Hearts in Armor
Part I - Embracing Nothingness

Touma packed angrily, jamming clothing into his suitcase with little care for whether it wound up wrinkled or not. Most of it was wrinkled to begin with.

There was only one thing that would prevent him from walking right out the door now. Only ONE thing. Only one person.

He slowed his packing pace, creating the necessary time, and because he didn't really want to go...he cast occasional glances towards the door.

He isn't coming. He doesn't even care.

The warrior of wisdom slammed the suitcase shut hard. It bounced up on the bed. For a moment, Touma stopped to look at the bed he'd so often shared with Seiji. He could feel Seiji's hands on his skin, could see violet through strands of blonde, could taste Seiji in his mouth, could smell sweat and that inexpressibly SEIJI smell, could hear the swordsman's heavy breathing and his own in reply. All by looking at the bed, at the room.

He looked at the door again.

He's not coming. He doesn't care. After everything we've meant to each other...fighting for each other's lives...learning to be friends without battle...all the whispered forevers...none of it means ANYTHING to him! He's not even trying to talk to me through the armor bond.

He grabbed his suitcase. I'll get the rest of my stuff later. I am not staying HERE, he looked once more at what had been their bed, any longer.


Seiji paced relentlessly in his room, like a caged tiger. He shot occasional glances at the window, and in the direction of his lover's room.

Touma can't really mean it. This...this HAS to be some foolish stunt of his. Another one of his mischiefs to draw me out so that I look as big a fool as he is. Pause. No, Touma's not a fool. He just acts like it sometimes. And he makes foolish decisions because despite his astonishing intelligence, he doesn't always BOTHER to think.

The blonde swordsman went to the window and watched Touma throw his suitcase into the taxicab's trunk. He shouldn't be taking a taxi. I should... He froze. If he went out there now, it would only create a scene. Touma would yell at him about...whatever it was that was upsetting him now; he would try to calmly defend himself, but Touma was so close to him, so necessary to him, that he was sure things would get out of hand. That would upset everyone.

He's only got one suitcase. He'll have to come back. And then maybe, when he does, he'll be cooler, more rational again, and I can take him aside and talk to him, in private. He nodded. Yes, when he comes back, we will straighten this all out. And it will be better for us both to be apart for a few days. We can't be around each other all the time. We'll make each other insane.

And yet, the slam of the taxicab door, even muted through the distance and glass, sounded like the final shutting of his coffin. He could not restrain one hand from lifting towards the cab as it started away, as if he could halt its movement. Touma...don't be gone too long.


Seiji came home a week later to find Touma's room gutted. His first reaction was worry, confusion, all expertly hidden of course. Then he remembered.

He had enough presence of mind to walk to his room, change clothing, and head out to the woods, ostensibly to meditate. He told no one that that was what he was doing; they simply assumed that it was, as he walked past them silently. None of his compatriots noticed anything unusual about him at all, he was so very skilled in hiding himself.

And once surrounded by familiar forest glen, with the quietly omnipresent bird chrips and wind-rustled grass, he finally let his precious mask of control crack.

He...he's really gone. Everything that was Touma about the house is gone now. He's no longer there. He recalled the stark white walls of the empty room. No blinds on the windows. Everything of any meaning gone, and four walls, staring blankly at him in reproval, were all that was left. It's like a tomb. It's as if Touma has died.

Touma was gone.

He was used to saying a truth over and over again until his mind accepted it. But every time he repeated this fact, it caused him new, sharper, more searing pain, until he broke down. All the birds had left him and the wind had died. There was no longer any sound except his own sorrow.

His mind lashed out in pained rage. You damned fool!!! Even in his own mind, Seiji wasn't sure whether he was cursing Touma or himself. We should've talked about it, done something about it. And instead my foolish pride kept me from going to him. Probably his own damned pride kept him from coming to me. I forget that even in peace we both still have a warrior's pride, although I'm sure I'm far worse than he is about that.

He looked up at the peacefully oblivious day around him. And now, it's too late...oh, Touma, his heart ached. He wanted nothing more than to hold Touma in his arms and apologize right now. He wanted to have Touma there, with him, and everything the way it should be once again.

But all he got was a day too bright for his emotions, too otherworldly to be real. After all, in the real world, wouldn't the heavens themselves have shown some appropriate signs of grief: rain, hail, snow...clouds at least?

Part of Seiji snorted. That only happens in novels and movies and you know it. The world doesn't revolve around you; you can't expect the weather to truly be influenced by your problems.

The gentle breeze and warm sun just did not match his mood. He stood to go, then hesitated. If I go back now, the guys will think something is wrong, because I didn't stay as long as I usually do. And perhaps some meditation will clear all of this out.

Yes...yes, I'll meditate and when I'm done, I'll be better able to think of a way to stop all this nonsense and bring Touma back to me. Back where he belongs. And so, having decided his course of action, he immediately put it into effect.

He could slip into meditation effortlessly, and it was always a calming experience: embracing the nothingness and the sweet peace to be found within. But when finally he let himself return to the material plane, he found he still had no answers, and really, no peace. There was a temporary tranquility, but his heart was still a low, dull throb of pain in his breast.

The sky was slashes of crimson and purple and gold as the sun quietly stalked away; he'd been out here for quite some time now. He stood up, brushed off his clothing and headed back. If he'd gone back too soon his friends would've worried, but staying away too long was just as likely to get the same result.

And all the way back, as the stars uncovered themselves and watched him tread his stoic way home, all he could think of was, Touma...Touma, come home.


Part Two - Voices in My Head:.
.:Wisdom's Sacrifice Fiction:.