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mouthful of snows

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Mafuyu wakes up the day after Yuuki dies, and doesn’t know anything.

---

To clarify: he doesn’t know what he feels about it yet - how he feels about the fact that his boyfriend is now not capable of waking up in the same manner that he does, that he (Yuuki) had, that everyone on their planet, ever, does every night with eyes closing and opening again in an amount of time, a routine of six-to-eight hours. His (Mafuyu’s, alone) eyes slide open that morning, as they have every morning for his entire life, and he is - instantly haunted by this being an experience that he is now alone with, or at least - alone in the sense that Yuuki Yoshida won’t get to experience something like waking up again. 

He won’t be able to hear the silence in the room, faint sounds of the heat rumbling through the building, the sound of Mafuyu’s own breathing, shallow and hesitant, because it feels wrong to breathe, like a sickness caught in his lungs. They rise and fall in his chest, expanding and contracting surely beneath the layers of skin and sinew and muscle and bone, a soft haah in the morning air. 

Mafuyu can hear it all too, still, clear now in his lonesome, the sound of his own existence - imagines he can hear the thrum of electricity moving through the air if he could just concentrate on it enough, even, but concentration has never been a strength of his by any measure. But he tries, a seizable moment presenting itself and he listens, then, in the gaps in-between what he can hear and what lies just out of reach. 

He hears the wind, then, dull and low; he hears Kedama’s whine outside his door, high and lonely because Mafuyu had shut him out the night prior; he hears a neighbor through the concrete walls of the apartment complex. They are talking about nothing that Mafuyu can suss out, their voices muffled by the overwhelming sound of his own heartbeat, alive - 

- and it comes like a stutter, a skip on the track of his life (a scratch - a gaping chasm in the ridges that throws the needle off and the song is over) - a thought he knows is true and thinks it in his mind, Yuuki is dead. Yuuki is dead. Yuuki is - dead? The skip, the repeat, dead dead dead - dead - 

He doesn’t know what he feels about it yet, doesn’t know if he ever will feel about it, doesn’t know if he will ever feel again properly, if he ever had in his whole life.

---

The thing is, his presence had been so much of a constant in Mafuyu’s life. Since five years old, with planes and playing and hushed whisper warnings, Yuuki had flown into his life and was just... there. 

Seamlessly glued over a hole that had been punched into his chest and completing him before it had ever occurred to Mafuyu that he might not be all whole, all there in the first place.

---

It is strongly encouraged that he undergo some sort of counselling, some sort of therapy to handle the loss of such an important person in his life. He hears it at the apartment, hours after Yuuki’s body - after Yuuki had been removed. “You’ve undergone an emotional upset,” they say, their gazes burning holes into his tearless eyes, and their unsaid ‘ or at least you should’ve’ sits in the air heavy around them. 

Mafuyu considers this all, and comes to the following:

  1. For a multitude of reasons it would have been very beneficial for him to have attended the same high school as Yuuki and the others; that has been true even before Yuuki went to a place that Mafuyu could not follow. 
  2. When students die (and his brain touches on the further edge of ‘commit suicide’ and recoils from it like a hot brand, because that was something to consider much, much later on if ever), support is offered to the student population. 
  3. Yuuki was a decently well-liked person at his school, and his absence would definitely be missed; support would definitely be offered to the student population at that school.
  4. Mafuyu did not go to that school, was not a member of that student population.
  5. Support would not be offered to him. 

Conclusion: (this space intentionally left blank). 

---

It’s a funny thing, he thinks, as Mafuyu hears the phrase often that week surrounding when his boyfriend strings himself up and dies: ‘we’re so sorry for your loss’.  It’s not really said to him directly - moreso to Yuuki’s grieving mother, who wears her sadness donned as a cloak and mourns with tears and sobs and crying, and confusion and doubt, and a strong omnipresent grief . It is as if the space that Yuuki has occupied for her, as a beloved son, is now filled with nothing but sad, sad, sad, a visibly empty wound. 

(And everyone around seems to try to bandage that wound with their platitudes, with sorrows and condolences and understanding, or at least the pledge of it. Mafuyu almost feels glad that he understands how useless their actions are, at least.)

A part of Mafuyu finds himself deeply almost-jealous (not quite jealous fully, because her loss is something he can’t fathom the completeness of yet) of her ability to feel the loss, her ever present bleeding wound visible; in his own heart he finds only a confusion, as the presence of Yuuki sticks in there still. It’s a wound that feels like it could be the same as hers, even, but different - but impossible to judge the size of - 

-because Yuuki isn’t gone from him, not yet. He’s stuck in like a thick knife in Mafuyu’s side, or a noose, or an avalanche burying him whole and hiding himself (Mafuyu) from himself. When he breathes in, the snow around him fills his lungs to the point of bursting, the cold seeping in everywhere and making him numb and lightheaded. 

---

It’s been a week, but it could be an eternity, or no time at all. Time has ceased to exist in this week, anyways, strung up and swaying like -

So Mafuyu finds himself jealous-maybe, which is why when his phone lights up with a text from Ms. Yoshida a week later (or maybe six days, or maybe eight, or maybe it doesn’t matter anyways because a part of him isn’t in bed but is in that apartment still staring up and observing his world hanging shattered like so many sharp points in his heart) he doesn’t know how to respond.  He doesn’t know how to even answer the phone when she calls, and when she texts him again he can’t dig himself out enough to even read her message until several stagnant hours have passed. 

Because he can relate to her now but also, not at all, and a part of him feels, knows that his reaction to this all is all wrong too. She is a perfect model of grief and he, in his own grief-approximation, feels like nothing but a sham, ashamed and fake, and what was he even to Yuuki? 

What was Yuuki and Mafuyu to anyone who wasn’t Yuuki and Mafuyu? 

---

Hours later from when his phone first lights up, he finally swipes the screen to the side, sees a simple request for a meeting, and goes back to sleep. He’s been sleeping a lot this week, as he attempts to sleep off his festering wound of a heart, even knowing it’s in vain. What else wouldn’t be in vain, now? 

Maybe he’ll meet her tomorrow, though.