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Darkness Here Yesterday (And Today, and Tomorrow...)

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Keigo closed his eyes, taking a deep inward breath. Each breath seemed to itch at his throat, even that simple act seeming something that was forbidden. On closing his eyes, there was nothing, and that was comforting. A moment of stolen happiness. There was darkness, and he could see nothing that would hurt him there. His thoughts lay as another matter entirely, sometimes perhaps even more vivid, but he could at least now sense that those were not real.

Kazuya stood at the stairway, stood on the stairs, descended. Watched Keigo's figure as he did so, not that he was likely to move. Not that he had the ability to move.

Ah, Kazuya thought. He's been here. (Guilt followed, for this being the only thought that caused.)

Yoshikuni sat upstairs. Yoshikuni sat upstairs and had watched Kazuya make his way to that door; Kazuya distinctly remembered making eye contact, but there had been no move to stop him. Yoshikuni had sat there, and he'd watched. Likely knowing this. Certainly knowing this. Knowing that Kazuya would go, and knowing what Kazuya would find. Kazuya wasn't going to give him the benefit of his shock or surprise.

Keigo still remained where he'd been bound, his eyes closed. The ceiling of the basement met ground level above, those windows at the very top only foot-level decoration to those beyond the building. It was a bright day outside, and shafts of light cut through the gloom. Keigo's bruises were visible and Kazuya saw the way he flinched on hearing footsteps down those stairs, but noted how he still didn't open his eyes.

"... Katsuragi...?"

He opened his eyes, then. Focused on the figure in front of him. Smiled. "... Moritaka."

"... You're--... you're still here, then..." Kazuya's words felt blunt and unnecessary in the atmosphere of that basement. Of course he was there. Of course he was still there. Yoshikuni was, if nothing else, not the sort of person to change their mind easily. Keigo had been put down here, for whatever reason. That would remain the case until Yoshikuni felt appeased, whatever that took.

Keigo didn't reply, but Kazuya didn't expect him to. He watched as Kazuya approached, his expression one that almost threatened to smile. Kazuya felt unnerved, but felt comfort in that. Because this was unnerving. Because this was Keigo here. Because their Student Council leader was keeping somebody chained up in the basement and moreover, the subject of this was the one member of the Student Council considered Yoshikuni's second-in-command. If even Keigo could make it here, then what hope was there for any of them...?

"I--..."

"Yes?"

There were so many things that Kazuya wished to say. I'll get you out of here. I'll take you out of here. If Wada says anything, I'll have something perfect to say in reply. He can't do this, I won't let him! (Kazuya reached out, his fingers trembling. He placed them on Keigo's bare shoulder; he warmed to the touch, but his skin was cold.) I'll rescue you. I promise.

I promise you anything.

Everything.

Such thoughts were, however, fanciful. Yoshikuni sat upstairs, and he would not allow any of this. Keigo smiled because, beyond everything, he knew this. Kazuya's indecision was plain to see, but this simply did not and could not change the outcome. Kazuya was here because of his own curiosity, Keigo knew that much. Yoshikuni allowed curiosity. Insolence and outright betrayal, not so much.

"... You're frightened, aren't you?"

"Uh?"

"Of Wada."

"I--..."

"It's alright to be, you know. I wouldn't blame you."

Kazuya retracted his hand, seemingly considering his reply to this before dismissing it, looking conflicted all the same. "... I--... I just came down to say that--... that Aihara's coming here this afternoon. ...I don't know if Wada told you, or anything. I just thought you should know."

This caused a noise of amusement. "Thanks for letting me know."

Once more, the temptation to say something else or something more played openly on Kazuya's expression, but once more came up denied. He could do nothing about this, they both knew that much. And as Kazuya turned around and made his way back upstairs, Keigo closed his eyes once more.