Gaku blinks, but the sight still remains.
There's a small boy crying in front of him.
“This is Satoru Fujinuma,” Gaku's mother says. “He's going to be staying with us for a while.”
Gaku's father had already left the room as soon as the child burst into tears and his brother is looking at him as if he's one of Gaku's toys that just needs to be broken so it'll stop annoying him.
It thus falls to Gaku to look at his mother and ask, “Why?”
She motions him forward and Gaku steps uneasily past the kid, still sobbing. “His mother's in the hospital,” she says. “They're not sure when she'll wake up.”
He doubts that either of his parents would do anything out of the goodness of their hearts, but asking them why they would take a toddler into their house is only bound to lead to being completely ignored, so Gaku just rolls with it.
And besides, the child is kind of a cute thing, all dark messy hair and big eyes, even if he does have snot running down its nose.
He bends down and says, “Hello, Satoru-kun! My name's Gaku.”
The child stops for a second and looks curiously at him.
Gaku tries to give him a big smile.
Satoru bursts into even bigger tears.
Eventually, when the kid's worn himself out and been put to bed, Gaku realizes that really, the kid's been a blessing. Everyone was so distracted by the new arrival that there was no time to pressure him to study more or berate him for failures or leave him with bruises he'd have to hide again.
Satoru has saved him, if only for today.
So he's not upset when he walks into his room and sees that what used to be a single is a shared one. His parents may turn a blind eye to his older brother, but even they aren't going to be dumb enough to put a small child in the same room as Ichiro.
No, he thinks. This is fine.
And it's not like this is going to last. His parents will get bored. Satoru's mother will wake up.
The boy's crying in his sleep, soft little sniffles from a clogged up nose. He's kicked his blankets off, and Gaku, before he knows what he's doing is pulling them up, tucking them around him, and putting his hand on the boy's soft, fine hair.
He lets it linger a little as the child seems to lean into his touch.
There's a little spark inside him, a bit of warmth in something he thought was cold and dull.
Mine, he thinks. My parents have each other and Ichiro has everything, but I have this.
I have Satoru.
Satoru-kun is a strong little boy.
Even though he still cries every day, it's less and less as the time goes on. Part of it must be not being able to see his mother. Children's memories are easily forgotten, Gaku knows, and whatever happened to his mother means that Satoru doesn't go to the hospital to see her.
Instead, he follows Gaku around like a duckling whenever he's home.
“You can't come with me to school,” Gaku has to tell Satoru. He's made it all the way out the door and is watching him, big eyes welling with tears. He's too fragile to leave the house and the Mikohara family is hardly going to let even a temporary charge disgrace them.
Satoru's bottom lip trembles and Gaku doesn't even have to think before he's down on his knees, softly patting Satoru's head.
All these things he was sure he was incapable of, all the things his brother said no one would ever want from him... Satoru makes them possible.
“I'll see you when I get home,” Gaku says, and it's the one thing that will keep him going throughout the day, through classes and tests and Ichiro...
“You're such a fucking pile of shit,” Ichiro says and his foot lands into Gaku's ribs. “You really think people aren't going to figure out what a freak you are? One day, our parents are going to wake up and realize just what a crappy son they've put their faith into.”
Gaku says nothing. It's easier to just let Ichiro get it over with and move on. Another day, another bruise.
“Fuck.” Another kick to his shins. “Even that little worm in the house is going to open his eyes and see you. Fujinuma-kun,” and Ichiro's voice turns mockingly lilting. “Of course, a sicko like you--”
Gaku punches him in the face and Ichiro reels back as Gaku gets to his feet, his ribs protesting. There's a warmth spreading over him, a fierce joy that Gaku realizes is a glow of anger, of murderous rage and the fire in him is so nice. “You don't talk about Satoru-kun,” Gaku says. “You don't get to have his name on your tongue.”
“You fucking piece of--”
Gaku punches him again and this time, he can hear a crunch.
By the time they're finished, Ichiro is stomping off, and Gaku knows he's going to make up some story about getting robbed by delinquents or some bullshit. Meanwhile, Gaku's trying to catch his breath, his ribs aching.
But it was worth it.
It will always be worth it for Satoru.
“No,” he tells Ichiro. “I'm not going to help you.”
Satoru is thankfully at home, sleeping off a cold. Gaku worries, but he's safer being feverish under his mother's care than Gaku is, at the mercy of his older brother.
“You can do whatever you want,” he says. “Beat me up. Lie about me. But I don't care. I don't care about you.”
“You owe me,” his brother says, his fists pulling at Gaku's collar. “You owe me--”
“I don't owe you anything,” Gaku says. “I might have helped you out of boredom or because I had nothing better to do and I wanted to see what would happen, but now? I've realized just how dull you are.”
His brother pushes him down to the ground. Gaku feels a rock dig into his back, but he keeps eye contact with his brother. Watches him realize that yes, Gaku isn't going to do anything for him, no matter how much he yells and punches and kicks. “You'll pay for this, Gaku,” Ichiro hisses. “I'll make you regret this.”
Gaku waits for him to leave, then patiently pulls himself to his feet. He walks the rest of the way home. Somewhere, his brother is probably plotting his revenge, thinking of all the ways he could try to make Gaku pay.
There's only one target that matters, though, and Yashiro will make sure to protect him.
Satoru is sleeping, but he opens his eyes when he sees Gaku come into the room.
“Gaku-nii-san,” he says and he tries to squirm out of bed.
Gaku walks over and gently pushes him back down, feeling his fragile little heartbeat beneath his hand. “You can't get up, Satoru-kun. You're still sick.”
Satoru's forehead is sweaty, but it's cooler than it was. He pouts and it's adorable. “No,” he says. “Wanna get up.”
Gaku sighs and picks up Satoru. He goes over to his bed and sits against the wall, letting Satoru rest against his chest. Satoru happily snuggles into him.
It doesn't take him long to fall asleep against Gaku, his tiny little body warm in Gaku's arms.
Gaku chuckles a little bit. He's like Spice, all cute and small and refusing to give up, no matter what. It's so adorable and precious and--
Mine, Gaku repeats. And I won't let anyone take you away from me.
No matter what I have to do.
Satoru's been hiding from him.
When Gaku comes home, he's used to Satoru running to greet him and wanting to play immediately.
Satoru refuses to come out of his room, doesn't eat much at the table, keeps his head down and never meets people's eyes.
And Gaku has a fairly good suspicion why that is.
“Satoru,” he says. “You haven't been coming to play with me.”
Satoru hides under the covers, even when Gaku tugs at them trying to get them off. He scrunches himself into a ball. “Don't wanna play.”
“Satoru,” he coaxes. “Come out.”
“No! You hate me!”
Gaku narrows his eyes. “No, I don't,” he says. “You know I love you.”
The blanket shakes. “Hates me! Ichiro told me!”
“Ichiro is a liar, Satoru,” Gaku says, and he feels the void open up into him. “He's a bad person.”
Satoru peeks out of the blanket, a mop of dark hair and dark eyes the only visible part. “Ichiro bad?”
“Very bad,” Gaku agrees. “He wants to hurt us.”
Satoru climbs out more and Gaku holds himself back, lets Satoru come to him. Satoru traces the bruises along Gaku's arm from Ichiro's last session, his chubby little fingers light on Gaku's arm. Each touch goes straight to Gaku's heart. “Hurt you.”
Gaku looks at Satoru now that he's no longer hiding and it's faint, but he thinks he sees a small bruise on Satoru's knee. “How did you hurt yourself, Satoru?”
Satoru doesn't say anything, but trembles until Gaku enfolds him in a hug, lets him bury his face in Gaku's shirt.
He's been too complacent, thinking that just yelling at his brother would fix anything. Of course, Ichiro would try to hurt Satoru when Gaku's not around.
And he can't be with Satoru 24 hours a day. Not yet.
So the answer is simple.
They send his brother away.
Of course, they do. What other choice do they have?
After all, that poor girl is dead and his brother is ranting and raving, saying how he didn't mean to hurt her and it's all Gaku's fault because--
Well, no one believes that. Gaku, who's a devoted older brother to that poor little kid. Gaku who always studies and smiles and is polite to everyone he meets.
Mikohara Gaku, who's just such a good boy.
“They'll find out the truth,” Ichiro says as Gaku meets him right before they send him away to that hospital in the mountains. Gaku agreed, naturally. Sure, his brother said all those horrible things about him, but he can't blame him for that. He's not well.
“They'll see who you are.”
“No, they won't,” Gaku says. “No one knows me.”
But one person will. Gaku's sure of that. Satoru accepts him already, loves him. He'll never leave Gaku, no matter what he does.
They don't let Satoru into the room, but he's waiting outside for Gaku when he leaves the small room, the last sight of his brother being held down, injected by guards as he flails and curses.
Satoru beams when he sees Gaku and runs towards him, colliding with his leg. He's smiling so wide and bright and Gaku picks him up, holds him tight.
His parents say nothing.
They don't want to lose another child, after all.
Satoru is six and he doesn't understand why he has to leave.
“Why can't we stay here?” he whines. “I want to go to school where you did.”
Gaku's just glad that his parents aren't trying to pawn Satoru off on another family. Not that he would let them. “You know why,” he says patiently. “It's the same reason we're not keeping our name. It's a fresh start.”
They're going to live with Mom instead of Dad. He's not surprised by this. Dad never quite recovered from sending Ichiro away, even if everyone agreed it was for the best.
Satoru's still unhappy. “Not fair,” he says. “I don't want to leave.”
It's easy to pick him up still. To hold him. Gaku's grateful for that. Satoru easily nestles into his arms and it's second nature to rock him back and forth, soothing him. “I don't want to either,” Gaku lies.
He wants nothing more than to get away. The less people that know them, the less people that have heard the stories, listened to Ichiro's words...
The less people that know that Satoru's a Fujinuma, not a Mikohara or a Yashiro, the better.
“Can't we just stay here?” Satoru asks quietly. He's not crying anymore. For a six-year-old, he's surprisingly solemn and thoughtful, never really making a fuss or complaining about anything. No one can blame him for pitching a fit about this, however.
Gaku understands. It's still going to happen. “No,” he says. “But I promise, I'll never leave you. No matter where we go, we'll always be together.”
Satoru nods into Gaku's chest. “Yes,” he says.
High school is easy no matter where you go. All tests are the same, all books are the same, everything's the same. The only thing that changes are the people, but once you know the formula to dealing with them, they're easy too.
If he's not happy, he's at least content with his school. Gaku's carefully cultivated a reputation of kindness and responsibility that means he's considered friendly without ever having to make actual friends.
Satoru, on the other hand...
Gaku frowns. “You made a friend today?”
“I think so,” Satoru says. “Noboyuki's so cool! He's into Wonder Guy, just like me!” He's bouncing up and down on his bed.
Satoru's too nice for his own good. Too trusting, too open, too...
Well, Gaku loves him for that. But other people shouldn't.
He carefully sits down on the bed. “You know, Satoru,” he says, “not everyone who says they want to be your friend is someone you can trust.”
“I know that,” Satoru says. “But Noboyuki's really nice.”
“Sometimes people who are nice to you are only doing it to get something from you.” Gaku's using his soothing tone that always works on Satoru, calms him down, gets him to--
“Noboyuki's not like that,” Satoru snaps. Gaku reels back, surprised. Satoru's never talked back to him before. “You're just mad because I have a friend and you don't.”
But Satoru won't look at him. He puts his fingers in his ears and buries his head under the pillow until Gaku leaves the room.
This is unacceptable, he thinks. Something has to be done.
It's easy to call out the next day. He convinces Mom that he's feeling ill – it helps that he doesn't ask her for anything more than to just rest at the house. No, he's fine. He doesn't need her to do anything.
Once she leaves, he bides his time. He spends most of the day resting. Plotting.
He leaves in the afternoon. Satoru will be walking home with his friend, but he'll stop to play somewhere. He won't come straight back since he's still mad at Gaku.
That's fine. It's only for another day.
He sees Noboyuki and Gaku playing nearby on the swings. Noboyuki's nothing special, a grubby little kid that frankly, Satoru could do much better than.
And he will. The kids have left their bags off to the side, and it's so simple to get close to them, to open up Satoru's bag and take out the small Wonder Guy figure that he knows Satoru keeps buried at the bottom.
It's just as easy to put it inside Noboyuki's bag, but at the top. Satoru knows exactly what his figure looks like and he has to see it there, know it's his.
Know that Noboyuki took it.
Gaku goes back home. He's not going to stay and watch his handiwork. He doesn't have to.
He knows Satoru.
So thirty minutes later, when Satoru comes rushing into the room, wailing “Gaku-nii-san,” he lets Satoru bury his face in Gaku's chest and he smiles.
“Gaku, we need to talk.”
He's been prepared for this. As they get older, there's only so much his mother can ignore before she starts getting twitchy about Gaku and Satoru's continued sleeping arrangements.
He's seen her uncomfortable looks, heard her veiled hints that perhaps Satoru might like a room of his own.
Thankfully, Satoru's lashed out at any suggestion to separate him from Gaku, the normally quiet and sweet boy refusing at the top of his lungs.
It can't be helped, Gaku has always responded afterwards. His mother is still in a coma. You really want to take someone else away from him?
But his mother is still going to try. “Yes, Mom?”
“About Satoru-kun. You know he's getting older and you're preparing to go to university.”
Gaku nods. “Of course.”
“He's going to need to learn to be on his own. He can't be with you forever.”
She's wrong, but there's no need to enlighten her on that point.
“It's fine, mother,” he says. “It's just for a little bit longer.”
“Mother,” he says softly. “It's better this way.”
Back in his room, Satoru's doing his homework, chewing on a pencil. He squints a little.
“Satoru?” Gaku says.
“You're back!” Satoru grins and gets up to hug him. “I thought you had to stay later today.”
“I came back early for you.” Gaku ruffles Satoru's fine black hair, enjoying the little scowl on the boy's face. He's found that Satoru being annoyed is just as delightful as Satoru being happy.
Satoru, unhappy, on the other hand, isn't quite so pleasing, and seeing Satoru's face fall immediately makes him bristle. “What's wrong?” he asks.
“Your mother said she had to talk to you.” Right after his parents divorced, Satoru stopped referring to Gaku's mom as his own, only calling her “your mom” or “Yashiro-san.” Gaku wondered if his mom said something to Satoru to cause this, but as it worked out in his favor, he decided not to question it.
“It's all right, Satoru,” Gaku says. “We worked it out.”
“Okay.” Satoru's face brightens. “I drew you a picture!”
Gaku smiles, a real one that he reserves only for Satoru. “I'd love to see it.”
Satoru rummages through the mess of papers on the desk and pulls out a slightly crumpled paper, passing it to Gaku with an expectant look on his face.
It's still a child's drawing, but it's fairly well-done and Gaku can see where Satoru's talent might lie.
It's the two of them, he thinks, holding hands. Gaku's a clear black scribble while Satoru's a shorter blue one, and between them--
“What's that, Satoru?” he asks. There's something red connecting them, a line that reaches and links the two of them. Gaku swallows.
“It's our thread,” Satoru says, very matter of factly, like Gaku should just automatically know what that is. “It's what ties us together.”
Gaku nods but he feels a chill. Satoru's never reacted to the strings before even as Gaku saw them every day, hovering above people's heads. Maybe he still can't. But if he can see something like this--
Oh, Satoru. You truly were made for me.
“Fujinuma Sachiko woke up?”
His mother's voice crackles across the line. “I thought I would let you know,” she says. “Satoru's visiting her in the hospital right now. It'll be a while before she's able to leave, let alone take care of him, but when she's ready...” She trails off.
“Yes?” Gaku's hand is shaking as he clenches the phone receiver. The darkness in him is swallowing him whole. He never should have left. He should have gone somewhere closer, somewhere he could keep an eye on Satoru. But it was necessary, he thought. He needed to establish himself so he and Satoru could have a life.
But there is no life without Satoru.
“He's going back, Gaku,” his mother finishes. “You knew this day would come.”
Gaku hangs up the phone, stares blankly at the wall. He should be studying. He should be getting ready for his exam tomorrow. He should be--
He should be making new plans.
There's nothing he can do about this now. It will take a while for Fujinuma-san to recover. He has time. And if he rushes off now, takes Satoru with him like he desperately wants to, he'll be caught and he'll lose him for good.
Think, Gaku, he tells himself.
You need to find a home for the two of you. You need to save up money. You need to make it so Satoru will never want to leave.
Or be able to.
He'll need to pay a visit to his mother first.
Mikoto Elementary School is just as he remembered it, Gaku thinks. It was fairly simple to be sent back there as part of his teaching practice. It's an easy assignment. He knows the area, knows the families, and he's fairly certain that even if they remember the Mikohara name, Yashiro is quite a different matter.
Most importantly, Satoru is here.
It's not surprising that Fujinuma-san moved back here. Familiar surroundings to make the two of them comfortable and she'll figure that Satoru will adjust quickly back to his old environment.
But he'll still remember Gaku.
The children chatter as he walks into their homeroom, waiting to be introduced to them.
“This is Yashiro-sensei,” Suzuki-sensei says. “He will be helping with teaching for the next two weeks.”
Gaku scans the classroom, runs his eyes over the children until his face alights on the back row. A small child with black hair and wide eyes stares back at him.
For the rest of the class, he feels Satoru's stare on his back, delights in it. The energy is palpable, as if Satoru wants to leap out of his desk and run up to the front. Gaku has to hold himself back as well.
Soon, he promises. Soon.
“Yashiro-sensei?” the voice asks uncertainly.
“It's all right, Satoru,” Gaku says. “When we're alone, you can call me Gaku.” He smiles, wide and toothy.
Satoru takes the opportunity and flings himself at Gaku, hugging him tightly. He's taller now, though he won't ever be as tall as Gaku, a thought he finds intensely delightful.
“I'm sorry I couldn't say goodbye to you,” Satoru says. “I wanted to, but--”
“I understand, Satoru,” Gaku replies and lets his hand caress through Satoru's hair. “But we're together now.”
“I heard about your mom,” Satoru blurts out. “I'm really sorry.” He looks like he's on the verge of sobbing. “My mom woke up but yours--”
“Shh.” Gaku wipes a stray tear from Satoru's eye. It's so lovely. “It was an accident. There's nothing anyone could have done.”
“I wanted to go to the funeral, but Mom was still recovering.” Satoru's wiping his face on Gaku's shirt while they sit on the bench. It's fine. He'll keep the shirt covered with Satoru's tears the same way he keeps everything Satoru has given him. Locked up and safe.
“You don't need to explain to me, Satoru.” Gaku thinks he could stay like this forever, just holding Satoru in his arms. “None of this is your fault.”
The voice is unexpected. Unwelcome. Unfamiliar.
But not to Satoru.
Satoru quickly wipes his eyes dry as a woman comes into view. She's dark-haired, a bit thin, and she looks at Gaku a little suspiciously.
“You didn't come home with Kenya,” she says. “I was worried.”
“This is Gaku—Yashiro-sensei,” Satoru replies, getting to his feet. Gaku feels the lack of his warmth and tries not to frown. “His mom used to take care of me.”
Fujinuma-san's face clears and she smiles briefly, then bows. “Now it makes sense,” she says. “I apologize for not being able to go to the service.”
“As I've told Satoru-kun, it's completely understandable,” he says. “I'm sure she would have understood you wanting to take care of each other.”
She nods and takes Satoru's hand. “Thank you for all you've done for him,” Fujinuma says. “From what he's said in the past, it's obvious that he cares about you a great deal.”
Gaku smiles broadly at them. “Well, I'm glad we got to see each other again, Satoru-kun.” He waggles his fingers goodbye. “I'll see you in class.”
He can afford to be patient and kind.
After all, Fujinuma-san's going to lose her son.
It doesn't hurt to give her a few happy memories before that happens.
The last day of his two week practice, he's given a card and a bouquet of flowers from the class. They sing a song. There's a little bit of crying from some of the students.
Most of it is Satoru's.
“They really liked you,” Suzuki-sensei says. “You're excellent with children.”
“Thank you,” Gaku says. “I can only hope that I get a class as wonderful as this one. You've done a great job with them.”
It is a shame that she'll probably blame herself for what happens. He should feel bad about that, he thinks distantly.
Nor does he make any special goodbye to Satoru. No p romises, no obvious sign of his affection.
“Yashiro-sensei?” he says, bewildered. “You're leaving?”
“I can't stay, Satoru-kun,” Gaku replies.
“But you said--” and Satoru clamps his mouth shut, turning red.
It's adorable and Gaku thinks, soon.
He makes sure people see him leave town. Gossip will help him here. The Mikoharas are leaving once again. At least this time, it's for pleasant reasons.
The phone call he gets five days later is quite less pleasant.
“Yashiro-san,” a woman says, and the voice is choked with sobs.
“Fujinuma-san?” he asks. “What's wrong?”
“Satoru is—he's--” She can't get the words out, breaks down in anguished cries.
“Fujunuma-san!” He knows he sounds alarmed, concerned. “What happened to Satoru-kun?”
She doesn't answer even as he keeps saying her name and eventually, the phone hangs up.
It's a terrible tragedy, everyone in town agrees.
The Fujunuma family is cursed. First, the mother having that terrible accident so many years ago that left her unconscious while her son grew up. Then, when she does finally awake and recover, her son drowns in a river.
No, they didn't find his body. But some of his clothing, ripped and dotted with blood, was found stuck on a bush near a river. Who knows what happened to the poor boy's body? It's probably better that Fujunuma-san didn't have to see that sight.
It's not surprising either that Yashiro-san wouldn't want to return to the town. Everyone knows, he was like a brother to that boy growing up. And to lose two brothers in the same town – one to madness, the other to death? Well, maybe it's really the Mikohara's curse after all.
He did send a very apologetic sympathy card and a tasteful floral arrangement to the service.
There are even rumors that he quit teaching, so broken up over losing one of his first real students.
Just a tragedy all around.
In the end, it's a lot smoother than he anticipated.
Satoru doesn't even question that Gaku's returned, just because he forgot something back in the school. He'll walk Satoru home, however, but they have to keep it a secret because he doesn't want anyone thinking that he's showing favoritism towards a certain student.
He doesn't question that or the juice that's ever so slightly bitter and knocks him out several minutes later.
After that, it's easy to plant the clothing near the river. He does regret having to cut Satoru's arm a little, but a bit of blood shed now will save so much down the line.
Satoru's easy to carry to the car, and easier still to keep quiet under a blanket in the car.
It's a long drive, but he's a very good boy who's drugged to the gills and it's easy to wake him for feedings and using the toilet before he knocks out again.
The house is a lot smaller than the one Gaku grew up in, but it's perfect for the two of them. Remote, quiet, far from any large city.
He keeps Satoru under a while longer. Lets him wake up confused, then shushes him back. Memory, time, love for other people—all of these have to be lost.
The only thing that should remain is what Gaku gives him.
At last, he decides to wake him, lets the boy groggily flutter his eyes, look around in confusion, see bandages on him and wonder what they're for. Nothing, Gaku thinks. But every play needs props.
“Satoru-kun,” he says, and he doesn't have to pretend to be relieved and affectionate when the boy focuses on him. “I was so worried.”
“What—what happened?” Satoru's voice is tiny, dry, and he can only say a few words before he begins coughing. “I don't remember—you?”
“Don't rush,” Gaku says. He gives him a tiny chip of ice from a cup he has on the nightstand. “You've been in a very bad accident.”
“No—I—was?” Satoru scrunches up his face, trying to bring back a memory that doesn't exist. “Mom?”
“She's not here.” Gaku puts his hand on Satoru's small shoulder, lets himself bask in Satoru's warmth. “I'm sorry, Satoru.”
It's satisfying to be able to predict the exact moment that Satoru's face will crumple as the “truth” hits, as the words Gaku says settle in, as he realizes that it's just him and Gaku again. Now and forever.
His arms are already open to catch Satoru, to pull him towards him, and to clutch him tightly, knowing that he's finally won.
Satoru is all his and no one else's.
No one's really talked to Arishima Masao.
A few people have seen him, a tall, dark-haired man who comes into town to get packages from the post office.
“He's probably a translator or some sort of writer,” Ishikawa remarked one day. “I saw a bunch of packages from publishers.”
He does smile at people when he sees them in town, but he never sticks around that long.
“Maybe he has a wife he's eager to get home to,” some of them joke. “Must be something special to want to rush away that quickly.”
If so, he's keeping her to himself, because the only person anyone ever sees come in and out of that house is Arishima-san.
Still, he's always polite, will stop to help people out, and never causes trouble with anyone.
So if he wants to keep to himself? No one's going to question it.
Yashiro's a patient man.
But he deserves this, he thinks.
“I love you, Gaku,” Satoru says.
“Again,” Yashiro says, and doesn't let Satoru repeat his sobbing words before he's kissing him fiercely, letting his teeth scrape against Satoru's lip so that he's taking in Satoru's blood at the same time.
He wants all of Satoru, every single bit of him. He takes his lips from Satoru's mouth, lets him catch his breath and then he bites down hard on his neck.
Satoru wails and it's so gorgeous to his ears.
He marks Satoru in every way, knows that Satoru will wake up tomorrow with bite marks and bruises and know that there's only one person that will ever do that to him.
Only one person that will ever love him.
In some of his darker nights, he suspects that Satoru probably knows the truth. He knows his mother still exists. He knows he's not alone.
But he's not going to leave Gaku.
Because Gaku has realized his dream. Satoru finally understands him in every way possible.
And that means, he knows he can never leave.