Ritsu tightens his black tie so hard that he can feel it start to strangle him. A wedding huh? Who would have thought. The Isara Mao of Trickstar getting married. Ritsu definitely didnt at first. He was happy for him. Yeah. Definitely. That. After all, what kind of childhood friend wouldn't be happy for their best friend getting married? He would be a bad friend and the last thing he wanted to do was not be there for Mao.
But out of all people, why him?
Ritsu's feet feel like bricks as he climbs up the stairs to the chapel, heart palpitating. His suit jacket draped over his arm as he greeted the attendees. "Oi Ritchii!" He felt a heavy arm slung around his shoulders.
"Ah doggie~ you showed up." Oh Koga is here too. As he looked around the room, it seemed like he regonised more and more people from his high school years talking amongst themselves. With this many idols and people in the entertainment industry around, it's no wonder the paparazzi swarmed the outside of the fences like hungry vultures ready to pounce on their prey. Or at least in this case aim their shutters at the happy couple and their guests for the tabloids. The flashing lights of the cameras brighter than the sun itself.
"Oi! You're late as hell! Forehead's looking for ya. He's in waiting room 1 with the rest of the groomsmen. I think."
"Ah, thank you corgi."
"You ok man? You seem out of it. Oh yeah! What's that chicks name... Suzu? Yeah she asked me to pass this to you." The silver haired man hands him a file of music sheets. Right. He was supposed to play the piano at the ceremony.
He lazily shoves the silver haired man's arm off, the man in question waving him off as he sauntered off, back facing the shorter, away from where Ritsu was standing, probally going to rejoin his other unit members, who were all chatting ambiently amongst themselves.
Ah.. what is this restless feeling? Endless nights of no sleep leading up to this day. The inevitability of it all. He knew it was going to happen, one day. But why? Why did he still have hope?
Hope. What drives us forward, is it not? The will to keep going on. A wonderful thing really, the force to push oneself to greater heights not previously achievable. All wasted. Wasted on the wrong person.
The call of his name snapped him back into reality, the train of thought he clouded himself with leaving the station as quickly as it came.
"Natchan!" He fakes a warm smile at his unit mate.
She ran up to him waving her gloved hand furiously, clutching the arm of a startled Kagehira who's arm was interlocked with hers. Both were dressed appropriately, with Mika in a fancy tailored red amd black suit and Arashi in a knee lenght mesh floral dress with heels, clacking against the wooden floor as she ran up to him. Of course the pair were invited, after all, all four of them were once classmates.
"Ritsu-chan! Ah! What a beautiful day! Aren't the flowers here lovely? What do you think, Mika-chan~?", she beamed. From the way she was glowing, you would have thought it was her wedding day. "Isnt this dress so wonderful?" She did a little piroette, fingertips clutching the ends of the mesh fabric. "Mika-chan made it for me! Its my first time wearing a dress out in public! Isnt this exciting?"
Mika puts his hand around the back of his neck and blushes a grin. "Aw shucks Naru-chan, it wasn't a big deal! Anythin' for you!" He turns his attention towards the other.
"Ah congratulations Ritsu-kun! I'm really happy for ya!" He reaches out his hand to shake Ritsus, who flinches. Arashi notices his hesitation and her eyes shoot up in alarm, before harshly whispering something into her partner's ear, who's expression turns to horror, quickly retracting his hand. "Ah, sorry bout that... thought you an Isara.. ah!" His hands slam up to cover his mouth, his eyes wide.
"Ah! Sorry about that Ritsu-chan! Mika-chan over here left his um... wallet! in the um... foyer! Right, Mika-chan?" She shot daggers at Mika before she pushed him, her hands on his back, away from Ritsu, who raised his hand half heartedly at them in farewell.
With the prying eyes of the press blocked from the wedding grounds, Narukami could truly be the way she desired without completely destroying her public image. Years of grueling hard work to get to where she is would all be destroyed in moments. As idols, reputation is everything. No doubt was he proud of her. His heart swelled with pride. Proud that she have what her heart yearned so desperately for. Proud that she now finally had what she ever so wanted, ever since he saw how she wept miserably at night under her covers back in Yumenosaki for what was so near yet so far. But yet despite closed doors, Ritsu didn't. Ritsu couldn't.
For just this little moment she could now be happy.
On this joyous day.
And he couldn't even dream of such.
Back then he pitied her. But now... now...
"Ritsu-kun! There you are!" Ritsu stops in his tracks as he hears a familiar voice.
"Yuu-kun" he forces himself to break into another plastic smile as he greets the other, an old acquaintance.
"Have you seen Isara-kun? He's disappeared! The ceremony starts in 30 minutes!"
"Huuuuh...? Why would I know that?", The noirette droned in his usually sleepy tone.
"I mean.. haha..." Makoto scratches the back of his head and looks up at him with a sheepish smile, "You are his 'Ritt-chan',... right? Out of everyone, I think you would know the best..."
It's all a dream isn't it? A lie? God he hoped it was a dream. After all, living a lie for so long isnt good. But maybe... maybe it was all worth it when he smiled. Like the crack of dawn, there to await a new day with him, the sunlight greeting him as he curled up in the soft sheets of his bed. Like the soft faint glow of the sunset, warm and inviting, ending the day with his most favourite person in the world, only to do it all over again the next.
Ah... ahahahahaha.... ah...
"I'll go look for him."
"Ah! Thank you Ritsu-kun!"
Memories of the past. Spending every moment with each other since they were children... When did they grow so distant? Maybe it was then. Maybe they shouldn't have gone to Yumenosaki. Chasing a dream, but forgetting to value what he already had. But it was too late to hold it close and never ever let it go. It was too late to regret. He was too late. He was too fucking late-
He knew where Mao was. He always did.
Ritsu pushed the toilet stall open. And there he was, head in his hands as he sat atop the toilet lid in the cubicle furthest from the door. "Maa-kun~ it's your big day! Don't think about running away now.", he bent down to his level and poked the redhead's cheek with his index finger.
"Oh god Ritsu, I dont know..."
"Huh? Don't know what?"
"I don't know... I don't fucking know..."
Mao Isara with the weight of the world on his shoulders, always so responsible, hardworking and never fails to meet expectations. His good qualities, but also his weaknesses.
"She can do better than me... What If it turns out I'm not a good enough husband and she regrets marrying me?" His words breaking apart as he mumbles into his hands.
It was never him. It was never fucking him. Ritsu wanted to yell out into the void. His heart wanted him to drop to his knees and beg Mao to run away and marry him instead. Beg Mao to carry him on his back once again and let him sleep on his lap while he stroked his hair. Beg Mao to always be by his side and never leave him alone ever again. He wanted it so badly, from the very bottom of his soul. The endless solitary nights he rolled around in his bed, thinking of what could have been would go away. The endless thoughts of him that constantly swirled around in the noirettes head that never seemed to shut up. Because he would finally have him. And Ritsu would be happy.
But he couldn't.
He couldn't cost Mao his happiness.
It fucking hurt so much. Agonising pain ripping through his body so intense that he could feel in his bones.
But he just couldn't.
"Hey Maa-kun, get up." He whispered softly, empty hand reaching out to Mao.
"She agreed to your proposal, right? I know for a fact she loves you too, alot. You've been together for so many years, if she hated your guts she would have already left a long long time ago. It's her big day too, you know. Don't want to keep her waiting too long now~."
His crimson eyes flinch.
"Come on Maa-kun, you have to be strong. For her."
The green eyed man looks up and takes the other's hand, pulling himself off the toilet. "Up you go! That's the spirit!"
"Haah... Thank you Ritsu, you always know what to say. Thanks for always being there for me."
Ritsu pats him gently on the back before Mao dusts his hands off and walks out of the toilet. (Wash your fucking hands motherfucker you touch your wife with that?)
He should have done it years ago. But he was too much of a coward. Too much of a fucking coward. It cost him everything he fucking cared about to not say those 3 simple words.
When the music starts
You will vow to spend the rest of your life with her.
How I prayed every night
This day would never come.
He felt his fingers slide over the keys, moving on their own, forming a melodious harmony that only the one and only Ou-sama could write.
You never knew how I felt about you
And I hated you so
Sometimes I wished you would be unhappy
Now I have no more tears left to cry
When I’m by myself I talk to you like you’re here
His smile brightened up the room, as he watched her walk down the isle and latch onto his arm, beaming back up at him.
Baby, don’t take her hand when she comes to you.
I’ve been waiting for you for so long look at me now.
The wedding bells chimed as he looked at the pianist and gave a small nervous grin before turning back to her.
Please be happy with her
Ritsu wished it was him holding onto his hands tightly.
So that I can forget you
He wished it was himself who looked the man in the eye and whispered how much he loved him while the redhead blushed nervously.
Please forget how miserable I looked
"You may now kiss the bride"
It’s going to be unbearably hard for me
"I now pronounce you, Mao and Anzu, man and wife."
For a long while to come
Ritsu sits down on the steps of chapel, the happy couple taking pictures with the guests in the background. The noirette could hear the cheerful ambience as the others gave their well wishes to the bride and groom. He pulls out the ring in his pocket and stares at it blankly, before tossing it into the nearby drain.
He was too late.