Soichiro slowly walked towards the nondescript building with its
flickering motel sign, just like he did every Sunday at six o'clock.
The streets he passed were noisy as usual, with housewives doing their weekly shopping and children celebrating their day off from school.
The sound of a street performer singing drifted from somewhere down the street; the grade school kids dancing to its catchy beat giving the scene a festive atmosphere.
He entered the building, and the day manager, a plump middle-aged man wearing his usual stained undershirt, didn't bother to turn around from the basketball game on TV as he wordlessly handed Soichiro his room key.
"Thanks," Soichiro said before walking down the stark white hallway and into the equally stark room at the end. He had just opened the door when slender arms engulfed him in a tight hug, knocking the wind out of him.
"Soichiro," a breathy voice whispered in his ear, sending his hair to flutter behind him momentarily before reluctantly dropping back in its place. Kisses followed the hands that roamed around his torso. He moaned as it trailed down his neck, but he managed to regain his composure enough to push the hand off when it began to work on his zipper.
"Makoto," Soichiro sighed while firmly holding the errant hand away from him. "Stop it."
"What if I don't want to?"
He abruptly pushed his lover away and turned around so he wouldn't have to see the wounded look directed at him. "We can't do this anymore."
"That's not the message I was getting a minute ago," Makoto informed him in a low seductive voice, hands returning to caress Soichiro's arm. When he didn't response, Makoto stopped and asked, "Why are you doing this? Aren't I good enough anymore?"
"Of course you are." Soichiro rubbed his temples, feeling a headache coming on. "It's just that my parents have been pressuring me to get married."
"So? It's your life! You can't let them push you around."
"Just like you don't let your wife push you around?"
"You're not being fair. That's a completely different story."
Soichiro shook his head and looked out the window. "No, it's not."
"So, after all these years together$BM(B you're ending it just like that?"
"I'm sorry." The neon motel sign chose that moment to die, bathing the room in darkness. By the time Soichiro got enough courage to face Makoto again, he was long gone, the tousled sheets the only evidence that he had been there at all. "I'm sorry," Soichiro repeated before leaving the room for the final time.
"Haven't you drunk enough?" the ramen vendor asked with concern after Soichiro downed his fifth cup of sake.
"It would never be enough," he answered morosely while clumsily signaling for another round.
"Women troubles, eh?"
"If it was only that easy." Soichiro brought the steaming cup close to his mouth, running the top edge along his lips as he contemplated what to say next. "I'm here because of love."
The vendor looked confused, but decided not to pursue the topic. It was obviously a painful subject. "You really should get home."
Soichiro shook his head. Home. What a joke. Home was in Makoto's arms, making him moan in such a way that made Soichiro never want to leave. Home was falling asleep to the sound of Makoto saying "I love you". Home was seeing the way Makoto's eyes brightened whenever they saw each other, making Soichiro feel like the world was made for them alone.
But Soichiro's decision to honor his parent's wishes changed all that. It forced him to leave, wandering through uncharted territory alone without a map, without a clue; all the time wishing for nothing else but to be home.
Soichiro wanted to cry out, to take back everything he said earlier. The world was just too daunting without Makoto by his side. He went as far as to take three steps back towards the motel; back to his knight in shining armor, poised to slay death itself if he could.
Then reality set in. Soichiro fell back heavily in his seat as he remembered the pleased look on his parent's faces when he asked them about marriage. He couldn't hurt them, especially when they had such a short time left to be together. He would simply swallow his feelings and let them remember him the way they wanted.
If only Makoto was a woman, he could have married him; if only Makoto wasn't married to somebody else; if only he could make his parents understand; if only. . .
Soichiro tipped his cup of sake upwards, feeling the liquid burn its way down his throat. He sighed. Life was never easy, not even for the dying.
Author's Notes: My friend warned me that I'm bound to offend some people by not putting a yaoi tag in the subject line; she said that not everyone feels comfortable reading about same-sex relationships. Sorry if you were one of those people. I just thought it was best not to put up the warning 'cause it would ruin the surprise.
Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Rumiko Takahashi. No infringement is intended.