Rating: PG-13 (language and implied sexuality)
Summary: When Miya wakes up one day with no recollection of who he is, all he wants is to recover his memory – but soon he realizes that some things were better forgotten.
Notes: PLEASE READ THIS. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. ♥ For those who know me from Hot 'n' Cold (or Kinjiki, hahahaha), this is very different, but this story means a lot to me. I don't want to ~spoil~ it, so the rest of my notes are at the end of the chapter.
He has no idea where he is when he comes to, and only afterward does he realize that he has no idea who he is, either. That thought doesn't bring the wave of terror he would've expected, though, and he stays there, lying on his back for a few minutes. He stares at the white ceiling, then at the white curtains by the side of his bed, and, after turning his head the other way, at the woman – dressed in white – standing near the door. He tries to remember something, anything even, but his mind is blank.
The nurse looks up from her file to smile at him when he sits up on the small bed. There's the strange sensation of something moving under his skin, and he has to take a deep breath when he looks down to see an IV needle planted into his hand. "How do you feel?"
"What hospital is this?" he hears himself ask, ignoring her question. His own voice is completely alien to himself, and the sound of it echoing in his head is unsettling.
"Ohkubo Hospital," she answers. "You were brought here a few hours ago."
His first thought at the mention of the hospital is that he's hurt himself, but he's obviously not injured or even in pain. He almost asks why he's there, but then the answer becomes obvious – and he feels a first tinge of fright creep up on him at the thought.
It must show on his face because she adds, "You will be fine, sir. The doctor should be here any minute now."
She's lying – he doesn't see how anyone could say that he'll be fine when he doesn't even remember his own name – but he still tries to return the smile, if only to be polite, and immediately gives up when he feels a corner of his mouth twitch nervously instead.
His throat is so dry he doesn't attempt asking any more questions. That's when he notices his personal effects on the small table next to him. He reaches for his wallet first, but the reflection of his hand on the shiny surface of his iPod catches his attention instead. He grabs the small, mirror-polished object and holds it in front of him.
It's like he's staring at a complete stranger. He's an average-looking guy, probably in his late twenties or so, sporting an ear adorned with silver jewelry, a bit of an overgrown haircut and a slight shadow on his upper lip. He tilts his head side to side and examines it for any wound or trauma that could explain the amnesia, but there's nothing of the sort. He looks perfectly healthy and sound.
He eventually brings himself to stop staring at his reflection and puts the iPod down on the table to pick up his wallet instead. He has to browse through different membership and point cards before finally locating his driver's license. It's indeed him on the picture. Yaguchi Masaaki, the card reads.
Knowing doesn't change a thing, he realizes, and he turns to the window. Even the season is news to him. It's either spring or summer – the sky is grey and heavy with rain, but the hospital grounds are bright green with freshly watered grass and lined with well-kept rows of yellow flowers. It suddenly occurs to him that he doesn't remember what the current year is.
He's about to lie back down when his mobile phone starts vibrating. He flips it open after a moment of hesitation and reads "wtf are u doing? im waiting" on the small screen. He has no idea who the sender is – he's not even sure how the characters on the caller ID are supposed to be read – or what their relationship is, but the mere fact that somebody is reaching out to him is a relief.
"im at ohkubo hospital," he types in reply. "can u come meet me?"
The sky is dark and the reflection of the hallway neons on the windows is blocking the outside view by the time Masaaki is finally allowed into his room again. He already couldn't stand it anymore after going through a questionnaire, blood tests and a scan of his brain, but then the doctors saw it fit to subject him to another questionnaire, a bunch of exercises and an electroencephalogram, just in case.
He's so exhausted he doesn't even care about the diagnosis anymore. All he wants is to sleep and not have to answer questions about colors or do word associations, and without needles in his arm or electrodes on his head or a giant magnet around him. He lets himself fall onto his bed, closing his eyes.
He's apparently dozed off, because he wakes up with a start when somebody knocks on the door.
"You have a visitor, sir."
There's a tall, long-haired man standing next to the nurse, and there's concern all over his face. Masaaki doesn't remember him, but it's obvious that they know each other.
"Who are you?" he asks without thinking, sitting up. A myriad of emotions flickers on the man's face before he finally settles for one of dark resignation, and Masaaki bites his lip at the sight. "You're the one I asked to come, right?" he adds in an attempt to soften the harshness of his first question.
"Yeah." The man sits down on the chair next to his bed, and extends a hand out to him. "Nice to meet you, Miya."
Masaaki feels like he should be upset by the fact that this guy has the nerve to joke now of all times, but the sadness in his eyes is such that he can't work up any anger. He somehow finds it in himself to smile at him and shake his hand, but he then tilts his head questioningly, confused by the name the man just used. "What did you call me?"
The ghost of a smile appears on the man's lips. "'Miya'. That's what you've been going by for years." He looks like he's about to add something else, but the nurse asks if he could please help her fill the admission form, and he complies graciously.
Miya sighs inaudibly, glad not to be the center of attention anymore. He was no one at first, then Masaaki, then Miya, and if his name is so confusing, he's in for quite a trip, he fears. He listens absentmindedly to the answers the man gives the nurse: he introduces himself as Iwakami Tatsuo, one of his hometown friends, and Masaaki learns that he was born in Ishioka, Ibaraki, has no family in Tokyo, and that the two of them share an apartment. He's a musician, apparently, and he chuckles despite himself at that – he really hadn't seen that one coming.
The nurse excuses herself shortly after, and the only sound in the room is that of her footsteps fading away. Miya opens the small plastic bag in which he had to put his personal effects before entering the MRI room earlier – a watch, some ear jewelry, a couple of rings, and a third one he'd been wearing on a chain around his neck – and silently inserts his metal plug back into his earlobe. Tatsuo leans in to take the small bottle of sedatives from the table, reads the label, and puts it back down without a word.
Miya is still mulling the words over in his head as he sits in the passenger seat of Tatsuo's car. All that he's retained from the doctors' explanation is that his brain basically decided to wipe itself clean. And for no apparent reason, if Tatsuo is to be believed when he said that there hasn't been any particularly traumatic incident to trigger it.
As hard as it is to believe, the doctor has concluded that stress is the cause and maintained that he's otherwise in perfect health. Miya figures he should be glad that his brain is not bleeding into itself or that he doesn't have a tumor the size of his fist, and he's certainly grateful for not having been sent to the loony bin, which he'd feared when the words "psychiatric disorder" had come up. He was told that he should recover his memory in a few days, weeks at most, prescribed lots of rest, and sent home without ceremony.
He's now virtually dependent on Tatsuo, which is terrifying in itself, but it's nothing compared to the thought that his head apparently has the power to reset itself on a whim. A million questions spring to his mind – about himself, his past, his family, his friends, his career – but he can't bring himself to ask any, even though the blanks he keeps drawing are almost unbearably scary.
"Tatsuo, what's the date?" he asks, not that knowing would change anything. He just needs to think about something inane for a moment.
"June 23," he answers. "And call me Tatsurou."
Miya nods absentmindedly. He watches the Tokyo cityscape scroll before his eyes in search for a familiar sight, but he might as well have never been there before. Soon, the streets and people and buildings are nothing but blurs of colors flicking through his field of vision, and questions start assaulting him again. "... Can you put some music on?"
He breathes a sigh of relief when Tatsurou pushes a disc in the car's CD player and the sound of acoustic guitar starts streaming out of the speakers. He's heard the song more than a hundred times, he knows it, but he can't remember the title.
He's asleep before the song ends.
As soon as Tatsurou opens the door of their apartment, a small dog runs up to them and lets out a couple of enthusiastic barks, tail wagging happily. He completely ignores Tatsurou, going straight up to Miya instead, and stands on his hind legs to scratch lightly at the front of his jeans.
"That's Gizmo, your dog. The cat's mine, though," Tatsurou explains as Miya bends down to rub the chihuahua behind the ears. "Better pick him up if you want him to shut up."
Miya obeys, cradling the small animal like a baby and earning himself several licks on the cheeks and nose. He manages to step out of his shoes before kicking the front door closed, and stops dead in his tracks when he sets his eyes on the living room.
He'd understood what Tatsurou said earlier about them being in a band together, but he hadn't expected that. There are guitars on stands on the floor and others hung on the walls, a turntable in a corner of the room, a high-quality stereophonic system in the other, and a couple of huge shelves filled with hundreds of CDs and records. The realization that his whole life resolves around music sinks in, and he feels a strange pressure in his chest as he tries to process the thought.
His disbelief must show because Tatsurou takes one look at him and chuckles. "Surprised?"
"... I wasn't expecting that," Miya simply says, petting Gizmo's fur to give himself some countenance.
"Musician, producer, engineer, and DJ in your spare time. It'll come back to you," he says, giving him an encouraging smile and a friendly slap on the back. "Shall I give you a tour?" he suggests, motioning ceremoniously towards the other rooms, and Miya feels himself smiling in spite of everything.
The following day is dedicated for the most part to the various objects they own. The guitars alone take almost an hour, as Miya has managed to collect a few dozens over the years – red guitars and black guitars and six- and seven-string and triangle-shaped guitars and acoustic and electric and bass guitars, and even a sanshin he got while they were on tour in Okinawa – and each seems to have its own story. He can't bring himself to try and play one just yet, and they move on to the DVD player, the Playstation 3, the laundry machine, and then the coffee maker.
"It usually won't work unless you hit it a few times," Tatsurou says with a sigh as they both stand in front of it. He's pressed the button a few times already and nothing's happened. His solution is to give the machine several hard slaps.
"Maybe it's time to get a new one?" Miya tries helpfully.
"That's what I keep telling you, but you always refuse," Tatsurou replies, snickering. Teto jumps onto the counter and starts slowly rubbing her face against the side of the machine. "Get off," he grumbles, waving the cat off the counter.
Miya chuckles as he watches Tatsurou give another round of slaps to the coffee maker, and a tiny red light finally goes on. He leans back against the counter, grinning at the prospect of coffee, while Teto rubs her body against his leg, purring loudly. His phone starts ringing then – he's carrying it around even though he has no one to call – and he takes it out of his pocket to read "mom" on the small screen. "I, uh, can you answer it?" he says, shoving it hurriedly in Tatsurou's hands.
Tatsurou frowns a bit at that, but flips the handheld open and presses it to his ear without protest. "Hello? ... Yes, it's me. Have you received my message?" He sits down at the table and Miya imitates him, listening to his side of the conversation. Tatsurou basically repeats what the doctors have told them the previous day, encouragingly pointing out his chances for recovery. There's a long silence then – Miya is certain that his mother is crying, and the soothing tone of voice Tatsurou adopts when he speaks up again only seems to confirm his thoughts. "He'll be fine, don't worry. I'm looking after him."
There are a few non-committal "mm"s, and then Tatsurou looks at him. "He's with me, yes," he starts, and Miya shakes his head emphatically. "Just a second, please." He presses his hand against the receiver and leans towards him. "You should really talk to her."
"I can't. I'm not ready," Miya answers truthfully. The thought of talking to his mother when he doesn't even remember her scares him out of his mind.
"I know it's hard, but you're her kid, Miya."
The next second, the phone is in his hands, and he somehow manages to bring it to his ear, his heart racing in anticipation. "Hello?" he says cautiously, not sure what to expect.
"Masaaki?" His mother is in tears, as he'd feared. "... How are you?"
He hesitates a bit. "I'm good. The doctors said that I should be fine soon," he says, mostly repeating what Tatsurou just told her. She doesn't say anything, so he continues. "They think it's just stress, and that I should recover pretty quickly. And Tatsurou's with me, so there's nothing to worry about."
"... You really don't remember anything?"
Miya sighs inaudibly. "I think it's a little too soon for that." He hears a muffled sob at the other end of the line, and he bites his bottom lip. "They said I should get lots of rest, and that I should be okay," he says, just to fill the silence.
"You're welcome home anytime, you know," she replies, obviously trying to control her voice. "Maybe the country would do you some good."
"You're probably right." There's an awkward silence. He doesn't want to commit to visiting her, and he can't think of anything else to say.
"I would love to see you again soon. It's been so long." He hears her sigh deeply, and he can guess what her train of thought was. "I'm sorry to put you through this. I'm really happy I could talk to you, though."
"No, no, don't worry. You can call me anytime, okay?" he says, hoping that she won't take him at his word. They exchange goodbyes and he finally hangs up before putting the phone down on the table. The conversation probably didn't even last a whole minute, but he feels completely drained.
Tatsurou's hand squeezes his shoulder comfortingly. "I think she really appreciated it," he says with an apologetic smile.
It's hard to decide where to start, but Miya eventually settles on exploring the CD shelves first. They contrast sharply with the mess that constitutes the rest of the apartment: the artists are neatly organized in alphabetical order and the releases are sorted chronologically. He pulls out a few random CDs to have a look at the cover or read the song listing, but what he's really looking for are his own albums.
He locates them without much difficulty, and then reads the titles on the side of the cases, hoping that one of them is going to ring a bell. Not a single one sounds even remotely familiar, though, so he takes them out one after the other to look at them individually. If anything, they have nice visual concepts, and he snorts when he realizes how ridiculous a thought that was. He finally grabs what seems to be their latest release, pops it into the stereo, and sits down on the couch with a few more of their albums.
Tatsurou appears in the doorframe not long after, visibly attracted by the music. "Discovering MUCC?" he asks with a grin, leaning against the wall.
"Just checking if it can help me remember anything."
"All right." He stays there for a minute, listening to the tribal drums of the introductory track. "I was gonna get cooking. How about curry?" he asks, chuckling when Miya mms appreciatively, engrossed in the detailed artwork of the booklet in his hands. "Have fun," he says, heading back.
"You too," Miya replies facetiously, and he hears Tatsurou laugh on his way back to the kitchen.
He goes back to skimming through the booklets one after the other, looking for the songs he's written. It's quite disheartening when he realizes that it pretty much feels like reading the work of a stranger. Worse, he can't help but be critical of it. Some songs are nice, but others border on ridiculous, and lines like The me that I always show to everyone is a stranger covered in lies and I have decided to just completely erase this unneeded existence of mine almost make him want to laugh considering the recent turn of events.
That's why he starts reading Tatsurou's lyrics as well. He can't help but being surprised when several of his lyrics hit him right in the chest, and soon, the ones he ends up skipping are his own. That is, until he sees his name next to Tatsurou's in the credits for the lyrics of a certain song, and the lines You fly about this broken world for loveless loving / How unfortunate that it had to rain seem to stir something within him.
He concentrates hard, trying desperately to catch the trail of the memory that just flickered across his mind. It's like it was right there within his reach, but after a long moment of staring intently at the lyrics, he has to resign himself to the fact that he's lost it. He throws the paper booklet on the coffee table with an exasperated sigh, and mumbles an apology when Gizmo raises his head from his cushion to throw a curious glance at him.
Miya then lifts his hips off the couch to reach into the back pocket of his jeans, but sits back down when he finds it empty, feeling confused and strangely embarrassed.
The sun is high in the sky the next day when he emerges from his bedroom. His eyelids still feel extremely heavy, and his empty stomach is the only reason he's even off his futon.
He finds Tatsurou playing a game on the Playstation 3 in the living room. "Good morning," he says jokingly, and a quick look at the wall clock indicates that Miya's slept well over twelve hours. "There's something for you in the kitchen," he adds before going back to his Gundam game.
"Thanks," Miya manages, recovering his voice after a couple of tries.
He heads to the kitchen and stops in his tracks – waiting for him on the table is a huge flower arrangement. He feels a smile curving his lips upwards and he walks in, tightening his hold on the bouquet of yellow and red gerberas in his hand.
"What are the flowers for, dear? I'm not dead yet."
"I figured you'd enjoy the color. White must be getting boring," Miya says with a sad smile, setting the bouquet on the windowsill before pulling a chair next to his grandmother's bed and sitting down. "Sorry I couldn't come sooner."
"Don't worry about it. I know you're a busy lad," she assures him, and Miya feels his heart breaking at that. Her voice is shaky, her enunciation difficult, and although her eyes still have the same intelligent glint as always, her face has lost its energy and even the slightest smile seems to require an astounding effort. "How was your trip to the United States?"
"It was great," Miya starts, trying not to stare at the oxygen cannula, "but I'm glad I'm back. I was seriously starting to miss Japanese food," he says, getting a quiet laugh out of her. He puts a hand above hers, feeling irrationally furious at the fact that no one saw it fit to tell him just how much her health had deteriorated while he was away, and takes the big card tucked carefully between the stems of two daisies.
It's filled with messages and drawings, but at the exception of Tatsurou's, he doesn't recognize any of the names. He does read everything diligently, however, and by the time he gets to a "you better remember me and FAST" signed by a certain Satochi, he's grinning like an idiot.
At Miya's request, Tatsurou digs out a photo album so that Miya can see the faces of the people who signed his card. The association between the mental image he holds of himself and the face he sees in the mirror and on pictures is becoming more natural, although he still finds it weird to see himself posing with so many people he feels like he's never met and in so many places where he feels like he's never been.
He sees their manager giving him a piggyback ride in Paris, himself next to some American guitarist whose name he forgot, at a metal music festival in Sweden, taking a dip in a Kyushu hot spring with the rest of the band, and eating in an izakaya with his friends. Tatsurou has a story to tell with almost every picture, and Miya simply doesn't get tired of listening to him, whether it's about Yukke throwing up on a mutual friend at a party or the four of them running into a wild boar after getting lost somewhere near Naha.
He can't help but feel disappointed when they reach the end of the album. "Do you have more?" he asks, hopeful, and Tatsurou promptly disappears into his bedroom, only to come back instants later with a cardboard box in his arms.
"Let's see," Tatsurou says, putting the box down on the table before taking off the lid, and Miya feels like a kid in a candy store. It's filled with cards and pictures and albums, letters from fans and ex-girlfriends, touristic fliers from countries they've visited, souvenirs and maps.
"... Shit, that's me?!" Miya exclaims when he realizes he's been staring at his own graduation picture for a moment now.
Tatsurou leans in to have a look at the picture and laughs. "Believe me, it's worlds better than mine," he says. "Hey, listen to this. 'Dear Yaguchi-kun,'" he starts, holding a letter, and moves away when Miya tries to have a look at its contents, "'I know we were never really close friends at school, but when I saw you yesterday at the concert, you literally stole my heart.'" He snorts loudly. "'When your eyes found mine instead of all the other girls', my heart felt like it was going to explode.'" Tatsurou puts down the letter, smirking. "Why the hell did you keep that?"
"I don't know," Miya replies embarrassedly, but then bursts into a howl of laughter when he finds the picture of a young Tatsurou, his head completely shaven at the exception of a handful of blond hair at the top of his skull. "You look like a pineapple!" he exclaims without thinking, earning himself a solid slap behind the head.
"Like you're one to talk! You've had much worse!"
Miya mumbles something in reply and they both continue to browse the contents of the box in silence until he pulls a videotape out of it. "'Wedding ceremony'," he reads on the label. "Whose was it?"
"Hometown friends'. Wanna watch it?"
He nods, intrigued at the idea of seeing his friends – and most importantly himself – in action. They watch the entrance of the bride and skip most of the ceremony until they reach footage of the reception. There's a band playing, and it takes Miya a little while before he realizes that it's him on the guitar. They watch the band perform a couple of songs before Tatsurou grabs the remote to skip past the dances and dinner and to a series of messages recorded by the attendees. Miya recognizes some of the people he's seen on pictures earlier.
Then he's on screen again, trying to wish the newlyweds a happy future when Tatsurou barges into the frame and throws an arm around his shoulders before reeling off something stupid, obviously drunk off his ass. Miya can't help but laugh at the look of resignation that's plastered on his own face, but when he turns to look at Tatsurou, he notices that his eyes are filled with tears.
The highlight of Miya's exploration of his bedroom closet is locating a few packs of cigarettes on the highest shelf, so perfectly just out of his reach that he figures Tatsurou must have tried to pull a bad joke on him. He grabs the one pack that's already been opened and smoked halfway through, and jumps off the computer chair before sitting down on it while he fumbles to take a cigarette out of the small cardboard box. He's just inserted the thin stick between his lips when he realizes he's left the lighter up there. He emits a low noise of discontentment and climbs on the chair again.
He decides it's worth the hassle, though, when he breathes in a first, long drag of smoke and holds it in his lungs for a few seconds before slowly blowing it out through his nose. It feels like it's been forever since he's last had a cigarette, and for all he knows, it might just be.
The cigarette is almost completely burnt out before he even realizes it. He really doesn't feel like rummaging through the whole place again to start looking for an ashtray, so he just stretches his arm out the open window, puts the cigarette out by scratching it against the brick wall outside and flicks it down the fourteen stories of the apartment building. He sits back idly for a long moment, simply enjoying the taste of smoky peppermint lingering in his mouth.
When he can't taste it anymore, he reaches for the pack and fishes another cigarette out of it.
Tatsurou is probably on the phone because Miya can hear him talking in the living room when he comes out of the bathroom, freshly showered and bathed. He catches a few key words without really meaning to ("doctors said" and "doesn't remember anything", among other things), and he walks up to the couch where Tatsurou is sitting to listen in despite his dripping hair and the towel still around his waist.
"Well, they did say it could take a few weeks," Tatsurou tells his interlocutor, giving Miya a smile when their eyes meet. "... Yeah... Nah, sorry, he's sleeping right now," he says, and Miya is relieved he doesn't have to talk to whoever it is on the line this time. Tatsurou doesn't say much more before hanging up a few moments later and putting his mobile phone down on the coffee table. "It was Maeda."
"Oh," Miya simply says, pausing for a second before finally making the connection between the name and their manager. "Is there any problem?"
"Not really. We're on extended vacation until you recover. They want to release an official statement saying that you're recovering from an illness or something to notify the fans."
"Sounds good," Miya says, in truth rather unconcerned by the alien concept that "the fans" represent.
The corners of Tatsurou's lips curl up so lightly Miya's not even sure he's actually smiling. "Have you tried playing the guitar again?" he asks, crossing his arms behind his head after lying down across the couch.
"No." Miya shrugs a bit, staring down at Tatsurou's bare feet. He's terrified he won't remember how to, and he's been avoiding his instruments for that reason. He's just about to turn around and leave when Tatsurou stops him with a firm "wait" and Miya sees him sit up in his peripheral vision. "What?"
"... You lost your necklace?" he asks, pointing to his own throat.
"My necklace?" Miya feels himself confusedly, even though he knows perfectly well he's not wearing anything around his neck. "I must've forgotten it at the hospital," he says, remembering the MRI room, the nurse asking him to remove his jewelry and the little plastic bag in which he dropped it all.
Tatsurou frowns, looking strangely bothered. "Damn. That'd really suck if you lost it."
Not really, Miya thinks to himself, but he instead promises Tatsurou that he will call the hospital, then heads to his bedroom.
The first thing Miya notices when he steps into the kitchen the next day is the bright red coffee maker sitting proudly on the counter. He's definitely relieved at the sight – the amount of effort required to get a mere cup of coffee out of its predecessor was a bit much, and he's glad he doesn't have to deal with it anymore. He makes a mental note to thank Tatsurou and get him something nice in exchange.
Miya finds the instruction booklet in front of the machine with a "hope that will do" written in pencil on it, complete with an eerily accurate cartoon self-portrait. He skims through the instructions rapidly before concluding that he doesn't need them, and goes to browse the different sorts of coffee that are stored in the cupboard. He finally elects the Mocha-Java blend, opens the bag to take a whiff of the roasted smell and lets out a loud, contented sigh.
"You sure you don't want some? It's delicious," he asks when he hears the sound of Tatsurou's footsteps on the kitchen floor behind him.
"Nah, I'll steal a sip or something," he says, leaning over Miya's shoulder to smell the coffee beans before moving away and striking a pose. "New pants. What do you say?"
Miya looks him over and nods his head appreciatively. "You look tall."
"That doesn't mean anything coming from you," Tatsurou teases, then laughs when Miya starts slapping the top of the coffee maker frantically. "They're on sale at Seiyu. I can pick one up tonight when I come back from work."
"It's okay," Miya replies, giving it another hard slap. "You gave it to me."
"I know that. It's still pathetic to watch you beat the hell out of it every day."
Miya mumbles something under his breath in reply and the indicator on the front of the machine finally lights up. "See? It's just a little slow."
Tatsurou flops down onto one of the chairs, shaking his head in disbelief. "Just like you, eh?" he says tauntingly, leaning down to pet Teto's head while Miya puts the coffee back on the counter. He leans against it for a long moment, and finally opts for putting the small foil bag back into the cupboard.
It's the buzz of his vibrating phone that wakes him up this time. He doesn't bother coming out from under the covers, but he's much more awake than he'd like to be, and he finally slips a hand out to grab the handset. He's apparently slept through two calls and he has just as many new voice messages, so he lies back down with the handheld pressed against his ear, closing his eyes as it connects to his answering machine.
Hello, Mr. Yaguchi, this is Maeshima from Ohkubo Hospital. We've found the lost objects that you reported. ... A watch, two rings and a chain. Please ask for security at the front desk when you come pick them up. You may reach us at 03-3435-3111. Have a nice day.
Miya makes a mental note to call back and presses a couple of keys to access the second message. The voice – male, this time – is, again, unfamiliar. The name is instantly recognizable, though.
Hey, Guccha, it's Yukke. I, um, I hope you liked the flowers. Anyway... I know it must be a little weird, but I guess I'd just like to know if you're doing okay. ... I mean, Tatsurou said you are, but it'd be nice to actually hear you say it. So just give me a call or something if you feel like it. I'd really like to talk to you. ... Take care.
Miya listens to the whole option menu a first time, and he's apparently taking so much time deciding what to do that the automated voice starts reciting the different choices once again. He ends up pressing 4 to delete the message and puts the phone back on its spot before covering himself with his blanket.
Sleep is not going to come back to him that easily, though, and without thinking, he finds himself reaching for the handset again.
Yukke is there less than an hour later, and he somehow manages to pull Miya into a tight hug despite the two large Starbucks cups he's carrying. As glad as Miya is to have some company other than Tatsurou, he's not too sure what to do with himself at first, especially considering how obvious it is that Yukke cares.
Holding a conversation with him proves to be astoundingly easy, however, and Miya is almost finished with his Frappucino when they start to run out of things to talk about. He's finally the one to bring up the topic of his memory loss.
"I didn't even think that could happen," Yukke says pensively, sipping on his mango smoothie. "I thought you had an accident or something."
"It could be some sort of defense mechanism, apparently." Miya shrugs. "I don't know, though."
Yukke licks his lips and puts down his plastic cup. "Are you starting to remember things?"
"Yes and no. Sometimes Tatsurou talks about stuff and it rings a bell, or things kind of bring back memories, but it's still very vague." He shrugs one shoulder, sighing. "Sometimes I'm scared my mind is just making things up, and I don't want to bug Tatsurou every time I think I've remembered something."
Yukke gives him a comforting smile. "It's not like he'd mind, though."
"I guess so." Miya takes the now empty cups and throws them out before reaching for his pack and pulling two cigarettes out. "He's already doing too much for me, though. I mean, he's even walking the dog, for Christ's sake."
"Thanks," Yukke says as Miya lights both of their cigarettes, but he then raises a bewildered brow at him. "... Wait. You mean you've been staying inside all this time?"
"Basically, yeah," he replies after slowly exhaling a first puff of smoke.
Yukke imitates him, but not before having shaken his head disbelievingly. "That's not good. What do you do all day?"
"... I sit around, I guess." It's pretty much the truth, too. He's played Tatsurou's games, taken naps, browsed websites, listened to music and watched movies, and besides Tatsurou's I'm homes when he comes back from work in the evening, there's not much to remind him that time is still streaming by as usual outside of their apartment.
"That's definitely not good," Yukke says, getting to his feet. "We're going for a walk."
Miya gestures negatively. "Nah, it's okay. I've been going out on the balcony and stuff," he tries desperately, only earning himself a loud snort.
"Very funny. I said we're going for a walk," Yukke insists, motioning for him to follow as he walks resolutely to the front door. Miya follows half-heartedly, but then he remembers the jewelry waiting for him at the hospital, and he figures he might as well kill two birds with one stone.
Walking around the neighborhood with Yukke does make Miya a little more self-confident. Some streets and buildings were even somewhat familiar, and it's a good thing that he's located the nearest convenience store before running out of cigarettes.
He even finds it within himself to tell Tatsurou that he will be walking Gizmo from now on. Tatsurou does offer to go with him, but Miya needs the time to himself, and besides, he figures he can't really get lost in the neighborhood where he's lived for the past three years. Tatsurou finally lets him go with a bit of a worried frown.
Gizmo obviously knows the way, though – he takes the lead and turns at certain corners without hesitation, and Miya follows indulgently while still paying close attention to the turns they're taking. The air is heavy, the kind that sticks to the skin and makes it hard to breathe, but Miya is in much too high spirits to let it bother him, and he simply enjoys the calm afternoon void of noises and people.
It becomes clear why there's no one on the street when he takes out his iPod from his pocket only to see a big drop of rain land on the small screen. It's soon followed by a second and then a third, and the rain turns into a heavy shower in a matter of seconds.
"Just our luck, eh?" he tells Gizmo as the little dog throws a couple of nervous glances around.
It's not exactly unpleasant, though – the summer is so suffocating it's actually a welcome relief from the heat, and Miya figures that the rain will make the humidity more bearable. Gizmo is actually more affected by the downpour than he is, and Miya takes him in his arms to carry him as he continues to walk down the street. The convenience store isn't that far, but it's obvious he's not going to make it there without getting every inch of himself covered in rain, so he decides against hurrying.
He gasps when the stream of cold water runs through his hair, down his face and neck and along his body, making his clothes stick to his skin and goosebumps appear on his arms. "Who came up with this stupid idea again?" he grumbles, wet from head to toe.
"That'd be you, I believe," Tatsurou says with a smirk, now holding the hose to his side and letting the water run onto the grass instead. "I'll take this over mud or dust any day, though."
"True," Miya grants at the not-so-pleasant memories of past shoots they've gone through. Water indeed doesn't seem so bad in retrospect, but it's still a little too cold for it to be pleasant in any way. "Let's go," he says when he hears the director's voice calling for them.
"Wait." Tatsurou steps closer to brush a few stray strands of hair away from Miya's forehead. He can't help but chuckle at Tatsurou's focused expression, but then his eyes look down into his, and the intensity of his gaze is such that the hair rises on his arms again. Tatsurou's hand slides gently into his wet hair, and what feels like bolts of electricity run through his body from the spot behind his ear where Tatsurou's fingertips linger down to the nails of his toes. "Much better," he murmurs, and Miya watches a single drop of water run along the curve of his cheek like a tear.
He's considering kissing him right on the spot despite the filming crew waiting only a few meters away – when Tatsurou suddenly raises the still running hose to splash water right into Miya's face. His own surprised yelp and Tatsurou's laughter reach his ears at the same time, and Miya curses loudly as he wipes the water off his eyelids with his two hands.
Tatsurou drops the hose and runs away when Miya starts chasing after him, still laughing hard. "That's what you get for your stupid video ideas!"
The rain has long stopped when Miya finally makes it back home. He and Gizmo respectively earn themselves exclamations of concern and protest from Tatsurou when they both come in dripping wet, Miya kicking off his soaked-through Chuck Taylors and Gizmo shaking the water off his fur, spraying the floor and television screen.
Miya does a convincing job of telling Tatsurou that he's all right – he even manages to sound amused about the whole thing – before heading straight to the bathroom, turning on the shower and staying under the spray for much, much longer than needed.
Notes: Amnesia is a theme I'd been wanting to use for a long time, but I couldn't come up with a way to tackle it until cranperryjuice linked me to a documentary about dissociative fugues. Not long afterward, one of my mom's colleagues actually came down with one such episode. While I've read that patients usually recover their memory with no recollection of the fugue episode, I went with a more gradual recovery since that what's my mother's colleague seems to have experienced, and well, it wouldn't have been anywhere near as poetic if Miya just woke up one day like nothing had happened. :D; Lyrics translations are from milkchoudai, and a lot of ideas for the flashbacks actually come from MUCC interviews.