by samuraiheart
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me and are the property of their respective owners.
Warning: Shinobu and Mitsuru shounen-ai

White Day Forecast: Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Tears

The sun shone brightly through the kitchen window as Mitsuru came down the stairs in the morning. He could hear the sounds of the city outside his window. The world was awake and ready for another busy day. He turned on the television to find out what the day's weather would be like. He listened to the weatherman half-heartedly as he pulled two ceramic cups from the cabinet and poured coffee into each of them. He set them opposite of each other on the dining room table and sat down to read the morning paper. He sipped the hot liquid slowly and scanned the headlines. Another bank robbery downtown. The five-year anniversary of the new theatre. Trouble for the prime minister.

Mitsuru paused for a moment and pulled the newspaper down so that he could see the empty seat in front of him. The other steaming cup of coffee seemed to stare back at him mockingly. He sighed and set the paper out of the way as he walked over to the cup and picked it up. He poured the liquid in the sink and rinsed out the cup before he placed it back into the cabinet.

He shook his head. It had been a long time since he had done that. Mitsuru returned to his seat and tried to concentrate on the news story in front of him as he finished his coffee. After a few minutes he grabbed his briefcase and pulled on his long black coat. It was supposed to be cold today. He buttoned it tightly and walked out the door without looking back.

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Mitsuru smiled at his coworkers as he entered the office. They smiled back hesitantly and he wondered vaguely if there was something wrong.

In his office, he sat down at his desk and looked over the day's schedule. His heart beat faster in his chest as his eyes caught a glimpse of the date. March 14. Today is March 14th. He took a deep breath and set down the stack of papers. That would explain the looks. He held on to the desk in front of him with both hands to steady himself. He tried to tell himself that everything would be okay. He would get through this day just like any other. He smiled a little too brightly at his secretary as she walked in.

"Good morning, Ikeda-san." She said warmly, but Mitsuru could see the sympathy in her eyes. He was glad she understood. "How are you, today?"

"Good morning, Sato-san. I'm okay. How are you?" He didn't look at her as he answered. He straightened some papers on his desk and sat down.

"I'm fine. Will you be needing this afternoon off, Ikeda-san?" she said hesitantly.

Mitsuru looked up at her with wide violet eyes. He nodded solemnly. She remembered. He was glad because he didn't want to have to explain it again. "Hai, Sato-san. Arigatou." He thought about adding something humorous about giving her an opportunity to sneak out early, but he couldn't quite get the words out. The light-hearted tone wouldn't have matched his mood.

She looked over at him again and smiled kindly. "You have an appointment with the sales consultant in half an hour. The papers are in the folder on your desk. I'll let you know when she gets here."

Mitsuru nodded and picked up the manila folder to indicate that he would be fine. He started to leaf through the papers as she closed the door. He could get through this. It was only a few more hours.

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The day passed uneventfully. Mitsuru stayed in his office most of the day and his coworkers kept their distance. They couldn't possibly understand what he was going through, but they knew that he wanted to be alone. He always did on this day. Every year was the same.

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Mitsuru gathered his things and pulled on his jacket again. It was time to go. He walked out of the office and avoided the concerned gazes of his coworkers.

As he stood to wait for the elevator, he felt a hand on his shoulder. One of his good friends smiled up at him. Her husband stood a few steps behind her.

"Ikeda-san, would you like to join us for dinner tonight? We'd be happy to have you." Her smile was filled with genuine concern. She had known Mitsuru for a long time.

Mitsuru shook his head and smiled, but he couldn't hide the sadness in his eyes. "No, but thank you." He walked into the elevator as the doors opened. He turned back to his friends as he pushed the button for the first floor. "Tonight is a special night. You should spend it with the one you love." His voice cracked on the last words and he hoped they didn't notice.

She smiled and nodded as the door closed and the elevator headed down. Mitsuru was grateful to his friends, but he just wanted to be alone tonight. There were things that he had to take care of. Maybe some other time.

Mitsuru walked down the street quickly. It wasn't far to his home. The wind blew harshly and swept his golden brown bangs away from his face and the ends of his jacket behind him as he passed people on the busy city streets. He didn't look at them too closely. He knew what he would see if he did. Happiness. Love. Young couples arm in arm enjoying the sunshine.

He shivered again and pulled his jacket close to him. He knew it wouldn't help. It wasn't the weather that made him cold.

Mitsuru paused in front of the chocolate shop. He smirked at the scene before him. It was the same every year. Many people waited until the last minute. There was a long line of businessmen checking their watches and peering up at the counter to make sure that there was enough chocolate left.

Mitsuru walked inside and stood towards the back until one of the salesgirls looked up at him and nodded. She walked over to him carrying a small paper sack. She smiled at him sadly as he searched his wallet for the correct change.

"Here you are, Ikeda-san."

"Arigatou, Michiyo-san." Mitsuru took the package with shaking hands.

The salesperson squeezed his hand gently and looked at him sincerely. "How are you doing?"

Mitsuru looked down at the floor. How many times had he been asked that today? A long list of automatic responses came to mind, but somehow he knew that it wouldn't matter. Anyone who knew him would see right through them. He decided to avoid the subject instead. "I guess you've been busy today." Mitsuru said softly and gestured towards the crowd. He laughed uneasily. "Everyone seems to wait until it's almost too late." He shook his head and closed his eyes. Too late. Not now. He couldn't think about that now.

The saleswoman patted him on the back and walked back towards the counter. She waved at him as he turned to go.

Mitsuru stared straight ahead as he made his way down the street again. He clenched the small paper sack tightly in his left hand and walked swiftly to his next destination. The sign in front of the flower shop seemed vivid and lively compared to the emptiness he felt inside. "BUY FLOWERS FOR WHITE DAY" it said in bright pink letters.

Mitsuru bit his lip as he felt his eyes sting with tears. He would not cry. Shinobu would never have wanted to make him cry. He pushed the door to the shop open and walked inside with determination.

The florist greeted him pleasantly and went to get the flowers he had ordered. She must have been new to this. She didn't seem to know who Mitsuru was as she handed him the flowers and wished him a happy White Day. He winced a little at her cheerfulness, but he appreciated it. Sometimes it was just easier to pretend that there was nothing wrong.

Mitsuru glanced down at the bouquet of violets. Shinobu always used to love them. He said they matched Mitsuru's eyes. He could still hear that voice and those words. With a little effort, he could even convince himself that Shinobu was waiting at home for him. Those thoughts were dangerous though and he tried to avoid them. They only made things worse. They only made the situation harder to accept than it already was.

Mitsuru pushed the thoughts out of his mind and tried to focus on the present as he approached the end of his journey. He clutched his two packages close to himself as he swung open the gate and walked slowly down the cemetery path. He paused in front of a small stone near the back wall and knelt beside it. His eyes focused on the name inscribed there. "Tezuka Shinobu" and the final date "March 14". Mitsuru set down the packages and ran his hand over the smooth, cold surface.

"Why?" he whispered solemnly as tears streamed down his cheeks. He couldn't hold them back any longer. He missed Shinobu so much. After twelve years, it still hurt just as much as that first night. Sobs wracked Mitsuru's body as he bent closer to the grave stone. After a few minutes he pulled the chocolate out of it's sack and placed it on top of the headstone and laid the violets in front of the grave.

He knew Shinobu would laugh at this sentimentality. He wasn't the kind of person who did things like this. They had never needed a holiday to show their love for each other. It was in the way they looked at each other everyday and the things that they did for one another. It was in the way that they lived.

Mitsuru reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a faded piece of paper. He looked down at the card and shook his head. He straightened it against his knees so that it would lay flat. The words were faded and the paper was wrinkled. It was getting harder and harder to read the words written in blue ink.

He had done this so many times before. Every year since that night. Mitsuru bit his lip and read the words of the letter one more time. He still didn't understand. Shinobu had been driving home from work. He had stopped to buy this card and some chocolate for White Day. It was the last thing he did. It wasn't like him at all to show such open affection.

Mitsuru shook his head. He didn't want to think about that night. He didn't want to remember the phone call from the police saying there had been an accident. They said he died quickly and he didn't suffer. Mitsuru took a deep breath and his hands shook as he held the note closer to him and read the words one more time. "Happy White Day, Mitsuru. I love you so much. I don't know what I'd ever do without you. Thank you so much for everything. I just wanted you to know. Love, Shinobu."

Mitsuru let go of the card and let it fall from his grasp. The wind blew it up against the stone in front of him and Mitsuru brought his hands up to his face and closed his eyes as the tears began to fall again. He wished Shinobu were here to comfort him. He would trade anything to feel those strong arms wrap around him again or to see that tender smile as he walked in the door.

With the last sob, he shook his head and shivered as he looked around the cemetery. There was no one else there. He felt so alone. It was getting dark and the weather was turning colder. Gray clouds had started to fill the sky and the sun was setting in the distance.

Mitsuru picked up the card and put it back in his pocket. He arranged the flowers carefully and set the small chocolate heart beside them. "Happy White Day, Shinobu." He whispered and then stood to go. There was so much more that he wanted to say, but the words just wouldn't come. He hoped that Shinobu knew. He hoped that Shinobu understood.

As he walked back down the path and out of the cemetery, the rain began to fall. Mitsuru ignored the raindrops that splattered his face and clothes. They only helped to hide the tears.

~Owari~

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