Follows Part 1. and Part 2.. They're ten-ish around here.
- Why are you smiling?
Youji blinked at Natsuo’s question, touching his face, apparently just realizing he was smiling. Sitting at his bed, already in pajama, the aqua haired boy giggled softly, shrugging, tail curling around him.
- It’s nothing. It’s silly. You’d laugh.
- I wouldn’t laugh at you, Youji. – curiosity picked, Natsuo went to sit besides his sacrifice and friend. – What is it?
- It’s really very silly. – another soft laugh, but Youji was also blushing, trying to hide his face with the aid of his long hair, cat ears fanning back. Natsuo wondered what to do. When they were in their room they were just friends: Youji had asked for that several times. For them to be equals. Feeling strangely mischievous for his more calm nature, Natsuo turned towards Youji, grinning.
- Oh, really Yo-chan?
Youji raised his head, looking at Natsuo, then starting to back away on bed, giggling, shaking his head in denial.
- No. No, Natsuo, no. Don’t even think… Natsuo!
But Natsuo half tackled Youji, fingers teasing, tickling, his own laugh mingling with that of the other boy who was shrieking in laughter, squirming and trying to push his hands away, laughing so hard that soon there were tears of laughter and joy and loud gasps for breath.
- Stop it! Stop it stop it STOP IT! – Natsuo finally stopped, also giggling, still on top of Youji, watching the lithe boy trying to pout at him but the sacrifice was still trying to control his giggles, eyes shining, trying to even his breathing from laughing to hard, cheeks flushed.
Youji touched his hand, squeezing it softly. - Meanie.
Natsuo squeezed back, smiling, his other hand taming Youji’s bangs.
- I’m sorry, it’s okay if you don’t tell me.
- No, no. It’s just… - Youji blushed again, biting his lip. – It’s so silly and it’s really nothing. I was just thinking that… - Youji looked at him through his bangs, shyly. – I was thinking that… tomorrow its two years since I first came here.
- I know. – it was hard to forget something that marked your life like that. Youji’s blush darkened and the fighter could feel his own blush, but he kept his eyes on the other boy.
- You… you do? Oh. – The boy bit his lip again, averting his eyes for a moment before looking at him again, even more shy than before. – I… I was thinking that then it was… kind of like a birthday… since we don’t know when it’s ours and… - the aqua haired boy giggled again, ducking under his arm so he could sit on the bed, tucking a long strand of hair behind his ear. - I told you it was silly.
The sacrifice rolled his eyes at his own admission, slightly shaking his head. Natsuo looked at the charming, shy boy who now was trying to change the subject before also sitting and, getting close, softly kissing Youji’s cheek.
Youji’s ramble stopped. Taking a hand to his cheek, Youji was looking him with a very red face, eyes as wide as they could. Natsuo knew that his blush was probably just as bad. Somehow, he managed to get his voice.
- Happy birthday, Youji.
Natsuo thought that Youji’s beaming smile was worth it the embarrassment.
“How is he?!”
He was ignored. Again. Usually, Youji didn’t mind to be ignored. Actually, he liked when no one – besides his fighter – took notice of him. That at least meant that he was not going to be called useless, or worthless. If the teachers ignored him, then, at least for that day, he wouldn’t have to see Natsuo’s sad eyes for the day.
Not now. Now, being ignored only lead to him remembering what had happened a few – hours days months seconds- moments ago. He could hear Natsuo’s cry for him, could feel the fighter shoving him away, could see… blood.
Youji leaned against the cool surface of the wall for a moment, trying to fight back the nausea. He looked at his hands. There were spotless, but not so much his clothes. His clothes were still covered in drying red blood. Natsuo’s blood. Youji had hated blood when the doctors took it from his body but now, having seen Natsuo’s face covered in it, he was sure he was not going to be able to see it without feeling faint.
He hadn’t woke up. For the first time since Youji had met the fighter, Natsuo hadn’t wake up at his voice; at his shouts and orderes. The teachers had taken the injured body of his fighter to take him to the infirmary, ignoring his shouting. He had been taken to Sensei, but he couldn’t for the life of him remember what the woman had told him. Had only nodded, muttering ‘Yes sensei, no sensei’.
Now he was waiting. For news, to be able to see his friend, anything. Without his teddy bear or his friend, he was just sitting outside of the infirmary, crying in silence. Natsuo had to be okay… right? He was okay. He couldn’t… he couldn’t… he surely wasn’t…
It wasn’t about going back to the lab if Natsuo was… it was the fact that Youji was sure that if his fighter and friend had… because of him, he wasn’t going to make it. He curled on his sit, rocking a little bit, a distressed small sound caught on his throat.
“You can see him now. Don’t disturb him. He’ll be fine in a couple of days.”
Youji raised his face, cheeks wet with tears, quickly rubbing his arm against his eyes, nodding at the doctor, walking towards the bed where his fighter was, afraid of what he was going to find.
Natsuo’s skin was paler than usual, a bandage covering half his face, his good eye closed. Youji quickly blinked away tears, bringing a chair closer to his fighter’s bed, lip trembling. Carefully, he took one of Natsuo’s hands on his own, rubbing it softly, tears falling down his face. He was a failure as a sacrifice. What sacrifice let his fighter get hurt?
“I’m sorry, Natsuo.” He muttered, voice broken in a sob, holding carefully unto the hand. “I’m so, so sorry.”
“Don’t cry, Youji…” the aqua haired boy gasped, eyes quickly going towards the face of his fighter, watching a barely open jade eye. The fighter tried to smile and it just broke even more Youji’s heart.
“I’m so sorry, Natsuo. I should’ve been more careful, it’s my fault.” He muttered, voice shaking with sobs, barely keeping from rambling. Natsuo’s hand gave a faint squeeze to his, the smile soft and caring. A smile he didn’t deserve.
“I’m just happy you’re okay.”
If anything, those kind words made lavender eyes tear even more, although he tried to hide it, giving a shaky smile, watching the fighter fell asleep, not letting go of Natsuo’s hand.
It was then the first time he realized that he wouldn’t – couldn’t- face a life without Natsuo, as unworthy as Youji was.