Disclaimers: Don’t own ‘em, just wanted some company.
"What the hell are you so surprised about Ryo? Surly our great leader wasn’t so blind as to miss this coming," Touma was calm, but his voice was scornful.
"We’ve got better things to do than just hang around here. The wars are over; we have lives to get back to. Responsibilities waiting for us. People depending on us to do what we’re suppose to." Seiji’s expression was indifferent, but he spoke as if to a child.
"Why would we stay and impose further upon Nasty? She has duties and responsibilities too. She can’t keep paying for our expenses; she has enough work just to keep the manor. And she can’t really concentrate all that well on her research with us around." Shin was trying to be gentle, but his irritation was obvious in the undertone.
"We’re not exactly helping by staying. There’s no point. Like Seiji said, others are waiting for us back home, people we’re responsible for. With the wars over, there’s no point in us staying together. The yoroi’s nothing but trouble; if it stays together, it’ll attract trouble," Shu was reasonable, but he too was becoming angry.
Ryo, however, was extremely confused as to where this all had come from. The guys were all packed, and hadn’t been planning on telling him they were leaving. Just let him come back…home to find them gone. But…they don’t consider this home…. Nasty doesn’t mind us staying here, she’s said as much. Even dissuaded everybody from leaving at one point or another. And we are helping with rent….
"B-but, guys, when? I thought we were agreed to stay here, together. Why the sudden decision to leave?"
"Our families need us more than we’re needed here, Ryo. There’s no incentive to stay here. Why would we want to? Constant reminders? More induced nightmares? No thanks," Shu again responded, not bothering to hide his frustration with this delay.
"Look Ryo, get over it. We’re not staying; we are not a close-nit family type thing. Maybe Nasty doesn’t mind you staying, but we don’t want to anymore. We’ve had enough. We have enough problems with our own families, we don’t need another one. Stay in touch if you want…." Touma ridiculed.
Ryo was speechless. None of the others spoke against Touma’s words; their silence was assent, showing their agreement. Ryo felt something inside breaking, and knew, after those last words, the others knew it as well. And they didn’t give a damn, not anymore. They had families, friends of their own. Why should they care that Ryo was essentially loosing his fourth family? Even after they all swore to never break up the group.
Touma had trailed off, giving Ryo the impression that he’d rather not have him keep in touch; that he himself wouldn’t bother.
Ryo stayed silent, watching as they loaded their luggage in Shu’s family van. His expression was steadily going blank, not that the others cared. Or maybe they didn’t notice, since they didn’t bother looking at him. When they came back out of the manor for the last time, Ryo wasn’t standing there anymore.
He was headed for the lake. He heard the van take off, but didn’t look over his shoulder, didn’t watch his…former comrades leave without a good bye.
Sitting at the end of the dock, Ryo dangled his legs over the edge. He watched the late September sun set, and started shivering as the night grew colder. The lake was already near freezing, and without the sun’s warmth, the temperature dropped drastically. Not only was it not his element, but being in cut up jeans and an old white t-shirt didn’t help him either.
Not relishing the idea of freezing to death, he got up and started walking. Once off the deck, he didn’t leave the lake; he decided to walk along the bank. Not much really washed up, like on a beach bank, but occasionally you’d get lucky. Find some pretty stones, some smoothed to look like colored mirrors; or sharp fish scales, either torn from the fish, or still on the dead fish.
Walking his seventh round along the bank, Ryo didn’t notice that his feet were purple, and his legs slowly turning blue. He knew he should be getting inside, warm up, something. But he didn’t want to see what the place looked like with all signs of the guys gone.
His lack of attention caused him to slip in the water; unable to feel the water around his feet, he hadn’t realized it until he fell. Landing with a small, cold splash, Ryo winced as something hard was jabbed into his lower back. Ignoring how bad his shaking was, and not bothering to get out of the freezing water, he reached around into his back pocket to pull out what was sticking him.
A pocketknife. It had been a gift from Jun, because he’d lost Ryo’s last one, taking it without permission. Shu had helped him pick it out, and Shin had helped him wrap it up.
Pulling the blade out, Ryo tried to find a dry place on his shirt to dry it off; it wasn’t waterproof. The blade caught his attention, the movement of the water slowly running off the blade. Shaking off his daze, Ryo realized there wasn’t a dry spot on his shirt. Giving a sigh, he reached up and pulled his hair around. Thankful that that was at least still dry, he proceeded to carefully clean the blade.
His shivering had increased, and worried that he would wind up cutting his hair off, Ryo tried to still his arm. Instead of helping it made things worse. He dropped the blade, and distantly heard it splash as it hit the water. Feeling warmth beneath his ear, Ryo brought a shaky hand up; it came away wet, sticky, and warm. He could barely make out the red coloring, but he definitely recognized the coppery sent.
Cursing, he brought his hand back up in hopes of stopping the bleeding. With his other hand he tired to rise, get back to the house. Because he was so cold, the blood wasn’t flowing as fast as it normally would, but the cold also wouldn’t let his body move the way it should. He slipped back into the water twice before his strength left and he collapsed face first into the shallow water.
He could feel the water biting into his cut, over an inch in length he was able to tell, thanks to the sting. The water was also stinging his eyes, so he closed them. His last semi-coherent thought before thinking became impossible was, And people scoff at warnings for shallow water….
Wrote this all tonight. Came to me while listening to Invincible (I’m told it’s from Gundam Wing), and thoughts on how many friends I’ve lost (not to death), for whatever reasons. Distance, lack of contact, change of school, disagreements, whatever. And wondering how many more I’ll eventually add to the list.