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Gravestones and Fools

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“Are you sure you want to do this Min?” Ryoji was fiddling with the end of his scarf again, still somehow managing to lean into Minato. But Ryoji’s voice is laced with more than the usual scarf worrying anxiety, so he actually thinks about it.

Well, there’s not really a reason to be here. Trying to find where SEES was now, apparently ten years later, had only turned up two very high profile and currently very out of reach, and this. But it’s not like he really needs to be here. It’s not achieving anything.

…Whatever. How often is it somebody gets to visit their own grave anyway?

“Yeah.” With that, he grabs one of Ryoji’s hands and gives a small tug. The fond smile Ryoji gives him was pretty alive for a guy who up until recently had been purely the concept of Death. Maybe he’s thinking of the same thing Minato is, back when they were both just kids in a school without a clue what was really going on.

He'd grabbed Ryoji’s hand to get his attention a lot then. When Ryoji had got his hand, it’d always been to pull him along somewhere.

Apparently Ryoji was remembering that too, because he was the one who lead them through the graveyard gates, not with the same spring in his step, but that wouldn’t exactly be appropriate with where they were anyway.

He can feel his feet dragging behind him as Ryoji lead him forward, hand in hand. And it’s not like Ryoji was going to see the smile that’d managed to work its way onto his face anyway. Even if he did look back, his scarf was currently smacking Minato in the face and hiding it pretty well.

Catching glimpses of the graveyard around him from behind the scarf was… surreal. That’s probably the right word. It’s a combination of a few things, including but not limited to: how fancy this place was, it was clearly a graveyard for people with money; the fact there was nobody else around; and the knowledge that he was buried here.

It's mainly the last one. It’s weird to think about his body in the ground when he’s currently using it. That’s a thought that drops whatever was left of the smile pretty quick.

This whole situation was surreal now that he thinks about it, so it’s probably not the graveyard. Whatever, it’s not like it really matters which one it is.

His head smacks right into Ryoji’s back before he realises the other has stopped. The spasm of pain reveals that Ryoji has a surprisingly hard back.

“Min? We’re here.”

That makes a spike of panic run through him. Why? It’s not like he had a problem with the idea before. He just... feels weird now. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. It’s not like he’s dead anymore, what’s it matter?

“I think-“

“-seeing the tombstone would make things feel real?” Ryoji’s looking back at him now, and the smiles a little more sad than before. The slight eyebrow arch he always got when he finished Minato’s sentences was still there though.

“That’s not what I was going to say.”

“But it’s what you were going to mean, right?” They never actually figured out why Ryoji could do this. If he asked him he’d probably get some vaguely flirty response about how they were just made for each other.

Minato would like an actual answer to the question, but it’s not like he really cares enough to try and figure one out.

But yeah, Ryoji was right. He was just being emotional. An inconvenience he’s not exactly used too.

Ryoji’s face softened a little bit, and he started tugging at his scarf with his free hand again. “You know, you don’t have to see it if you don’t want to-” But Minato was already pushing past Ryoji to see it, and from the subdued chuckle at the end of the sentence, Ryoji knew it was going to happen before he’d even finished.

It was just a piece of stone. Besides, being able to say he’s seen his own grave is probably up there with saying he faced Death and got brought back by Satan in terms of lines. Or well, a kid calling himself Satan. Same thing.

It’s just a piece of stone stuck in the ground. A piece of bright shining marble, that clearly people are still visiting regularly enough to keep clean. That he’s willing to bet Mitsuru payed for. That’s still covered in fresh, blinding white flowers despite him having been dead for ten years now. That has dark blue and black flowers he’s pretty sure aren’t there for the meaning, but because they knew he’d like those. Just a stone in the ground that his friends clearly still came to mourn over.

Some kind of ice cold chill is working its way under his skin looking at it. He gives a tug on the end of Ryoji’s scarf, and of course the other knew what he meant. He leaned over and wrapped the yellow scarf around Minato’s neck as well, connecting the two of them by the only splash of yellow in the place.

Something about that made him lean forward to move aside some of the flowers. Ryoji stared for a minute, but leaned over to move some of the flowers aside himself when he saw what he was doing. Minato had a hand full of roses, thorns still attached to the stems, which he gently moved away from the stone.

Because he might as well see what was written, and he couldn’t see past some of the flowers. Not that he has any idea what might be there – ‘he died fighting death like an idiot’ would be appropriate, but would definitely raise some questions, so that probably wasn’t it.

Minato Arisato
1992-2010

Lost friend, lost family, lost too soon.
You will never be forgotten.

S.E.E.S

Oh. Well that’s… not what he was expecting. He doesn’t know what he was expecting. Not that though.

“It says family.” He’s not facing Ryoji, but he still see the concern written on his face out of the corner of his eye. It takes a minute to realise a lot of that concern is directed towards his hand.

Huh. That’s bleeding. Apparently he gripped the thorns on the roses hard enough to tear his hand to ribbons, and he can’t really feel it but Ryoji’s trying to pry his hand open so it’s probably not great. Based off the noise in his ear, Ryoji’s probably saying something as well, but he can’t really hear the words. It’s just kind of noise. Soothing noise, but still noise. A lot of his focus is divided between the gravestone in front of him, and the blood slowly seeping into the white flowers around him. It’s pooling in his hand and cascading down, splattering along the white petals in spots of scarlet. It was mainly dripping onto one lily, slowly drowning it out until you’d have believed the encroaching pain he was dropping on it was how it was meant to be.

So, this is the first tangible impact he’s had on the world since he came back from the dead. Funny that it’s on his own grave, but he’s always had a sort of morbid sense of humour.

It takes Ryoji pulling him into his shoulder to jolt him out of whatever that was, and then the realisation his hand is in fact practically shredded along the top of his skin does kind of become higher priority. Ow.

“You back with me there Min?” Ryoji’s voice was light, but it was a little forced. Well, it’s not like this has never happened before. He’s probably fine.

“Yeah. Thanks.” His voice is muffled by the shoulder his face is currently buried in, but he’s fairly sure Ryoji still hears him based off how he lets him go. Which is good, since with them both wearing the scarf that was not really comfortable.

“…they really care about you, huh?” Ryoji’s voice was a little muffled, and that was all it took for him to realise that Ryoji had move to messing with the top of his scarf now Minato had the other end. He’s pretty sure that’s not a good messing with his scarf, but why…

…Oh. Ryoji didn’t have a grave they could find. Oh. Oh. Why didn’t that register before. Ryoji is about the only person he can usually read, so he’s a little disappointed he hadn’t already realised that fact would probably bother Ryoji, even if he didn’t say anything.

…well, it’s probably a slightly morbid way to go about this, but he has an idea. His hands are covered in blood from the rose thorns - and it might as well go towards something - so, leaning forward to actually reach the grave, he rubs his finger about in the still pooling blood for a little bit. Then he starts writing.

Ryoji Mochizuki
???-2010

…He doesn’t really know what to write. He’s been told many times he’s bad with emotions, so whatever he puts probably won’t get what he wants across. In the end, he settles on something a little simple.

What we deserve is not always what we get. You deserved more than the universe could ever give you.

Yeah, that’d probably work. It’s not like this was probably going to stay on the grave long anyway based on how clean it had been before. Maybe he’d get lucky and this would make a horror story somewhere. Mysterious messages written in blood had a habit of spawning those.

The choked laugh from next to him jolted him out of that train of thought.

“You know they’ll just clean that off, right?” Ryoji’s shaking hands was not covered in the slightest by how he had them buried in the fabric of his scarf. “Besides, you really shouldn’t do that. It could get infected.”

“I’m not going to let you be forgotten.” It’s very rare he actually curses the fact his voice is never anything but monotone, but it’s rarer still he’s actually grateful for it. This is one of those times – it makes what he’s saying sound more like a fact than a promise. Which is great, because he has a bad track record with promises. At the end of the day, he’s blunt and horrible at speaking around topics the way Ryoji could – then again, Ryoji had always been too plain spoken to be great at it himself – and based off Ryoji’s widening eyes he hit the nail on the head.

“Aren’t you usually the one calling me sappy?” The light note in Ryoji’s voice was definitely forced based off the tremor in the words, but Minato just gave his usual flat hum in response.

“I wouldn’t call that sappy.” That along with a raised eyebrow somehow startled a laugh out of Ryoji. He has no idea why.

“I mean, I’m not sure blood is conventionally romantic but it’s pretty close for you!” There’s the kindling of life behind the eyes again. Ryoji really doesn’t look right without it. He’d always seen him as so bright and vibrant. He lets a quiet smile curve its way onto his face, and when Ryoji’s lights up in response it’s worth it.

Still, they stand in silence in front of the grave for a few more minutes. Or maybe it was less – times weird when you’re in front of your grave apparently. It kind of messes things around in your head.

“Thank you Min.” The words were soft, delicate, almost lost in the bundle of fabric Ryoji had his face buried in. They still managed to reach Minato. He gave a nod of acknowledgment to them before they returned to the silence.

This time, it was him that broke it. “I love you.” He realises that probably kind of came out of nowhere, but he really doesn’t say it enough. Besides, it felt nice for the words not to stick in his throat like they had the last time he said it. For them not to be tainted with grief.

It felt nice to be alive to say them at all. How about that, he keeps getting struck with how glad he is to be alive. He’s not sure the him before SEES would have any clue what to do with that fact.

He barely knows what to do with that fact, but a will to live is nice. Feels kind of warm.

Ryoji grabbed his hand again, intertwining their fingers together as they started down at the grave’s new addition. “I love you too Min. I think I’ve always loved you, even before I knew the words.” The words were whispered, but when Ryoji turned and gave him that smile that could replace the sun, he got that the words were quiet because they were just for him.

…Ryoji was right, he really is feeling sappy today, isn’t he? He’ll blame a mixture of the atmosphere of the graveyard and being freshly back from the dead for that one.

Still, he drops his head down onto Ryoji’s shoulder, and the two of them somehow manage to enjoy the stillness of the graveyard together. Well, stillness apart from the odd footsteps. He didn’t really pay them much mind until they stopped.

“Minato?”