The sound of his alarm echoes in his room, waking him from his light slumber. The sun is barely up yet but the sky is still bright outside. He sighs as he drags himself out of the bed, pulling out the cleanest set of clothes he owns, stepping over the dusty rubble of broken furniture carefully. He doesn’t know why he cares, it’s not like it matters anymore if he’s clean or dirty because the world is ending.
The last day on earth and Hokuto doesn’t know what he feels about it, knowing that after today, there’s nothing more. What he knows is that he has a promise to fulfill and it’s high time that he does it.
So, he walks outside, the wind chilly, grabbing at every exposed skin it can reach but it doesn’t compare to the coldness he feels in his heart. He can see his breath coming out of his mouth, forming small clouds in the air, rubbing his arms for more warmth even if he knows that it doesn’t really matter.
Then, he sees blond hair, bright eyes, and bruised hands waving at him, patiently waiting for him as if the world was not slowly deteriorating in front of their eyes. He feels a weird wave of relief wash over him as he smiles at Taiga, thinking that maybe it’s fine like this.
He finds it endearing, how Taiga is still blond, how it looks like it's recently done, and he dares to believe it's all because of him. A small honorary nod to their past as the last time he saw Taiga he was also blond.
Now that they're older, he wonders why they were so stupid, and if Taiga thinks the same.
Taiga holds out his hand for Hokuto to take, steadying him as they walk over the pieces left of a school, and it all reminds him of the days when they walked hand in hand, naively thinking they were on top of the world.
It's a fond memory by now but the warmth of Taiga's hand is the same.
Each step they take now is another step toward the completion of a chapter, only that this is the last chapter of their story.
When they reach the top of the hill they've been climbing, Hokuto lets himself take in the current situation properly for the first time in years.
He doesn't see the broken landscape, the dull sky, and lost dreams anymore, he sees the way of lights, gradients of emotions painting his vision, and hope. It's all in vain but he finally feels something.
The hand in his grips a bit tighter, reminding him of who's beside him, and when he turns to face Taiga, he smiles again.
It makes him feel whole again.
They sit down on the remains of what they think was a bench, formerly surrounded by a glorious park, and he gets reminded of the days when they were blissfully ignorant, and only saw the moment.
Taiga leans his head onto his shoulder, taking him back to when they were in bed, a long, long time ago, when the sun shone through the blinds onto the window sill and their rested bodies. When they say goodbye but know that they’ll see each other another day.
When they took time for granted.
Now, the clock slowly ticks toward the end.
He slides his fingers through Taiga’s, the feeling so familiar yet so strange at the same time. How their fingers just fit perfectly together, even after years apart. Even when he’s held others but in the end, it all comes back to this.
Leaning his head back against Taiga’s, he sighs, running his thumb over Taiga’s, slow, comforting, and lovingly.
“We used to do this all the time before,” Taiga whispers, and eyes focused on the nothingness in front of them, and Hokuto nods, he remembers. Of course, he remembers.
It was the best of times, the part of his life he wants to relive if he could.
“How many years has it been now? I lost count…”
To be honest, he did too. He believes that the moment they walked away from each other, the count dropped to zero, and stayed frozen. Until now.
A chill runs down his spine and he wraps his arms around Taiga, pulling the older closer to his chest, burying his face in his hair, smelling the faint scent of burnt ember, hot chocolate, and comforting fireplaces in cold winters. All of the memories they shared together, coming back to him at once - the good, bad, happy, sad, all of them.
“I remember when we skipped practice one day, only to walk along the riverside,” he admits out of nowhere, that particular memory very vivid right now. It had been the first time they had skipped practice, together, for each other. Taiga nods into his chest, also remembering it.
“I remember when you came to my place, in the middle of the night, just because I told you I was lonely.”
“The time when we stayed up and watched the stars together on your rooftop is one of my favorite memories.”
“When you told me I was selfish, I was hurt.”
“Because I didn’t know what you meant, I thought you weren’t serious,” He remembers it as if it was yesterday, their first fight.
“I was always serious,” Taiga admits, his grip on Hokuto a bit tighter, and he realizes that maybe, maybe they were both wrong back then. “I just didn’t know how to speak to you, it was just so hard,”
He understands, he really does. Because words are hard, and they’re so easy to misunderstand and they were so young too. Words held more importance than actions back then. Even if they both, he realizes now, believed that the other could understand without words. Maybe they could have prevented a lot of their fights if they just talked? He doesn’t know but as he got older, he had thought a lot about it. He never forgot.
“Things change, people change, we…grew up,” We grew apart, he wants to say but he lets it linger in the air, for old time’s sake. He knows that Taiga gets it now.
“I never understood why you liked me so much,” I wasn’t worth it back then, I didn’t deserve your love.
“Because you drove me crazy,” You always did, still do.
“All the times we fought, made up, and then suddenly, we didn’t,” I didn’t mean to hurt you, it wasn’t on purpose.
“It feels like we never were apart,” he admits because holding Taiga like this again makes him 18 again when he was stupidly in love with Taiga, with a love stronger and larger than he could handle. Overwhelming. Experimenting.
Then, years later, when he knew how to handle them, or so he thought, they were one again. They tried again and again, like a clockwork. Tried their best to make it work because they knew, deep inside, that nothing else would beat this. But in the end, it didn’t fall through. They didn’t even say goodbye.
“You know,” Taiga starts, fiddling with the fabric of Hokuto’s shirt, and Hokuto holds him a bit tighter. It’s coming. “There were times when I forgot about you. Times when you weren’t on my mind anymore, times when I could see the world around me, times when I could see others.” But in the end, it’s you. My first and my last.
He knew that already. He always knew, never doubted it because it’s Taiga. Taiga, who shines brighter than anyone else. The brightest star in the universe. Taiga, who always stayed inside his heart no matter what. It’s natural after all. Love comes and goes. It’s a fleeting feeling after all. It’s their job to keep it together, to keep it alive. To not let it go.
They never did.
So, he smiles. Laughs even, a bright, colorful sound echoing among the shattered concrete jungle and dark clouds.
“I missed that sound,” he hears Taiga sigh against him, a smile appearing on the blond’s face. I missed that smile too.
He feels like he should cry, beg for forgiveness for the mistakes he’s made, ask for another chance, explain everything that’s been weighing on his mind - but it doesn’t matter anymore. There’s nothing to cry about, there’s nothing to forgive, there won’t be another chance, or room to explain. It’s the end.
“Taiga,” he says and it holds everything he wants to say, one name holds it all. He brings his hands to cup Taiga’s face, to bring it up to his, to rest his forehead against it. This closeness, so familiar, so warm, and so nostalgic. It was once all his, only his, but then he let it go. But it's back now, and it's all that matters. They're back together, just like they were in the beginning.
It begins with you and ends with you.