts, and posted each selfie with a little caption. Perfect pictures in different locations, a smile on his face and a peace sign for fun. But even he noticed the smile never touched his eyes. Didn’t matter. This picture, and the one he took this morning would be uploaded later.

Once the plane landed in Tokyo, he walked slowly through the concourse, taking his time. It was the dead of night, so hardly anyone else was around, by Tokyo standards. Still, he didn't have to dodge too many people, for which he was eternally grateful. He'd deal with normality tomorrow.

He almost made it out, when he came to the huge atrium with an equally huge, ornate fountain in the center. Typical, gaudy, mythological statues in the center, pouring water from urns and vases. It was beautiful in its ugliness. But people flocked to it for pictures and selfies, anyway.

They threw coins into the water; tokens for wishes that would never be granted. He should know; he'd thrown his share of coins into the water, wishing... but none ever came true. Not the ones he wanted anyway. There were memories here, too. Shifting his eyes away, he steadily made his way past the fountain.

His friends met him outside, welcoming him back. They took him to their place to eat and rest. He accepted it greedily; he missed them, too. From high school until now, they'd been his closest companions. A bonded pair of owls and one lonely black cat; friendship was inevitable. Then, there was the year they found their moon. A trio of nocturnal animals drawn to a moon; they never could decide if it was fate or just a happy accident. Didn’t matter because the lonely black cat wasn’t so lonely anymore.

They offered to take him home to his place, which he gladly accepted. It wasn't far, but considering how their lives had separated them, any time spent with them was precious. When they arrived, he gathered his stuff and left the car, heading up the walk to his front door. He didn't notice they lagged behind, watching him.

Watching the one who stood at his door, waiting with nervous hands knotted at his side. Keys in hand, he looked up, and stopped. There, framed by wooden railings and moonlight, stood the one he'd never forgotten, even if he tried. The one he fell in love with, and had never stopped loving. His heart; his home.

Blonde hair that the moonlight painted silver; golden brown eyes swimming with a mess of emotions; that tiny, shy smile that never ceased to capture his heart. He wanted to speak, ask questions, say anything and everything that was on his mind, but the words wouldn't come, stuck around a huge lump of feels in his throat. He could only stare.

Slowly, Kei approached him, stopping as soon as he was close enough to touch. Tetsu’s heart raced, pounding like he’d just run a marathon. Kei’s hands slowly, hesitantly, came up and started tracing the outline of his face, the shells of his ears, sending sparks down his spine. Tetsu really missed his touch.

He leaned into those hands without thinking, almost started purring when those long, cool fingers sifted through his hair. Kei was rarely demonstrative with public displays of affection. But when he indulged himself, Tetsu soaked it up like a man dying of thirst.

"Hello," Kei whispered.
"Hello."
"I... I'm sorry."
"What for?"
"For everything. For pushing you away. For letting you go."

Tetsu said nothing. He couldn't. He hated to move, but he did, backing a step away, and then another, until there was so much air between them, it could almost be a canyon.

"It hurt, Kei. It still does."
"I'm sorry."

Tetsu merely nodded.

"I miss you."

Tetsu nodded again, and let his head fall back, gazing at the stars and crescent moon. He felt tears prickling his eyes, but he wouldn't let them fall. He’d cried enough already. But clearly, he could do more. When he was ready, after pulling himself together, he looked at Kei. Then he noticed something different, or rather, felt it.

"Your walls," he murmured.
"What?"
"Your walls. They aren't there anymore."
"No."
"How? When?"
"When you left, and I realized what I'd done. When you didn't come back, you... you took my heart with you.” Kei sighed and fiddled with his fingers. “Those walls were a way of keeping people from getting too close.”
"And I got too close," Tetsu said, sounding defeated.
"Yes. But, please understand. The more you tried to push past my walls, to knock them down and break through, the more I wanted to let you in. No one else had ever tried. I didn’t think; I didn’t know that I fought you, pushed you away. It was subconscious, reflexive. I'd been burned too many times before, and... and… How do I make it make sense?" he cried into his hands. "How do I make it stop sounding like a ton of excuses?"

Tetsu took a step forward, but Kei held out a hand to stop him. "I'm more sorry than you'll ever know, but please, please..."
"Kei, stop begging."
"But..."
"Just stop!"

Tetsu quickly moved the last steps to bring him close to Kei, whose face was hidden behind his hands again. He reached up and gently tugged those hands down, seeing the fresh tears and the red, splotchy face. With one hand, he pushed Kei's glasses up, and brushed each new tear away.

"I love you, you know," he said softly, his hand resting on Kei's neck, cradling his jaw. “I never stopped loving you.”
"I love you, too," Kei replied, after sniffling inelegantly, one hand resting on Tetsu's neck, the other holding on to his arm. "Come back to me?"
"In all honesty, I never left."
"What?"
"My heart was always here. With you."
"Tetsu..."
"I'll come back, but with one condition."
"What's that?"
"Never, ever put those walls up again. Okay? Talk to me. Let me help you. We’re a team, you know. A damn good one, if I have anything to say about it."

Kei gave him a watery smile and nodded.
They were so lost in each other that they completely missed when Bokuto and Akaashi drove away.