Chapter 1: sun
He smelled of the sun.
Whenever Nagai Kei closed his eyes, a certain person’s face would flash before him.
The person who had always, without fail, helped Kei out of every predicament due to his real identity of being a demi-human… the person who had always gave him a sense of relieve, making him feel safe. Always, always, that person’s smile would shine on him like the sun. Indeed, for Nagai Kei, that person was akin to the sun.
Whenever Kei thought of Kai, his mind would flashback to the day they spent together at the cottage in the woods. Despite how a lot of crazy things happened in an unbelievable speed, Kei still remembered the day really clearly.
Had it been an ordinary day, Kei would already be laying down on his bed, under the fluffy and warm sheets, getting ready to sleep. But after getting hit by a truck and surviving it, grimly Kei thought that nothing would go on the ‘ordinary’ route anymore. Now that his being a demi-human was made known to the world, there’s no chance for him to go back home and sleep as usual.
As he opened his eyes a crack – sleeping is hard when you know the police, the world, is chasing you around to do experiments on you – he could see the sitting figure of his childhood friend, Kai. The person whom he had thrown away heartlessly… and also the person who had come back for him despite that.
“Why?” Kei had been thinking endlessly.
“Kei?” Kai opened one of his eyes, as he called out to Kei softly.
“…Kai,” Kei replied curtly, unable to think of anything else to say.
“Why don’t you get some sleep?” Kai asked, with his characteristic kind, confident voice. Kei couldn’t find the right words to answer.
After a moment of silence, Kai sighed – he stood up and approached Kei with light, feather-like steps, and stopped right in front of him: “Are you worried?”
“…There’s no way I’m worried, I’m only chased by the whole country,” Kei replied, trying to mask his fear with his usual cynicism. It doesn’t seem like it worked well, seeing Kai’s doubtful expression. Once again, the room fell silent.
Suddenly, the already-dark room turned pitch black. Unable to process what’s happening at the moment, Kei stiffened.
“We’ll get away from here,” Kai’s soothing voice, “And then we’ll live together without needing to care about anything anymore.””
Just then Kei realized that he was getting embraced by Kai, quite tightly at that. Kei wasn’t sure how to react, but getting embraced like this made him notice a lot of things: Kai’s warmth, Kai’s fragrance – he smelled like the sun, perhaps because he’s used to go out on sunny days – and Kai’s wide shoulders. Since when did Kai grow up into a strong and reliable person?
Kei dug his face in Kai’s chest, and returned the embrace with both of his arms. Kai seemed surprised at first: he flinched, but instead of loosening his arms, Kai tightened the embrace.
Kei never felt so safe.
It’s almost laughable how a heartless demi-human like Nagai Kei cares so much about a mere human. To have such a deep feeling just wasn’t one of his characteristics. If Nakano could see the inside of his mind right now, he’d probably take a few steps back – just to be safe – and laugh at him. Just thinking about it irritates Kei to no end.
Kei sighed. Every night he spent without Kai beside him felt so long, so lonely.
Now that he’d lost his sun, everything’s pitch black – he could feel warmth no more.
If only he could turn back time…
If only… he could turn back time?
Kei laughed at his own foolishness. It was very unlike himself to be so emotional, so sentimental. After all, he still has to end his fight with Satou – to finish everything once and for all.
“You’d only realize what true love means when you lost it.”
Someone said that to him long ago. And now, only now did he think that that might be true, after all.
Chapter 2: summer, ice cream
A newbie doctor Nagai Kei shares ice cream with his "cool" construction worker childhood friend.
That was the only thing Nagai Kei, a newbie yet skillful doctor could think of as he walked through the hospital’s garden with a patient’s carte in hand. If he could, he would’ve stayed inside where air conditioners are always on twenty four-seven, but alas he had a certain matter to attend to earlier.
As he heard construction sounds, curiously he looked towards his right, where the site was. Indeed, the hospital is currently undergoing some renovations – at times, it’s so noisy Kei couldn’t concentrate at all.
Hearing someone calling him, Kei immediately turned around, only to see his childhood friend Kaito bringing a plastic bag full of what seemed to be ice cream.
Kei greeted back, as he looked at the plastic bag – Ah, an ice cream would be nice in this heat.
As he thought so, he stole a glance at Kai’s attire: he was wearing an orange construction worker’s uniform, with the upper part a bit loose that Kei could see the white shirt underneath it. The sleeves were also rolled up high, probably because of the heat. Sweat ran through Kai’s arms. It might just be him, but Kei thought Kai looked somewhat cool…
No, no, this is not the time for that.
Kei shook his head lightly to erase the thought.
Suddenly, came Kai’s worried voice.
“No,” Kei immediately answered, “Nothing’s wrong.”
Kai looked a bit unconvinced at first, but immediately he looked at Kei in realization, “Ah, did you want one of these?”
He swayed the plastic bag full of ice cream lightly.
Kei was about to say “no”, but he was a bit too late as Kai have already offered him one.
“You liked vanilla, right?”
He said, as he grinned.
Kei couldn’t find the words to turn him down.
“But is it okay? Aren’t these for your colleagues?” Kei asked, “There’s no way that all of those are for yourself, right?”
“It’s fine,” Kai dismissed lightly, “I’ll go and deliver the rest to the uncles, so wait here, okay?”
Let’s eat together, he added cheerfully.
It was Kei’s break time anyway, it should be fine.
“So, how’s work?” Kai asked, as the two of them ate ice cream together, sitting side by side on one of the hospital’s benches in the garden.
“It’s normal,” Kei replied curtly, “But I do think it’s not that appropriate for me to lounge here and eat ice cream like this.”
Kai asked again, his face contorted with confusion.
“It seemed a bit unsightly for a doctor.”
“…Does being a doctor make you less a human?”
Kei wordlessly looked at Kai.
Kai looked back at Kei.
“Stupid Kai,” Kei whispered softly, “Even though you know…”
…that I’m not even a human.
Chapter 3: summer, injury
Medical intern Kei and construction worker Kai shares a hot afternoon together.
Kei groaned as he walked through the hospital’s backyard garden. It was hot, incredibly so, as it was July, in the midst of summer. Add to that a medical intern’s never-ending working hours and severe stress, and there you go: a half-dead, human-zombie like Kei. If only he could, he’d stay inside the heavenly air-conditioned office, but one of the senior doctors had order-- ahem, requested of him to do something that required him to go out.
“And to think I still have another five months of internship…” Kei inwardly sighed as he imagined how hellish his summer days are going to be at this rate. “If only--”
His train of thought was cut short by the painful sound of someone falling down a few meters in front of him. It took him less than a second to recognize the blond, spiky hair and yellow smiley piercing as Kai’s - one of the construction worker working on the hospital’s new building, whom he had gotten the chance to know quite well from their past encounters.
Kei immediately quickened his pace towards Kai, who was already standing on his feet as if nothing happened.
Kai’s expression clearly turned brighter as he noticed Kei. He was about to walk back to the construction site, but that could wait.
“Are you alright?” Kei asked. It was hard to notice, but he certainly sound and look like he’s worried.
“I’m fine, more importantly, Kei--”
“What are you saying?” Kei interrupted Kai’s speech in a voice higher than before, and pointed at Kai’s right elbow: “You’re bleeding!”
Instinctively, Kai turned to look at his right elbow: indeed, it was bleeding, but it wasn’t much - at least according to Kai himself. But apparently, for Kei, it is a huge deal as he started fussing over Kai’s carelessness when it comes to his own body.
“It’s nothing, Kei--”
“What do you mean it’s nothing? You’re clearly hurt, and that’s a lot of blood,” Kei interrupted once again, “I’ll go get some antibiotic ointment - you go clean the wound. There’s a tap over there - I’ll come again real quick.”
Kei spoke in a speed so fast - it was the first time Kai saw him panicking: to think that his panic will be over a small cut like this... it was very unfitting for the cold, calm, and calculating intern.
Kai couldn’t help but to let a small smile creep to his lips, as his eyes followed the back of the young doctor running towards the hospital building. Aah, how lovely, how precious.
After Kei’s form disappeared from view, Kai walked towards the tap in light steps.
“How did you even fall down there?” Kei grumbled as he treated Kai’s wound, “There’s nothing there.”
Kai kept his silence as he stared at Kei’s slender, skillful fingers.
“There you go, all done.” Kei said, as he patted softly the bandage on Kai’s elbow. A storm of emotions swirled on his eyes as he turned to look at Kai in the eye, his hand still touching Kai’s elbow. “Hey, Kai--”
Suddenly, his sight was filled with Kai - before he could even react, something rough touched his lips, and in a mere moment it was gone.
“Thanks, see you later, Kei,” Kai, satisfied, smiled brightly, as he stood up and walked back towards the construction site, his steps as light as a feather.
Kei could only look at the retiring form of Kai in surprise.
Stupid Kai, now it feels even hotter than before…!!