'I Don't Feel It Anymore'

(we'll fall just like stars being hung by only string..)

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A ragged breath.

"Toki…how bad is it?"

My hands are shaking in an attempt to keep a firm pressure.

Blood.

So much blood.

He was losing too much, too fast.

"I—I don't know. I need…Ryudin, I can't see anything."

His torso trembled weakly under my grip.

"…Toki?"

Hold on, please, just don't…!

Another heavy cough, thick with blood. Choking. He can't breath again. Help him. Do something or he's going to die.

"H-Here, try to sit up…!"

He retches against me; my now stained red.

Think. Think. Just reach in, feel for it, take it out and put pressure back on the wound. Just one shot. Screw it up, and he dies. One shot. One shot…

"Ryudin, I need you to bite down on this…"

"Wha-?"

Oh god oh god oh god oh god what the hell am I doing I could kill him oh my god..!

Not doing anything will kill him just as well. Reach in. Find the bullet. Pull it out. Worry about infection later. Youji will be back to help.

I can't oh god I can't he's going to die and I can't do anything-

Just reach in. Find it and pull it out.

Oh god Ryudin I'm so sorry so sorry-

Pull it out NOW!

"What are you-nngh!"

My hand moves within Ryudin's chest. It's hot

There's nothing just blood lots of blood nothing nothing I can't find it oh shit where is it I know it didn't come out it has to be here somewhere-!

Calm down. You'll find it. You have to. You're going to save him. You have to.

But it's not here!

Think! Where is the blood pooling?

"T-Toki…it's…okay…"

Where is it where is it where is it he's gonna die I just know it…!

"…Toki…"

Something hard and sharp…right...

"-THERE!"

I got it I got it I got it oh thank god I can't believe it…

Footsteps splash down near the end of the alleyway. Is it them?

"Toki?" Youji's voice. He's here.

"Over h-here!"

He's down on the ground beside me in seconds. Keisuke's there too, trying to pull me aside.

"It's ok, Toki. He's going to be okay-"

"—I got the bullet. It's here. It's right here in my hand-"

"You did good, Toki, now let me help him-"

Keisuke's pulling me back. I want to relent. I'm suddenly so desperately tired, but for some reason I'm fighting his hold. Ryudin's eyes are closed, and there's a strange smile on his face.

"NO! Ryudin! Let me stay! I need to stay-!"

"Keisuke, get her away."

Strong, slender arms hook firmly beneath shoulders, jerking me back. I understand, but at the same time I don't.

"Please! Please. Let me stay-! I want to stay…!"

A hand moves across my gaze, cutting off the horrific image before me.

"Don't." Keisuke commands softly, pulling me closer into his grounding warmth as I still against him. "Just don't."

I breathe again; shuddering in his arms. I listen to the raspy breath of the man I love just feet away. I'm trembling with fright. My heart is breaking. But I'm breathing.

All the while, Keisuke continues to hold me, long after a car comes to take us away from that dank, dirty street. He strokes my hair, and whispers my name, and its enough to get me through the night, as Ryudin fights for his life.

"Don't ever do something like that again,"I say the next morning.

Ryudin stares up at me from a sea of cris-crossing bandages, his eyes dark with an indefinable emotion I didn't care to guess at.

But all the same, he nodded and quietly replied,

"Alright."

Not yet.