by samuraiheart
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me and I am not making any money off of this so please don't sue me. If anyone wants to post this fic somewhere please ask me first. Thanks and I hope you enjoy this story.

Until Then + Part 2

Shinobu woke up early the next morning and got ready for class. He didn't really want to see Mitsuru this morning so he wanted to be able to leave almost as soon as he came back He'd have to come back to get new clothes. Just then he heard a soft knock at the door and a smile briefly crossed his lips as he opened the door for Mitsuru. Guilt tugged at his heart as he glanced over his best friend. Shinobu quickly left the room and shut the door behind him. He must really be taking this hard. Although Shinobu had to admit the boy was cute with his hair ruffled like that, the dark circles under his eyes and the clear look of pain on his face concerned him.

Mitsuru slowly got undressed and pulled on a clean uniform. He gathered his books and struggled with the last touch of his outfit – the tie. He always had trouble with it, but usually Shinobu was there to help. He bit his lip as he heard the door open. He turned to see Shinobu standing in front of the closed door.

"Good Morning." He said calmly trying not to meet Mitsuru's gaze.

Mitsuru let out a shaky breath. Why did he come back? Is he checking on me? Great... just what I need... Why doesn't he just leave me alone? he though to himself.

"Good morning." Mitsuru answered flatly.

Shinobu shuffled through some papers on his desk and pretended to find what he was looking for. He stuffed a blank sheet of paper into his bag before Mitsuru could see it. He didn't really need anything, but he wanted to make sure his friend was okay.

He stared at Mitsuru harshly as he struggled with the tie. Why does he do this to himself? Why would anyone love me? He should just forget about me – everything was so much simpler when we were just friends. Besides you promised yourself you would never tell him how you really felt – no matter what.
Shinobu reminded himself.

Mitsuru couldn't take much more of this. He knew Shinobu was looking at him and he was about to give up on the tie. He finally threw his hands down in defeat. He wanted to give in to the sadness that had enveloped his soul. He felt his knees give out from under him before he knew what was happening. He grabbed onto the desk in search of support and felt a gentle hand on his shoulder and another pulling him into the chair.

"Here, let me help you with that."

Shinobu leaned over Mitsuru carefully and tied the tie. For a few seconds they were so close. Shinobu's hair fell softly on Mitsuru's cheeks as he bent over to straighten the tie. Then he pulled away quickly as he realized how close they really were. He scolded himself for the mistake. He had already hurt Mitsuru so much – don't tease him. His heart ached as he saw the glisten in Mitsuru's eyes that meant he was on the verge of tears, but then he wiped them away and seemed to regain control.

"Let's go to class." He said quickly.

"Okay." Mitsuru nodded and stood to pick up his backpack. The two boys headed off to their respective classes and promised to meet for lunch like usual.

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The next evening Shinobu sat on his bed with a book trying to study for an upcoming test, but he couldn't get Mitsuru out of his mind. His friend had been so distant at lunch yesterday and today hadn't been much better. He had barely eaten and he hadn't even tried to steal any of Hasakawa's food.

He gathered his thoughts as the door opened and Mitsuru returned from band practice. Shinobu glanced down at his book hoping to avoid a confrontation with Mitsuru, but he looked up when he heard the boy climb into the top bunk. Shinobu leaned over and looked up to see what he was doing.

"Are you going to bed this early?"

Mitsuru rolled over to face the wall. "Leave me alone, Shinobu."

The icy words stung his heart, but not nearly as much as the occasional sniffle and soft sob he heard from above as he tried to study. He finally shut his book in defeat.

"We need to talk Mitsuru." He said suddenly surprising even himself.

Mitsuru turned over and glared at him making no attempt to hide the tears streaking down his cheeks. A knock on the door interrupted the moment. Mitsuru rolled over and pulled the cover over his head, grateful for the distraction. The last thing he wanted to do was talk. Shinobu glared at Hasakawa and Shun as he opened the door, but it didn't last. He smiled apologetically when they stepped back a bit.

"Are you two coming to dinner?"

"Sure. We'll be there in a minute."

"Okay."

Shinobu closed the door.

"Come on Mitsuru, lets go eat." No answer. Shinobu pulled the covers off of the bed and grabbed Mitsuru's arm. He pulled until the boy complied and got out of bed. Shinobu didn't let go of the boy's arm and Mitsuru followed resignedly as Shinobu led him to the bathroom. He gathered some paper towels and thrust them into Mitsuru's hands.

"Here, wipe your face unless you want to explain this to Hasakawa."

The words were harsh, but Mitsuru understood the sentiment. Sometimes despite everything he showed to the world, Shinobu really could be understanding. He was a good friend.

If only I didn't want him to be more, The words echoed in Mitsuru's thoughts as he tried to smile.

That gentle curving of lips was enough to make Shinobu's heart soar. He tried to ignore the sadness behind it and convince himself that everything would be all right. Now they just had to get through dinner.

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It was too quiet Shinobu decided. The four of them sat at the table in silence. Shun and Hasakawa were beginning to catch on – well at least Shun was and no one really knew what to say. Mitsuru didn't feel like saying anything. He could feel himself slipping slowly out of reality's grasp as thoughts of futility and hopelessness took over. He paid no particular attention to the food he put in his mouth.

He kept asking himself over and over Why?

Hasakawa and Shun darted each other concerned looks as Shinobu searched for something to break the silence. Finally, out of desperation he reached over and plucked a piece of fish from Hasakawa's bowl.

"If you're not going to do it Mitsuru, I will."

Hasakawa and Shun laughed nervously and looked at Mitsuru expectantly. Shinobu held the bit of fish in front of Mitsuru and nudged him. Mitsuru looked at his three friends and smiled halfheartedly. His eyes looked so empty. Shinobu began to panic. He didn't want to lose his best friend. He was sorry for everything that had happened, but this couldn't continue. He put his hands on Mitsuru's shoulders and shook him gently and then, when there was no response, a little harder. Mitsuru looked up at Shinobu with wide eyes.

"Snap out of it Mitsuru. Please."

Mitsuru looked down and let his bangs fall, concealing his eyes. His shoulders sagged. Shun pulled Shinobu's hands from Mitsuru's shoulders.

"I know you're trying Shinobu, but this isn't helping. I think we're all finished. Why don't we go back to our rooms?"

Hasakawa looked confused, but he picked up his and Mitsuru's trays and Shun got his and Shinobu's.

The four friends walked slowly out of the cafeteria ignoring the concerned looks of their classmates. Despite Mitsuru's insistence that he could make it on his own, Shinobu kept one arm placed carefully around Mitsuru's waist. His friend's unsteadiness worried him. Mitsuru grudgingly accepted his friend's support. He could see the door to his room only a few steps away. Then Shinobu would close the door and shut out the stares of the rest of the world. Just a few more steps. Hasakawa and Shun followed closely not really sure what was going on, but wanting to help. Mitsuru could feel the weight of the world and all of his emotions and it was too much. His vision was beginning to blur around the edges. He didn't know what was going on. He turned his head slightly to the left and shot Shinobu a panicked look. Shinobu barely had time to interpret it before Mitsuru's eyes closed and he collapsed onto the hard wood floor just outside the door to their room. Shinobu reached out to catch his friend, but it was too late. He stared helplessly for a few seconds at Mitsuru's fallen form before snapping into action. He quickly took control of the situation. A nagging feeling of panic and concern tugged at his thoughts, but he brushed it away as he turned towards his friends.

"Hasakawa, go get Kazuhiro. Shun, get some water. I'll get him to bed."

Shinobu put an arm under Mitsuru's back and lifted him to a sitting position up against the wall. When Shun came back, he placed the glass of water on the desk and helped Shinobu pull Mitsuru into the room. Without a second thought, Shinobu placed Mitsuru in his own bed and pulled the covers over him up to his shoulders. He was tired of hiding it and Shun smiled slightly as his suspicions were confirmed when Shinobu stroked Mitsuru's jaw line softly. Shinobu gazed at the peaceful look on Mitsuru's face and was thankful for this opportunity to admire him unnoticed. Then, realizing that Shun was still there, he pulled away quickly. Shun tilted his head slightly and stared at Shinobu in disbelief.

"You've never told him have you?"

Shinobu turned an icy glare on Shun, but gave it up with a simple "No."

"You know he loves you too."

"I know."

"Then why are you putting him through this?"

Shinobu opened his mouth to respond, but had no idea where to begin. Mitsuru was such a wonderful person. Shinobu didn't deserve the love of someone like that so he had pushed him away, but Mitsuru wouldn't give up and now... Shinobu glanced over at his bed. What have I done? he thought.

A few moments later Hasakawa came back with Kazuhiro right behind him. Kazuhiro headed towards the bed where Mitsuru was now resting.

"What happened?" he said turning to Shinobu.

Shinobu stepped back at the accusation. He paled slightly, but Shun stepped forward and answered for him.

"We were coming back from dinner and he just fainted."

"Hmmm."

Kazuhiro knelt beside the bed and checked for fever or any other symptoms that might explain this behavior, but he found none.

"Well, I can't find anything wrong with him. Have you noticed anything strange over the last couple of days?"

"Well..." Hasakawa began, but Shinobu had regained control by now and interrupted quickly.

"No... thanks, but I think he's just tired. Too much studying or something."

Kazuhiro raised an eyebrow. He knew he was being left out of something, but he decided not to pursue it. Whatever was wrong with Mitsuru didn't seem to be serious and he was pretty sure they could work it out on their own.

"Mitsuru studying too much? Maybe he is sick." Kazuhiro smiled and turned to leave. "Seriously though call me if he gets any worse."

"Okay. We will. Thanks."

Shun put a hand on Shinobu's shoulder, "Are you going to be okay?"

Shinobu nodded.

Hasakawa was starting to get angry. Why did everyone seem to know what was going on, but him?

"Guys, would someone please tell me what's going on? Why are you asking Shinobu if he's okay?"

Shun shot Hasukawa an exasperated look.

"If you need anything, we'll be right next door."

Shun pushed Hasakawa out the door and Shinobu could hear him protesting all the way back to their room. Shun poked his head back inside briefly. He looked straight at Shinobu and said firmly, "Tell him."

Shun shut the door and left the two friends alone.

[part 1] [part 3] [back to fan fiction]