Chapter 1: TORN
Okura doesn't want to do this. He'd rather lock himself inside his room for days until everything is over. But they have divided their tasks already, and this is what's left of him to do. He needs to get a few things from Ryo's apartment, and he needs to get it done today. If he doesn't, he wouldn't be strolling, taking all the time he can to delay the inevitable.
But this is not what he expected to see when he gets inside Ryo's apartment. Everyone knows how messy his place has always been. Yet, the shoes at the genkan are sitting neatly now. The sink in the kitchen doesn't have a single plate or glass for him to wash. Hell, even the futon had been tucked away nicely in the closet. They were just in Fukuoka, sure, and in Osaka a few days before that. Ryo knew that he'd be away for quite some time. But Okura hates the thought that he cleaned his place before leaving for their tour.
It's like he knew something was going to happen.
Okura wants to throw up.
Ryo-chan said he was coming to my place, so I cleaned my apartment. But in the end, he didn't show up.
He tries to remember the last time he was here, but he can't. He and Ryo haven't bonded in a long time, let alone visit each other's places just for fun. They used to hang out a lot when they were younger. But as the years went by, they found themselves surrounded by different sets of friends.
That would have been fine. It was unspoken, but Okura and Ryo were both satisfied with seeing each other at work and still managed to enjoy each other's company. But what happens now? How will things change?
Just thinking about it makes his head hurt.
He walks towards Ryo's drawers to find his favorite cap when he notices a sound coming from the bathroom. He didn't realize earlier, but the lights are on. Who could it be? Does anybody else have a key to Ryo's apartment? The building manager didn't tell him that someone else was here when he got the key he just used.
Okura tries to find his voice, still hoarse from last night, and calls out to whoever is inside. He's yet to have a decent sleep, and it irritates him that he's not getting any answer. But after a few moments, he hears the knob turn and watches the light disappear.
Standing in front of him, he sees Ryo, clearly amused that he's here.
Okura's heart stops for a moment. This can't be true.
"Oi!" he hears Ryo snarls as he walks toward him. He doesn't know what to do. What is happening? Is he hallucinating? Should he run for his life?
In the end, he stands still. He stands still until Ryo comes so damn close that he feels his breath.
Ryo is breathing right in front of him.
"How did you get inside? Are you here to bring my phone? Because I've been looking for it since I woke up, but I couldn't find the damn thing."
Okura doesn't know what to do. What is he supposed to say, even?
"You're staring like you've seen a ghost. That's rude, you know." Ryo turns around and reaches for his pants instead. It's still so hot in Tokyo, so he doesn't bother to get at least a sleeveless shirt. But from where's Okura's standing, he could see a large bruise on Ryo's chest that he doesn't even know if the other noticed.
"Ryo-chan," he starts, not knowing what to say at all. "When did you get home?"
He looks at him casually. Okura's being weird today, but he tries to think of an answer anyway. "Last night? This morning? My memory's pretty hazy. Probably had too much of a good time," he smirks.
"Ryo-chan," Okura's legs are getting shaky he feels like passing out. But he tries to muster all the courage to get close to Ryo again and touch him. He feels like he's choking and it's getting harder to breathe. "You're real. You're here. I can touch you."
His comments only earn him a loud "Ha?" before receiving a smack at the back of his head. But Okura doesn't mind it at all. Instead, he grabs and hugs Ryo and finally let his tears fall.
As expected, Ryo tries to get away from Okura. "What the hell is wrong with you, Okura? Why are you crying, for fuck's sake?"
He takes his time to let all his emotions out. All he did was cry since last night, but apparently, he hasn't run out of tears yet. Okura pinches his nose, blinks way too many times, and even slap his face to make sure that he isn't dreaming. And when he keeps seeing the man in front of him, he feels torn between telling Ryo the truth or leaving him alone to figure this out all by himself.
But he can't do that. Not to Ryo. Not when he's alone in this apartment, living a day Okura doesn't even know what is. Ryo's totally clueless. So, Okura takes a deep breath and says, "Because you're not supposed to be here anymore, Ryo-chan. You're not even supposed to be real."
Ryo's eyes darken as he frowns. "Are you stoned? What the fuck do you even mean?"
Okura's feeling trapped between a rock and a hard place. But he suddenly thinks about Maru's Saturday Plus! So, instead of facing Ryo’s wrath, he opens the television and turns the volume up.
The camera focuses on Maru alone, his eyes red and puffy. It's clear that he's crying like a baby on national television. Ryo notes that he hasn't cried like this in ages. "What the hell is happening?" he asks. But as he turns to Okura to demand answers, his vision starts to blur until everything turns dark.