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The tick of the clock on the wall echoed inside the empty hall; empty like the old, washed-out yellow walls that he stared for hours that felt like days; yellow like the weak attempt of sunlight that crossed heavy windows on the other side of the stretched hallway, where he could hear other people talk, but it never really reached his ears; washed out, like his skin against Tora’s bright-white, where it was still blank and not inked in too many shades of black and blue and green leathers that he remembered counting too many times with the tip of his fingers, but now looked like he never count them enough.

Saga sighed. His head rested heavily against the hard wall surface, but not heavily enough to fit the weight on his chest and not as hard as the reality that sunk in, little by little; like his wardrobe that became too small as too large clothes peeked its own space between his, one at a time. He closed his eyes and he could feel the smell of those clothes, strong and intoxicating from both cologne and cigarettes that filled his lungs between sheets and as he embraced himself inside the oversized hoodie he found on the backseat of his own car, as he rushed from home when Shou called him earlier.

He could hear Shou talking to someone by the end of the hall, but if he closed his eyes long enough he could only hear soft whispers against his ears as non-shaved beard tickled the skin on his neck after a full weekend spent in bed. He loved when Tora didn’t shave, as he could pickle in hard hair and he would pull him by the jaw and it added toons of ferocity at the already hunger eyes that stared him down in mattress.

His skin burned with just a tough of Tora hands against his skin and the taste of lips again his own, pulling him and pushing in as his heart jumped and heat filled the space between them every single time they touched. Saga couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of large hands pulling him close and against him and how his own arms always found his ways around Tora's neck and body; echoes from loud and thick laugh filling in his memories and his ears.

Saga opened his eyes and stared at his own hands, blank and small, no sight of butterflies and pentagrams and birds and stars and letters between them; Tora had so many letters and so many shapes on his skin that Saga had lost count of it, long time ago. He would give up everything in his life if only he could count them, over and over again.

It was Hiroto who cut him of his thoughts with a silence company and a cup of hot coffee; he loved the taste of coffee on Tora lips on rushed mornings or on hushed kisses stolen on empty hallways. And how much he loved those stolen moments. Saga closed his eyes once more at the thought of muffled kisses and hurried hands against his skin and inside his clothes on vacant rooms at stuffed venues. Saga sighed deeply and gulped before licking the bits coffee of his own lips, wishing it was someone else’s.

“He’s gonna be alright.” Hiroto affirmed, unaware of the real nature of his toughs. “The doctor said he came in on the right time. He’ll be fine.”

Saga could hear the insecurity hidden in his friends voice and he didn’t know if he lied for himself or if was just to calm Saga down. Their friends didn’t really know about them, as they never spoke out loud, but really, they must be too blind not to see it. He didn’t mind it, though, and to be honest, he liked things that way.

When things first started between them it was ever so casual, so natural, he didn’t really remember when they became official. He still remembered the spark in Tora’s eyes as they drunk kissed once on the alley behind some fancy pub, everything and everyone too boring inside it as they skipped out together for a not so innocent cigarette; they still had that same sparkle every time they kissed ever since.

Things never became awkward between them and they both knew they still saw other people, back then, before he started spending most of his rarely free afternoons at Tora’s small home studio and before Tora started knocking on his door late at night; long nights after ever-long rehearsals and over-stressing meetings for either a smoke or a beer, sometimes both. It didn’t matter the time, they would end up a mess of tangled hair and twisted clothes, before it became naked bodies between crumpled sheets. And then there was nobody else.

They never really talked about it because there was never really something to talk. He remembered walking back home one day to a very naked Tora sprawled on his back on the same position since he left for a solo shoot, hours ago. The man was in pain and it showed; it was his back, hunting him again after too many days on the road, so Saga just kneeled beside him and kissed every inch of the skin on his broad back. When Tora said those three words later that night he was not surprised; he was not surprised he could say it back either.

Saga grunted. When Hiroto hands reached his shoulders, pulling him close, he wanted to both cling and run from him at the same time. How much wouldn’t he give just to hear those words again; because he said it, all this time, inside his head.

He stared at the wall and the pointers of the clock marked five whole hours since he first stared; five long hours he had never felt so scared.

He closed his eyes again and he remembered their first real fight; they’ve argued about something stupid and that Saga didn’t want to remember what right now. All he recalled was spending that night awake, only to wake up by noon under the weight of hoarse Tora mumbling sweet “sorry’s” he didn't have to, to his ears.

“He’s so stupid.” Saga muttered, more to himself them for Hiroto to hear, but a small laugh mirrored his own and he knew, somewhat, Hiroto understood.

Tora was huge, compared to most of most people around them and he always tried to wear the tough façade, but in reality, Saga never met no one so kind and so sweet. He gulped at the thought of Tora tired smile at him only yesterday; only he wasn’t just tired. He thought of Tora smiling at him on lazy mornings and over satisfied at late nights as he grinned after sex; the way he bluntly smile as they mocked him, whatever reason, and the way his lip piercing reflected the lights whenever it twisted.

Tora’s lips twisted especially if he wasn’t satisfied by something and a grumpy Tora was always amusing in Saga’s eyes, even after so many years. Tora always said Saga was the devil, and maybe he was, as he sometimes teased and provoked Tora on different occasions, just because – and so he could take away the grumpiness from his face after that, sometimes using lots of unorthodoxical ways to that. And, oh fuck; what wouldn’t he do right now so he could just take away Tora’s pain.

When the doctor finally came out another hour had passed, but Saga waited in the hallway, too scared to move. Hiroto waited with him and Saga knew his friend was not blind, after all.

They never asked anything, neither them had ever said anything. Shou probably knew, as Tora never had any problem on putting his arms around Saga when it was just the three of them. Even though, he never did or said anything that confirmed that, and Saga never bothered asking. He didn’t mind it, really, as he wouldn’t mind neither of his friends and bandmates knowing, for sure, but it was nice having it for their own, as their not so sacred secret. Also, he liked their privacy and he doubted they would ever have any once it reaches Nao’s consciousness.

Despite all that, he didn’t mind a single bit as Shou finally approached he and Hiroto on the corridor, Nao been left behind along their manager and Tora’s family, and smiled too knowing at him.

“The doctor said he’s fine. The surgery went well and it was not fulminating, so he will recover quickly. They’re taking him to intensive care, but you can see him when he awakes.”

Saga hadn’t cry not even once ever since he got the phone call telling him Tora was in the hospital and about to proceed to an emergency surgery, but right now, he couldn’t hold the tears that started falling down his face and before he knew, both Shou and Hiroto was hugging him close.

They had all went home when Tora finally woke up, a whole lot more hours later. Saga had slept on some uncomfortable plastic chair at another blank corridor when a nurse, unexpectedly, called him.

“Mister Sakamoto?” Tora family had already left, only a few minutes ago, but not before talking to him and kindly allowed Saga entrance - band issues. “Only family is allowed in the unity, but he insisted it was important. Although we need to advice to not bother nor discuss business with the patient at this moment. It’s for his best recovery.”

The whole hall smelled sanitizing alcohol, like the small nurse that guided him to Tora. But the smell inside the small room didn’t seemed so bad as he stared at those bright greenish eyes and blond locks mixed dark hair and lips twisted in a weak grin, undercovered by a breathing mask.

"I’ve been looking for those.” Tora’s voice was sore and weak as a butterflied hand held the mask near his face, while lettered fingers pointed at the black large hoodie he wore.

He reached forward and once his hands finally held letters and stars and birds between them, Saga couldn’t help but smile. He would count each and every mark, recite every letter and draw with his hands and his lips every inked paint on Tora’s skin until he memorized them all, time and time again.