The room was dark and still. The window of the dorm faced towards the edge of the university property - during the daytime, one would have seen pathways between buildings and trees that were getting ready to shed their bloom. During the night, as it was now, the scenery remained but now lay under the sharp white light of a trail of evenly-spaced lights that stood tall between the trees. This light came somewhat subdued to the windows of the dormitory, and Yoshikuni had drawn the curtains nonetheless. It wasn't pitch-black, but it was darker than it needed to be. There was the potential of the overhead light, fluorescent and buzzing. There was Yoshikuni's desk light.
Yoshikuni lay on his bed. The bed was in a niche between the window and the wardrobe. On the other side of the room was the desk. Between them was the window and a small table underneath. Opposite the bed was a chair and on the chair sat Keigo, arms folded, staring at what little he could see of Yoshikuni in the reduced light; he lay facing the wall, half-curled. A small shaft of light from the curtains hit his back but between that and the colour of the blankets and mattress, there wasn't much difference. He didn't move. He breathed. That was it.
Graduation, soon. From university. A university graduation.
How long has it been since Seirei...?
Keigo watched Yoshikuni with an impassive expression, not that Yoshikuni was in any state to notice this. They had sat like that for far too long - for four hours, Keigo observed. Yoshikuni didn't. He wasn't asleep, but he didn't note the passing of time. When Keigo had sat himself on that chair, it had just been starting to get dark outside. When he'd walked over to the dormitory, the lights had just started to flicker on. He'd sat as the light reduced and disappeared, sat and watched Yoshikuni, sat and said nothing at all. By now, was there anything left to say? He wasn't sure. He had a feeling that Yoshikuni was sure, and that the answer to that question was decidedly negative. Was there anything left to say? No. Was there anything left? No.
It was four hours and ten minutes before Keigo spoke.
"... You're behaving just like Akihiro."
Yoshikuni heard that but didn't know what it meant, and so said nothing. Keigo didn't bother to elaborate. Yoshikuni failed to see any similarity between himself and that Jinguuji; Keigo's mind constructed a line of explanation, but discarded it at the last moment. Akihiro's birthday was on the tenth of May, which made him a Taurus. One characteristic of Taureans was their stubborn streak. There it was. Coded, that was what Keigo meant. You're being stubborn, Yoshikuni. He knew, however, that Yoshikuni himself likely wouldn't make this kind of mental leap. Yoshikuni's birthday was the ninth of February. He was an Aquarius. He was eleven days older than Keigo and that small gap brought about an astrological change; Keigo himself was Pisces, just. So was Nishimura. Privately, Keigo had always been somewhat amused that Akihiro seemed to have landed himself in primarily between two Pisceans, but Akihiro was never so much into all of that kind of thing. That's your area, he'd said. Keigo hadn't minded.
He stared at Yoshikuni, feeling the distance between them. Waiting patiently for Yoshikuni to say something. He knew that this prospect was unlikely, but now knew that if anything was going to be put forward, then it needed to be by Yoshikuni himself.
(Yoshikuni's breathing was the loudest thing in the room. Along the corridor, somebody slammed a door. Somewhere else in the building - maybe further along the corridor, maybe on the floor below - some people were talking loudly. Their voices rose and fell but neither Yoshikuni nor Keigo said anything.)
As it was, Keigo wasn't sure that Yoshikuni was going to say anything, either. He wondered, as he thought on it, if he perhaps agreed with that previous line of thought; by now, maybe there really wasn't anything left to say. This, all of this, was not much different to how things had been back then. All of the times in the Student Council building, all of those times in the run-up to that graduation... Keigo thought of back then and how, at the time, he hadn't felt like he'd been able to read Yoshikuni at all. And now, where he felt that perhaps he could, and far too well.
Back then had been Takumu. Takumu, Takumu, Takumu. Everything back then had been of him, of that relationship that had built up and died down. Keigo had observed this, taking it in and saying nothing. Saying nothing when Yoshikuni came to him, when they'd sit in silence, when Yoshikuni wouldn't say anything and Keigo didn't know what to say. Yoshikuni was trusting him with a situation he knew nothing about, pushing emotions on him he didn't know how to interpret. He knew that Yoshikuni hurt and he felt sorry for that, felt pity, felt sympathy, but also felt that he couldn't feel what Yoshikuni wanted him to feel; what this was precisely, he didn't know. He didn't know what it was and he didn't know how to feel it and so he said nothing, but Yoshikuni still spoke. Poured everything out. Looked up with desperate eyes and clung with fingers that didn't want to let go. Keigo let it all wash over him with some degree of silent confusion. This was all so dramatic, wasn't it? To Yoshikuni, this was everything. Keigo could listen and try to understand but would always fail, not knowing how to identify with this.
He'd had feelings of his own, of course. Feelings for Yoshikuni. The innocent thoughts of a young student. Innocent thoughts that he hadn't known how to express. Innocent thoughts that had died without broadcast as he'd watched Yoshikuni's situation with Takumu, as all of the small and fragile thoughts had shattered to nothing under the sheer force of blameless ignorance. Was it his fault for staying silent or Yoshikuni's fault for being inconsiderate? Looking back on those days now, Keigo did so with a degree of nostalgia. Back then, when that had been all there'd been to worry about, things had seemed so much simpler.
Yoshikuni didn't seem to subscribe to this idea, though. Of course he wouldn't. To him, things had always been intense and never simple. Even this, sat in a dark and silent room, was only the latest manifestation of Yoshikuni's intensity. He didn't speak because saying anything at all would be far too much. He didn't turn the lights on because the glare was too harsh. He didn't look towards Keigo because that would be to acknowledge his presence and that, amongst so many other things, would be just too much to bear. And Keigo could stay silent, or he could speak; he knew this. Yoshikuni had said nothing to his previous statement, but he could continue to speak. He could speak in statements for the rest of the night or he could try to form the basics of some kind of conversation but either way, he knew that Yoshikuni wouldn't respond. Sometimes, he just shut down like this. Keigo had never known how to break him out of it and so had just let him stay like that for as long as he felt he needed to - until it became too much or, as was the case more often, until time sapped the issue into its own relative importance and Yoshikuni realised that he still had things he had to wake up for in the morning, work to do by the end of the week, that kind of thing.
Those matters of Takumu had nothing to do with the present moment. Those matters of the past had nothing to do with the future. Keigo would watch Yoshikuni's motionless form and know his thoughts somewhat harsh, but he didn't know what else to think. He knew he couldn't suggest these thoughts to Yoshikuni, but would it not speed the process up if he did?... Speed it up or make it worse, one or the other.
To Yoshikuni, this was everything. Had always been everything. Was still everything. After all this time and all these years, he would still hole himself up in his room and say nothing to anybody for days and sometimes weeks. Afterwards, he'd tell Keigo of his routine; he'd still do his work, he'd still attend his lectures, but he never spoke to anybody. It seemed to become a vicious circle; the more he kept himself to himself, the more he felt vulnerable for being invisible. He didn't talk to people, and nobody noticed him. Keigo would nod, keeping his own suspicions to himself; that would be a problem for somebody who'd been on Seirei Gakuen's Student Council, wouldn't it? Not only that, but the Student Council leader... the fame had infected all of them, even Keigo felt a strange discord in his day-to-day life compared to what things had been like back then. It wasn't that he didn't like it, he was never quite sure if he'd ever been cut out for the fame of being on the Student Council, but it was definitely different. At the same time, he wasn't sure that Yoshikuni had ever gained his role through desire for fame either, but power was a similar force. Still had the ability to corrupt.
Here, Keigo supposed, was the end result of something that had been corrupted. Takumu's fame had cancelled out his power, or something like that. Something like that. It didn't really matter anymore; Takumu was no longer in the country and, as far as Keigo knew, held no correspondence with Yoshikuni anymore.
Here was something that had been corrupted to breaking point. Something that was broken, but still moved. Something that moved, but didn't seem to live. And even they lived their separate lives now, did they not? Separate lives, separate universities, separate goals and separate aims. Sometimes, Yoshikuni would call in a panic and request Keigo's company. He'd built up the nerve to be able to resist Yoshikuni half the time, but that still left these times in which Yoshikuni really did seem desperate and really did seem pathetic and Keigo would cross the next day off his schedule and catch the next train over. And he'd watch Yoshikuni for hours, wondering if this was helping. Wondering if this was having any effect at all.
"... Don't you have to be up early tomorrow...?"
He didn't know if Yoshikuni did or didn't, but he often seemed busy. Classes were drawing to a close now that graduation was near, but was that really the end of everything? Well, of course it wasn't. Yoshikuni was clever and successful and had likely been hand-picked for some company or another already. Keigo's path of ambition was different, he didn't really understand that sort of process.
It was all unreasonable, Keigo knew that much. Coming out here on Yoshikuni's slightest whim, entertaining his moods as he acted in such a selfish and unhelpful manner... it was somewhat interesting to watch, however, and that was why (Keigo told himself) he still came by. To see how Yoshikuni was. To see how Yoshikuni was getting on. To see how, even after all this time, Yoshikuni didn't seem to have changed. At all. Where Yoshikuni couldn't see him, Keigo smirked. Pitiful.
(Some people felt too much and some people felt too little. He felt Yoshikuni the former. He felt himself the latter. He felt the former to blame for the latter. That was what the Student Council did to people.)
That smirk remained on his lips as another idea drifted through his mind. Something a little cruel and a little unforgiveable, but we're all like that now.
Yoshikuni had barely moved in hours, but that caused a very noticeable flinch. "N-no..."
Of course. Of course the first thing to make Yoshikuni speak in four and a half hours would be that.
Yoshikuni seemed to draw in further to himself, but his voice was clear when he spoke. "... D-don't, Katsuragi."
Keigo had sat with his legs crossed also. He stretched them both out, crossing them once more the opposite way. Other than that, Yoshikuni said nothing - but the point still stood that Yoshikuni had spoken. In reaction to that one word. That one word. That little nickname that Takumu had come up with so long ago, barely thinking about it at the time. Shaving Yoshikuni's name down into a weapon that could hurt him. Even that. Even that. Keigo was in no hurry to try the tactic again, but found the reaction interesting. Found this whole situation interesting. Knew that he should find it more than that, for the person he'd thought he'd loved, all those years ago. He had, hadn't he? Loved, admired, something like that. Looked up to that impressive senpai who seemed to have wanted to claim the whole school with his drive, who had gone on to almost achieve that; still, even the most powerful still held hidden weaknesses, did they not? It just so happened that, once Takumu had appeared, that weakness had become altogether too obvious. Back then, none of them had spoken on it (for Yoshikuni's madness was a terrible thing), but they'd all known. Even if it had only been the five of them, Keigo knew that four more people than Yoshikuni would have wished to have known.
Did the others care anymore? Probably not. Takumu and Kazuya especially were likely glad to be years and miles away from Seirei Gakuen. Looking over his current place in the situation, Keigo wasn't entirely sure he blamed them.
Yoshikuni had reacted to that one small word, but he didn't get angry. That was different to before, wasn't it...? Back then, his anger had been so reactionary. Leader of the Student Council with power and anger to use at will, they had all deferred to the social hierarchy. The Student Council was above the student body and the Student Council leader led them all, mad or not. In that final year, they'd all used Yoshikuni's madness as an excuse. They were bad, but Yoshikuni was worse. Right? Wasn't that how it was? In retrospect, Keigo wasn't sure this was the case. Yoshikuni acted like that because he'd run out of ways to know how to act, because he'd lost any comprehension of control. Maybe the rest of the Student Council were indeed worse; conscious and capable, but willing to give in. The leader had to set an example, right? Oh, and what an example to set.
Keigo smiled to himself, amused by his train of thought. Even he could get caught up by matters on the past sometimes, it seemed; this situation made it easier, though. Quiet and still, what more was there to think of than that which had brought them to this in the first place? And yet, this seemed to be the place where Keigo thought on it most. Day-to-day life brought too many distractions and things that were more immediate - answering Yoshikuni's call made putting these things on hold a given. Agreeing to his requests was like acknowledging a step back in time, back to when all of these things mattered. He stared at Yoshikuni. Did these things still matter, though? Was it the same in his circumstance? Maybe Yoshikuni's daily life was more carefree than Keigo had privilege to know. Maybe Yoshikuni would exaggerate for the sake of sympathy. Perhaps he was otherwise well-adjusted, other than for these situations. These times when he needed to break down in the presence of somebody who'd let him. Keigo didn't know if he should feel flattered under the logic of that thought. He didn't know if he should still risk indulging Yoshikuni in these times. He didn't know if this could really count as 'indulgence'.
Nonetheless, he still came. After all this time and after all these years, as much as he thought down on Yoshikuni's own behaviour, he still ended up at Yoshikuni's beck and call when the situation demanded it. Sometimes, occasionally, he still thought and he still worried. He couldn't seem to do anything about whatever the problem was, these times seemed to prove that as much as anything, but he couldn't quite help himself. He could feel the pressure of Yoshikuni's desperation and thought of it as something wistful and nostalgic, and he knew that that wasn't the right way to think but couldn't help himself. After all, if Yoshikuni did want to indulge, he had Keigo to call on. Keigo rarely felt the need to do the same, but who did he have? If he wanted to display this complete breakdown of strength and ability, who did he have?
Maybe it did all come down to jealousy, in the end. Some perverted form of it. He'd always been there for Yoshikuni, had always been so without question, but who was there for him? Yoshikuni had, almost by definition, always been tied up with his issues with Takumu and those had grown to overtake everything. There was Akihiro, but Akihiro had grown since Seirei, had matured. He acknowledged that the past had happened, but didn't like to think on it too long. As always, Keigo admired him for this. A sensible line of thinking. Wouldn't everything be better if Yoshikuni could see that, too? If he could?
For all of these problems, Keigo still wondered on Yoshikuni's own. He'd said too much in days gone by and now wouldn't say much of anything at all. It was late, now. Keigo wondered what time the trains left in the morning. Wondered at what point it would be appropriate to move from the chair to the floor (the dormitory beds were barely big enough for one, let alone for two). Wondered if he'd notice when Yoshikuni fell asleep. Wondered if Yoshikuni would fall asleep. He watched Yoshikuni's back. Maybe he already had. There was little difference between the two.
Still, Keigo remained in the chair. He stayed there, watching Yoshikuni. He wasn't paying attention to his watch to see how long it was before Yoshikuni spoke, too surprised on knowing this action unbidden to think of such things.
"... What?" Keigo replied.
"... Touch me," he said.
But Keigo didn't think this a good idea, and so didn't.
Yoshikuni didn't say anything after that.