neko_kirin3104: (mame_chuu)
[personal profile] neko_kirin3104

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all...?

Title: Chrysalis
Wordcount: 8779
Rating: R
Pairing/s: Aiba/Jun, Sho/Nino, Ohno/Okada (and a few other complicated ones)
Genre: Thriller
Warnings: character deaths, swearing, incest, non-con, cannibalism, violence
Summary: Jun Matsumoto has never liked his roommate, but there’s really more to Junichi Okada than what meets the eye. And between unraveling a five-year-old serial murder case and trying to keep his sanity intact, the rookie inspector Matsumoto also uncovers a plethora of secrets, lies and truths that will re-define his own life.
Author Notes: written for [ profile] je_trick_or_fic.

If you're reading this letter, I'm probably already dead…

He should never have left the police box.

This was the first thought that crossed Jun Matsumoto's mind when he saw his first dead body.

The second one just numbed him up so bad, he didn't even remember how he made it out of that crime scene with what meager dignity he had left intact.

One would think he'd be used to it by now, or had come to his senses and quit. But ten weeks in and four dead bodies later, it still hits him like it did the first time.

And he’s still here.

He takes a deep breath, mumbles his own two-second version of a 'Hail Mary', before finally stepping through the tarp concealing the crime scene from public view.

Junichi Okada, in a deceptively sleek trench coat that always somehow resembles Jun's own ensemble, greets him with a small nod and the most quietly derisive sideway glance.

Old habits. Jun hardly minds it now.

When you're catching whiffs of the coppery scent of blood in the air, and then eventually sees the dead body that comes along with it, there isn't really much legroom left for personal frivolities.

Ghastly pale. Deathly still. Sightless eyes wide open and staring. Just staring unwaveringly back at Jun. Stripping him bare to the deepest, darkest corners of his soul as though it knows him. It's on to him. It makes him want to bolt back out and flee.

It's always been like this. And Okada would also always be around to give him shit about it in that deep, no-nonsense tone that has been haunting Jun's nightmares of late.

"You're turning pale," the son of a bitch says. "You always turn pale. You're pathetic, aren't you?"

"Shut the fuck up," Jun mumbles to himself, walking away. Annoyed but not stupid enough to bicker with a colleague this early in the morning. He pulls his dress gloves out of his coat pocket and starts putting them on as he crouches beside Masaki Aiba who's been tapping and poking the body with his gloved fingers for the last couple of minutes. "Found anything significant yet?"

"Nothing I say right now is official until I get him to the lab and take a closer look,” Aiba replies, grave and serious like he means business. “But judging by the lace ribbon around his neck, petechiae around the eyes, and this blood patch on his shirt, I’d say this guy is, without a doubt, dead.” He shrugs, then pulls back with a startled whimper of pain after Jun flicks his ear. "Dammit, J! Mou!" the horrified medical examiner shrieks, raising a protective hand to the side of his face. "Woke up on the wrong side of the couch again, huh?"

"This is hardly the time for your lame jokes, you idiot." He draws his phone out and starts taking photos of the body, wincing with every click.

He's already made his choice to aim for a more meaningful job, endured the additional classes and training hours required, somehow made it through the grueling application process into the homicide division of the Tokyo Metropolitan police force, and has also already lasted ten weeks into this madness. Quitting, at this point, is no longer an option.

"You're right, I'm sorry." Aiba coughs himself back into the grind, carefully cutting the bloodied shirt off the victim with practiced indifference that shakes a little at its core halfway through. "It's just that… I kind of know this guy."

Jun's eyebrow twitches as his phone camera snaps away at the white lace ribbon tied around the victim's neck. Masaki Aiba entered the force two years prior, but he and Jun have quickly forged a bond that may not entirely be based on mutual trust, but has more than enough casual, steamy romps on each other's couch to compensate, and for Jun to take a hint of jealous offense. "Know him how?"

"He's Ken Miyake. Store manager at that adult shop I've been telling you about? Sexy. Honey. Bunny. It's just a couple of blocks down the street from here. Pretty neat place. Pretty easy to miss, too. His partner, perverted as he may be, was all about discretion—"

"Has anybody gone off to check up on this partner yet?" Jun cuts in, already partly choked with discomfort that no longer concerns the dead body before him and clawing for any excuse to get out of this place. He should probably go and volunteer himself to the task. Inohara will send him off, for sure. The chief inspector has always admired his eagerness.

"Well, that's the thing. Go Morita died exactly a year ago." Aiba pulls the scissored shirt off to one side, exposing what Jun has already vaguely figured out from the huge blot of blood it left on the cloth. "He was also missing his heart."

Jun gulps and turns away from the gaping emptiness left by the displaced organ, his voice coming out in a mousy squeak when Aiba grabs a pair of forceps from his tool kit and starts prodding around the victim's mouth. "What are you doing?!"

"Checking up on a theory." Aiba casually pulls out a bite-sized piece of apple lodged in the victim's throat and holds it at eye level like some prized specimen that's going to change the world. "I knew it!"

"What the hell is that?!" Jun demands, holding his breath as tension headache starts gripping at his temples.

The medical examiner, hardly able to contain his excitement, yet somehow managing to confine his bursting emotions in the slightest twitch of a smile, grimly looks at Jun and says, "An M.O."

Ten weeks in and four dead bodies later.

The fifth one hits Jun Matsumoto more than it did the first time.

You warned me. You did tell me to let this go…

The boy who would grow up to be the Snow White Killer was born on the 25th of January at 1:25 am.

In a manner of speaking.

Coincidentally, this was also the night Junichi Okada’s mother died.

How strange, he thought. How strange indeed that his mother should die in the same car where he was born twelve years before the accident, premature and barely alive.

It still amuses Junichi to this day. The strange and seemingly deliberate patterns in his life. He lies awake in bed at night and thinks about it. Letting every memory from his past play out in seemingly endless reels of still images and moving sceneries in his head, all while trying not to throw a fit at the glow stars staring back at him from the ceiling.

His new roommate has an unexpectedly cute side. Cute and adorably girly like no one would believe.

Junichi himself would never have pegged the guy for anything milder than a bee sting after bearing witness to said guy's usually disgruntled morning face.

Not to mention that equally charming "fuck-off-or-I'll-bite" look the guy sports at work all day.

And there's just no way it would ever cross his mind right now after listening, yet again, to the guy's shameless grunts of passion as the medical examiner plays personal doctor on him in the living room couch. Last night and tonight, too. And countless other nights prior.

They're not even supposed to be here, Junichi thinks curiously to himself, trying not to make even the slightest sound to give himself away. They've been alternating nights between each other's place. Probably didn't even have to talk about it. Just naturally rolling together with the tides these past couple of weeks.

Junichi would ask for reasons, if he could. He could just step out of the room right now and demand these dumbasses to tell him what he wants to know. But he doubts his roommate would take well to it.

Masaki Aiba would probably just laugh nervously, grab his clothes and make up some lousy excuse about needing to go someplace else.

Jun Matsumoto, however, is not the most forgiving person Junichi knows. There's been nothing but bad blood between them ever since they became aware of each other's existence.

Takes one to know one and all that shit.

So he stays here. Quietly. In this room. Looking up at Jun's glow stars while trying to keep a firm grip on his memories.

Reel after reel of still images and moving sceneries in his head.

The strange and seemingly deliberate patterns in his life—

It's not even a moment later when the glow stars suddenly start melting together into a blown-up image of Masaki Aiba's face, drawn out in lines and curves of intoxicating wonder and synthetic lighting.

Junichi Okada rides the mind-numbing waves of his orgasm in the scorching grip of his own hand.

When I told you what I knew, you told me I was crazy.
But you haven't even heard half of what I had to say…

Jun hates his job. Hates it with such renewed passion each day that he might as well just quit and be done with it while he can still run back to the police box with as little shame as possible.

But he soon realized hating a job is fairly different from actually loving just being in it for reasons that hardly even concerns the job itself.

Sure, it still makes him want to retch his insides out each time he comes face-to-face with 'Corpse of the Week' in all its bloody and mangled glory, but working alongside someone for whom he's starting to have real feelings for more than makes up for everything else.

Never mind that the idiot has missed their usual rendezvous for two straight nights with nothing but an email to put Jun's heart at ease—

"I'm off to see my brother in Chiba.  I won't be around for a while. Don't fool around while I'm gone, okay?"

It's been two days. Aiba has not sent him a mail since, but he's quite sure the idiot is back at work today, waiting for him beside another dead body with his ready smile that has gradually conditioned the usually stoic Jun to smile right back.

Even the lame "He's dead. I'm sure" jokes don't seem so bad anymore.

And the usual tension headaches and early morning feelings of sleeplessness and fatigue no longer seem so hard to bear.

Now, if only Junichi Okada would stop appearing before him like a badly misplaced apparition whenever he steps through the tarp into a crime scene, he's quite sure he'd start having a field day at work in no time, too.

"You don't wanna go there," the bastard says today, planting himself firmly in front of Jun with deeper purpose. Intentionally blocking the guy's view of the lifeless body sprawled out in the alley. "Trust me."

"Move," Jun mumbles dangerously, his chest and his brows tightening at the sudden shot of anxiety sending chills through his veins.

"Fine," Okada says, almost sympathetic as he obligingly steps aside. "They're calling in another examiner from the closest precinct."

Jun's hardened frown eases up as his roommate's words gradually sink into his mind. Letters and spaces. Meanings and conclusions.

The idiot has missed their usual rendezvous for two straight nights.

But Masaki Aiba's supposed to be in Chiba.

He can't be that body sprawled face down on the alley, right?!

But all the idiot left was that lousy email to put Jun's heart at ease—

Jun freezes in his tracks the moment Chief Inspector Inohara turns and gestures for him to stay back, the seemingly perpetual smile and indiscriminately irreverent humor that have always held them together amidst the most gruesome crime scenes, now suspiciously gone.

Gone without a trace.

Time just seems to slow down to a tortuous halt after that. Jun can literally feel the blood in his veins turn ice-cold, his heart bursting in a much colder blast of nothingness in his chest. He can literally hear each heavy draft of breath leaving his body, can almost literally see each fleeting puff of it fading before his eyes.

But the sob that eventually makes it to his throat sounds so far away. Everything else seems so far away. Expanding outward like displaced images of a suddenly unfamiliar life slipping away from him. Leaving him alone in the cold, dank space of his growing agony in the echoing company of the voiceless little screams in his head.

Jun Matsumoto wilts to his knees, hugs himself tight and starts retching his insides out.

I really have no idea how I'm gonna start telling you this—
The man you call Junichi Okada, your roommate?
He's not the man you think he is…

Satoshi was born on the 26th of November at 9:07 am.

In a manner of speaking.

Coincidentally, this was also the day Junichi Okada's father walked out on them and never came back.

He was five and he could still vividly remember how his mother had tried, amidst bone-racking sobs and tears, to explain it all to him.

His father had made a choice, that's why he went away.

The old man made a choice and it wasn't them. It was never going to be them, that's why he had to leave.

Leave for good. Leave forever.

Junichi was just five then but he understood it all too well. He wasn't the smartest kid in the block, and there were still a lot of things that confused him.

But this one thing, he understood it. It sunk in rather quickly and numbed him up with feelings he did not comprehend, but rather instinctively knew the reasons for.

He was sad only for a little while.

Angry for the briefest moment.

Then he just felt cold for the most part of it.

So cold.

And empty.

Like a cookie jar robbed of all its fixings. Every single crumb scooped out and thrown into the trash.

Satoshi was also five when the boy came into their lives.

And up to this day, whenever they could share a drink and a little chat before his grumpy roommate comes home, they would still sometimes talk about the trail of what they thought was paint—dark red, thick, and funny-smelling—that they both saw and curiously followed into the back of the house in the middle of the night.

Out where they saw Mother shoveling a mound of dirt right on the spot where the trail of paint ended.

Mother amidst bone-racking sobs and tears.

Mother in her beautiful pink dress marred in dirt and crimson—

Dark mother.

Thick dirt.

Red paint that turned out to be Father’s blood.

Everything he's ever told you, if he's even cared enough to tell you anything at all, is a lie.
Half lies. Elaborate lies.
Dark, twisted versions of his truth

Everybody's been talking about it like it's the biggest criminal case in history. People from all walks of life pitching in their two, three, ten cents worth about every aspect of every angle of every other goddamn probabilities, and yet none of them truly understanding it any more than the proverbial fly on the wall.

But Jun does. He gets it all. Gets it any more than he would have ever wished he might.

How the Snow White Killer has apparently broken a long-established routine, the terrifyingly unwavering pattern of strangling and de-hearting no more than one victim a year, all of them standing at no more than 1.68 meters in height, to send out a message.

A personal, no-nonsense missive that's apparently meant for him.

Because at five-feet-eight, his stupid boyfriend’s more than a spitting distance away from the killer’s M.O, considering how particular these types of psychos are in their ways.

Back off. The message has been playing in his head all day. Over and over. Loud and clear. Back off or you'll be sorry.

Okada, surprisingly enough, has been rather considerate of his need for space these past few days. Come to think of it, he hasn’t been seeing the guy around for quite a while now.

Not at home. Not at work. Nowhere.

Not that he’s even bothered to leave his room when he’s at home.

Nor has he been doing much of work lately—


Jun acknowledges the chief inspector with a brief glance, the slightest nod, before fixing his eyes back on a particularly heart-wrenching crime scene photo taped right at the heart of the link chart for the Snow White case.

Perhaps if he stares at it long enough, it’ll stop breaking him apart.

Masaki Aiba. Dead on the ground. The usual smile all gone from his unseeing eyes. His slightly parted lips frozen in a wordless whisper.

Aiba. Medical Examiner and all around goofball.

Aiba. The chill, no-strings-attached dumbass who brought the sunshine back to Jun's life and made him want to feel things again.

Real things. Deeper things. Things that, for once, mattered.

Aiba. His Aiba. Now a mere crime scene photo taped to the unfeeling surface of a white board, connected by no less than three different strings to a person, a place, and an unfortunate circumstance that he would never have had anything to do with if he hadn't gotten too close to the truth.

The idiot wasn’t even supposed to be working on uncovering the truth. That was Jun’s job. It always has been. And yet he’s still here. Alive. Staring at Aiba’s death photos.

The guy would seriously have a fit when he sees himself in such unbecoming poses.

Aiba. Dead and still spouting out his lame jokes in Jun’s head.

He would’ve laughed out loud like a madman, if it weren’t for Inohara's comforting grip on his shoulder.

Inohara, who on top of trying to get to the bottom of this case, has not cracked a single joke for days and is now looking all worn out because of it. "We'll get him. I promise."

"I want back in." Jun's determined gaze pierces right through the chief inspector's eyes. Showing no signs of balking even as the older man clicks his tongue and starts shaking his head. "Masaki gave me this case to solve. He’s been working on it all of his free time, making connections, digging as further back into the past as he could, as nobody else here has ever dared.” Inohara’s grip eases. Jun takes a sobbing breath. “He told me he was getting closer to discovering the killer's real identity and that I just had to take care of the official grunt-work and we’ll finally nail him. We were gonna nail him good!” Jun sobs again, his voice slipping into a breathy squeak, words running into each other with desperation. “This motherfucker killed Masaki! You know I can't just sit around and do nothing, Chief! I. Want. Back. In!"

The Chief Inspector himself, being just as passionately stubborn as Jun, stands his ground and remains firm in his words. Jun somehow knows it's bound to be like this, and yet he just has to try.

Takes one to know one and all that shit.

Inohara, at least, commends his perseverance. The man has always admired Jun's eagerness, after all. But this is an entirely different matter now.

In the end, the answer is still a firm and unyielding, "No."

Jun squares his jaw, bites his tongue at a curse, and clenches his fists tight in his pockets.

"You're too deeply invested in this, Matsujun.” Inohara’s voice is mild, his words anything but comforting. “We're at a crucial point in our investigation, all thanks to Aiba's efforts and your commendable assistance in getting this case right back on track. And I really can't have you messing this all up just because you got a little too angry and mindlessly did things your own way."

Jun sighs and eases up, bowing his head part-ways in silent agreement. The boss makes a sensible point.

"Stand down. Take a break. Spend time with your family and let us handle this, all right?"

Jun looks into the chief inspector’s eyes, seeing concern in them and the briefest glint of something else. It makes his heart skip just once, and then it was gone before he can even start processing it and putting meanings to a baseless suspicion.

If there’s anything the Chief Inspector is not telling him, then he’s probably better off not knowing it.

"Fine. Whatever," he mumbles before turning away and walking out of the meeting room without so much as a backward glance. Stopping only midway down the aisle between the two writing desks that he and Okada usually end up taking at every single end-of-the-day investigation assembly.

And for some reason only then realizing that he absolutely has nowhere else to go.

It is also right outside, on this same day, in the virtually empty hallway, that he meets Kazunari Ninomiya. A recurring presence that has become rather familiar to him in the past few days. Seemingly harmless, yet downright pesky.

Lingering behind the police tape in Aiba's crime scene.

Appearing in corners to give him a casual once-over before just as casually stalking away in the other direction.

Whenever there's a draft of cold breeze touching his nape and he looks around, Ninomiya would be there. Staring back at him like the guy knows him. Stripping him bare to the deepest, darkest corners of his soul.

Jun himself feels like he knows this guy. From somewhere, in a time long past.

And yet a part of him keeps insisting he doesn't—

The guy bravely walks up to him now, pushing his hands into his pockets in the same cool manner as Jun, and says, "We need to talk."

You see, I've already met him before.
In three separate ways, on three separate occasions…

Junichi likes Satoshi. Likes him a lot. They’ve been together the longest, after all. Been through the worst shits that would’ve broken an otherwise weaker kid.

They share each other’s secrets. Know of each other’s most hidden desires.

Wherever Junichi is, Satoshi will also be there. Whatever Junichi does, Satoshi will also be doing.

Satoshi has come to love woodcarving because of Junichi. And Junichi has gone on more fishing trips than he would’ve had on his own, because while Satoshi hardly really insists on doing anything at all—so much so that it gets a little frustrating at times—when something does catch his fancy, the guy can be a real hard-headed asshole about it.

And Junichi has always been too happy to comply.

He can’t really describe it well in words. He’s never been one to elaborate on things. The fewer words he can use to get his thoughts across, the better.

And Satoshi’s quite the same. If there’s no need to talk, then nobody’s talking. If there’s nothing much to say, then neither one of them is saying. They can both just sit in a corner and lose themselves in mostly empty wanderings about absolutely nothing at all.

And they would've still thought it was time well spent.

It’s that easy to be around Satoshi. So damn easy that Junichi sometimes forgets they’re supposed to be brothers.

When they were ten and were sneaking up to a neighbor’s house to play a prank as payback for when the hotheaded salaryman Sakamoto screamed at them for merely being in his way, they accidentally bore witness to the old man screwing the mild-mannered bike shop manager Nagano from down the street.

They watched, peeking through the back window with bated breaths and virgin eyes wide with wonder.

Just taking it all in. Every moving image, every unintelligible sound.

That night, Junichi let Satoshi touch him in intimate and rather embarrassing ways that racked him up with equal feelings of pleasurable guilt and exhilaration that would remain unmatched for the rest of his life.

He stopped looking at the guy as a brother since then. It mattered very little anyway.

It just became one of those sweet, dark secrets they kept between themselves.

26th of November, 9:07 am—

This was the day when Satoshi came into Junichi’s life, the son of the woman whom his father had been having secret affairs with for years.

Five years. Junichi was five. Satoshi was five.

Father had been pulling a fast one on them for five long years.

"Eeeehhh, " Satoshi hummed once when they were twelve, falling back into the grass on that riverbank where they used to spend most of their time together as kids, if they weren’t otherwise in their room wanking each other off. Just lounging around and staring idly up at the vast blue sky and wandering about everything and nothing. "I can hardly remember Father’s face right now. "

“Me neither.” Junichi shrugged, turning on his side, his back to Satoshi. He fiddled with the grass as he mumbled almost to himself. “Do you suppose… If we ask real nicely… Perhaps Mother will let us see Father again… I mean, she didn’t really hide him very well, did she?”

“Come to think of it, Jun-kun…” Satoshi murmurs into the cold afternoon breeze. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Mother…”

I was five when our paths first crossed.
He was calling himself by a different name back then…

"When you look in the mirror, what do you see?"

"What?" Jun looks incredulously at the guy hunched over on the opposite side of the table in a corner booth at the nearest diner. He can hardly remember the name. He’s never really been that much into diners. Not that he thinks it matters now.

"What do you see?" Nino asks again, with a silent fire in his eyes that makes Jun wary enough to lean back into his seat, grunting and rolling his eyes, "Myself, of course."

Nino eases up and leans back into his own seat with an almost exhausted sigh. As though just merely thinking about what he's about to say has already worn him out. "Junichi Okada once spent an entire hour knocking on our door, thinking it was his house. He was screaming and sobbing and begging to be let in. It was afternoon and I was home alone. We just moved into the neighborhood, too—”

“Listen, I really have no time for this.” Jun is just about ready to bolt out of this place and leave. Put this entire city behind him. He sure as hell does not need the added burden of a stranger divulging his entire life story, expecting Jun to care like they’ve known each other for years. “I need to go.”


Something inside Jun freezes at the mention of that name. He gulps, not really knowing half of what’s happening inside him right now. He knows he needs to go. But he doesn’t really want to go. He feels like he knows Nino. But he doesn’t really know Nino.

And now, there’s Satoshi.


“Okada’s brother,” Jun says, slipping back into his seat, frowning at the vaguest memory of his roommate mentioning the name to him once. “What about him?”

“The first time we met, Junichi Okada introduced himself as Satoshi.” Nino doesn’t even blink once as he continues, leaning his arms on the table like he means business, clasping his hands together like an eager little boy desperate for more time. “I woke up, opened the door and there he was. Satoshi Ohno. We were friends for quite a while, you know. I think he actually kinda liked me.”

Jun sees the smug smile on the pesky guy’s face and shakes his head in amusement. “I’ve never met this Satoshi Ohno, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to help you hook back up with him, Ninomiya-san. Aside from that not being my job—”

“Officer Matsumoto.” Nino raises an eyebrow and Jun crosses his arms and starts glowering again. “You’re a bit of an idiot yourself, aren’t you?”

“What did you say—?!”

“Junichi Okada doesn’t have a brother.”

The second time, he was a totally different person.
With a totally different name…

When Junichi Okada looks in the mirror, he sees three different faces—

A masculine face with strong jaws, big eyes, bigger nose, and thin, red lips that have always been stingy with smiles. There’s also a slight bump in the forehead he got from when he thought he could be man enough to play a little rugby and ended up flat on his face instead.

Satoshi gave him shit about it for days. Still occasionally does so to this day. Sometimes, Satoshi loves to tease, loves to just let loose and fool around. It might not show much on his gentler, round face that’s almost perpetually lost in child-like wonder. But he’s sure got a few naughty tricks up his sleeves.

But Satoshi’s beautiful aquiline nose used to twitch a lot when he lies, and Junichi’s nose started doing so too soon after.

And then there’s Sho.

And Sho has always been able to keep both of them in line. Hold that poker face steady when neither one of them can be stoic or sly enough to pull it off.

No one will ever see a trace of misplaced emotion in that guy’s charmingly expressive eyes if he hasn’t intended it to be just so. Sure, those cutesy little pouty lips can easily just break out in loud bursts of embarrassed laughter.

But his eyes… Those lovely big eyes can hide secrets that only the guy himself will ever know about.

Not even Junichi, not even Satoshi, can ever truly define the depths of Sho's darkness.

But Satoshi has always really liked Sho despite this. Liked him a lot though they hardly really talked the first couple of years.

Junichi, however, could see nothing more than the boy who killed his mother.

26th of January, 1:25 am—

He was twelve and Satoshi was with him in the backseat when Sho, all bruised up and beaten, suddenly appeared in front of the car.

He can still remember it, after all these years. How Mother had veered off the road and rammed into a tree. Taking the full brunt of the impact herself—crunching steel on stalwart wood, broken glass through fragile flesh—so all three of them could survive.



And Sho.

The third time we met, he was finally himself.
And all he ever said to me was, “Stay away”…

Jun can hardly remember the last time he's felt so drained, so exhausted, when all he ever did today was burn a hole through a corner booth in some diner and listen to Kazunari Ninomiya talk about the craziest things. About himself. About Satoshi. About the roommate Jun hardly even cares for to begin with.

He doesn't even feel bad for calling the guy "mad" and bolting out of there before he starts losing his own mind.

Because the guy himself has started talking about Jun.

As though the little bastard knows him.

Knows everything about him.

Knows too much.

About the family he hardly even remembers himself.

The accident when he was nineteen that wiped his slate clean and gave him a new life. A brand new start.

A name.

An identity—

It's already ten in the evening when Jun Matsumoto opens the door to his apartment. And all he can really think about right then and there is curling up in his couch and lose himself to sleep for a whole goddamn year.

To just put aside this entire madness for a little while, close his eyes, and dream of a better world.

Where Masaki would suddenly jump out of a corner and tackle him to the couch. The floor. The bed. Anywhere…

It feels so strange coming here tonight. To this cruel, merciless reality.

So cold.

So empty—

The pounding headache came over him again today.

He’s always really been having them. From mild, barely-there throbs in his temples, to the deep, brain-crushing poundings that makes him want to just bang his head through a wall.

And he's always naturally assumed it's because of that accident he got involved in when he was nineteen. A phantom memory of the pain he felt when the bus that was supposed to take him from Osaka to Tokyo, tumbled off a cliff and spared him somehow.

He and one other boy.

He doesn't really remember the accident, but he remembers the boy.

Not the name. Not the face. But just that the boy had been there the entire time, holding his hand in a tight, reassuring grip, as he fought through every painful breath to stay alive.

He remembers the pain.

He remembers the comforting words, those soothing whispers."Hang in there, Jun-kun. Just hang in there."

He remembers his name.

Jun. His name is Jun.

This much he knows and nothing more.

Nothing more.

Strangely enough, everybody else remembers the accident.

But not a single soul could tell him about the other boy.

Until Ninomiya comes along and tells him the most preposterous thing—

"That was Satoshi. He stayed with you, because that's just what Satoshi does."

And then the most ridiculous of notions—

"Satoshi has always been the most comforting part of Junichi Okada's split personalities."

And I did… For a very long time, I did…
Until Masaki found me…

Sho has always been quite the rebel.

It doesn't help that between the three of them he also happens to be the smartest, and the most irredeemably perverse.

He once ran his tongue up and down the full length of a handheld mirror, in a bizarre though sensual attempt to make-out with Satoshi.

Stuck the handle of cousin Aoi's hairbrush up Junichi's ass, because there's just so much more to explore about the body they shared than merely fondling balls and dick.

He was fourteen when he eventually stuck his cock into cousin Aoi that one weekend they were left on their own.

Stuck it deep, over and over, that Aunt and Uncle Miyazaki had had to be consoled the very next day with a suicide note forged by Sho for cousin Aoi's sake.

Because cousin Aoi had previously gotten her heart so devastatingly shattered by her lover, she no longer wished to stay alive, and thus hung herself.

It was a heartbreaking letter. The frightened and self-blaming act Sho did to complement it was very convincing, too.

The remorseful ex-lover blamed himself for what happened.

And Junichi and Satoshi were the only witnesses to Sho claiming that nothing has ever made him feel more alive than hearing cousin Aoi's neck break between his own hands.

Sho's heart didn't even skip a beat the entire time.

The following year, Sho sought out their father's mistress and did the same to her. Except, he didn't really bother forging a note this time. He didn't think she deserved it, and instead accorded to her the same respect Mother gave to Father.

Satoshi cried the entire time they were digging what was to become the whore’s unmarked grave. Fully believing Mina Ohno to be the mother he had never met.

"Get a hold of yourself, you dumbass," Sho snapped as he hauled the naked woman into her final resting place. "This bitch has nothing to do with us, so quit being such a baby about it!"

He would also tell Satoshi to drop the 'Ohno' from his name, all because it annoyed the hell out of him. "You are Satoshi. Just Satoshi! You're not an Ohno, dammit!"

There were a host of other things that annoyed Sho back then. And he was the only one among them that had the balls to actually bitch about them. Step up to the plate and decide what should and should not be done.

What should and should not be felt.

They were not supposed to feel guilty for killing those women.

They were not supposed to cry embarrassingly, or laugh stupidly, or show any other signs of weakness to anyone, unless Sho himself said so.

And he did eventually say so.

Said so while wearing his thawed dark heart on his sleeve.

Because when they were seventeen, Kazunari Ninomiya came back into their lives and almost immediately got the asshole in Sho wrapped around his stubby little fingers.

Masaki, that guy… He really did love you, you know?
Almost as much as I did Sho.
Still do…


Jun remembers the brief flash of fear in Aiba's eyes when the guy blurted that word out on the night they were last together.

"What?" he had asked, his brows twitching a little at the way his boyfriend was clasping his hands together like in one of those cheesy romantic scenes where the guy is desperately asking his girlfriend for another chance.

Except his current feelings and the strange expression of wariness on Aiba's face did not really match the image.

"The Latin word for apple is the same as the Latin word for evil. Malum." Aiba puts their hands down, but does not loosen his grip just yet. "The piece of apple in the mouth is the killer's way of saying that the person he killed has wronged him. And yet they really haven't. Because he's merely been projecting his anger on representations of the person who's hurt him the most as a way of sending out a message. Every year without fail on June 17. His beloved's birthday—"

"And you know this how?"

Aiba's lips twitched with indecision. His eyes suddenly wavering to the side as though he was having second thoughts about revealing what he knows.

Jun's temples throbbed with a growing headache, his chest squeezed with a touch of concern. He cupped a hand to the guy's pale, minutely trembling cheek. "Masaki?"

"Nino told me…"


"The killer's beloved. He told me…"

Jun frowns. A brief spark of hatred throwing his heartbeat off track. "When—?"

"I-It doesn't matter.” Aiba grabbed Jun’s face with both hands, looking quietly into his eyes while thumbing the warm blush Jun could already feel sneaking up to his cheeks. “You know I love you, right?”

He gripped Aiba’s wrists, his gaze slipping to his boyfriend’s lips as a silent answer, an open invitation.

Without another word, not even another breath, Aiba leaned in and kissed him.

And nothing else mattered after that.

When he woke up the next morning, Aiba was gone. There was the strange aftertaste of peppermint in his mouth, an email on his phone to put his heart at ease, and the whispered memory of his boyfriend’s final spoken words—

"Please don't let him get me, J…"

But you know all that bullshit they say about good things, right?
That they always have to come to an end…

"I'm not stupid," Sho once told Nino on an afternoon they were lounging in a corner of Uncle Miyazaki's apple orchard, after stuffing themselves full with the apples they swiped off the nearest tree. "I know Mother killed herself that night. It's these two idiots inside me that's been making up all these bullshit stories to protect themselves from the truth."

Nino turned to Sho, and both Junichi and Satoshi swore they felt Sho’s heart stop for the briefest moment when their eyes met. Those soulful brown eyes could look the devil square in the face and win himself half of hell. Nino laced his fingers through Sho’s and Junichi and Satoshi could almost snigger at the way Sho had had to hold his breath, clear his throat, before finally clasping Nino’s hand in return.

"I don't need protecting.” Sho stretched his free arm over his head and stared at the vast blue sky. Just one of the very few habits they all shared. “I like to look the truth straight in the eye and say, 'Kiss my perfect fuckin' ass!' Besides, I am really more suited to protect. Especially now that Junichi’s taken quite an interest in combat training—”

“Boy, aren’t you getting a little too cocky too soon?” Nino sneered, turning to his side, practically laying himself on top of Sho. "I heard your trainor flipped you on your ass ten seconds in."

"Lies!" Sho shrieked, laughing along. Then he sighed, his voice mellowing. “Satoshi has really strong feelings about you, you know?" He brushed his fingers down Nino’s face, a small smile tugging at his lips; his voice a loving whisper that spoke of the truest mutual feeling they all had for this guy. “And now I do, too."

"Hmmm…” Closing his eyes, Nino leaned his cheek trustingly into Sho’s warm palm, his mind drifting away into one of his most precious memories. “Satoshi was my first kiss."

"As was I. By default."

"You weren't even around then yet, you dickhead!"

"How would you know?" Sho snorted, his gaze drifting back to the sky. "I’ve always been around. Just took me a while to wake up, is all. You see, I know it was you who convinced the idiot Satoshi to call the police and tell on our Mother and that body she kept in our backyard.” Nino gasped and tried to pull away, but Sho held him back, held the trembling guy close and tight to his side, shushing, “If it weren’t for you, Mother wouldn’t have killed herself instead of going to prison, and I wouldn’t be here right now… Besides, that woman had it coming.”

Nino barely took a minute to calm down in Sho’s arms. Sho reached up and played with the guy’s messy tuft of yankee blond hair, marveling at how relaxed and content he felt right now just having Nino by his side.

The warmth of another body pressed up against him, fearing him and yet also trusting him blindly, accepting him for everything that he was no matter what.

The sensible conversations. The silliest of chats. The simplest exchange of wordless feelings.

He liked this. He could live with this. He would stay grounded for this.

This kept him human—

"Sho-kun, can I ask you something?"


Nino propped his head up on one hand to stare at Sho's face. "When you are you, like this you, where is it that the other yous go to?"

"Nowhere.” Sho shrugged, like it meant nothing at all. “They stay right here with me. Watching, sensing the world from inside their glass caskets. Dead, and yet alive. Very alive and aware. But only when I allow them to be.” Sho turned to his side and started caressing Nino’s face. He could never get tired of this face. “It’s kind of like in one of those stories you told me before? I've always really liked that better than the mermaid one. It fits us better too, don't you think?"

"You're hardly a Snow White, you dumbass,” Nino joked, flicking Sho’s forehead lightly.

Sho caught Nino’s wrist and with a smirk pressed a kiss on Nino’s fingers. "But you do make a perfect dwarf."

I’m sorry… For what happened to Masaki.

Sometimes when the headache comes, the pounding type, the one with all the fixings, the pain gets so unbearable that Jun is left with no other choice but to let go.

Just let go, fall away and let himself be completely engulfed by its cold dark embrace. Secured in the conditioned knowledge that when he opens his eyes again, the headache will be gone.

But for some reason tonight, he fights it.

He has to because one, he’s not even in his own house.

And two, he doesn’t trust Kazunari Ninomiya—

“I left him.”


Nino has never once looked at Jun the whole time he’s been here. But when he finally does, a rather piercing gaze that says too much of the things Jun feels he ought to know, he is left with even more questions than the answers he came here for.

“He told me to. Well, Junichi told me. It was the first and last time we ever got to talk. He and Satoshi feared that it was only gonna be a matter of time before Sho ends up killing me, too.”

It is taking everything Jun has now to keep his eyes open, the inside of his ears are starting to hum from the pain. He can hardly remember why he even came to this place. Nino called him earlier, asked him to drop by, to talk. To clear whatever bad blood there may have been between them.

He vaguely remembers saying ‘no’. That they knew each other all of two days and shouldn’t really be bothered by whatever little offense they managed to cause each other.

And that he would really rather stay in the apartment and wait for his roommate to come home and confront the guy himself about Nino’s ridiculous claims.

And yet here he is. In Nino’s house. Feeling a lot like he’s just woken out of a dream he doesn’t even remember having.

“Well, did he ever hurt you?”

“No. No. He never did.” Nino insists. “But… there was this certain look in his eyes sometimes… And the way he would squeeze my neck when we… It scared me the first time. But it's really just something he had to do, you know—?"

“Then why did you leave?” Jun flinches a little inside. His own voice sounded rather strange to him. Low, threatening, and accusing. He hardly even knows Nino, yet he feels like the guy owes him a damn good explanation for setting a madman loose with a broken heart.

Pretty irrational thinking, he is vaguely aware of this. And yet…

Masaki’s still dead.

Said madman’s still loose.

The mind-numbing headache is still not letting up.

And they’re both just sitting here. Chatting up a storm about totally trivial matters instead of hunting Junichi Okada down and throwing his split-fucking-ass behind bars.

“I’ve already told your Chief Inspector everything I know,” Nino explains. “He’s already done a background check on your roommate himself. They’re gonna be here any minute now…”

“You left him.” Jun hardly heard anything Nino has just been saying. “He loved you with all he’s got and you left him.” His words are already bordering on a sob, because his chest is suddenly flooding up with too much emotions all at once.

Too many images from his past.

Of himself sitting on that bus that was going to take him to the city.

And the much clearer image of the boy who never left his side—

"Hang in there, Jun-kun. Just hang in there."

His chest begins to tighten. His mind already breaking apart trying to keep up. He rubs his fists to his temples. “You were the reason why he got on that bus. He was gonna search for you. Beg you to come back…”


Oh… Kazu…

Jun hears Nino gasp. And in that brief moment of distraction, he literally slips away from himself.

Suddenly, he is a mere consciousness at the back of his own head. There, and yet not there. Helplessly watching through a glass wall  as Nino tries to run for the door and he catches up to the guy, wrapping an arm around the trembling guy’s neck and whispering into his ear in the same strange voice that no longer belongs to Jun Matsumoto—

”I sure hope you missed me, baby...”

Forgive me… For what I had to do.

Sho was asleep for a very long time following the accident.

From when he boarded that bus to Tokyo with merely the apple he swiped from his uncle's orchard in one hand, and the few yen notes he took from his aunt's fancy pink wallet in his pocket, to when he woke up that one random morning after his new identity had been partying hard all night along with his fellow graduates from the police academy—

The police fucking academy!

He left Junichi and Satoshi to their own devices for a while, and the two idiots have managed to create the very thing that was going to destroy them all.

But he soon found a pretty good use for what he first thought was going to be his weakness.

And as it turns out, he’s been doing things quite efficiently himself.

He’s covered his crimes up long enough to finally see Kazu again…

Those messages he’s been sending out each year on Kazu’s birthday have not been in vain—

I’m back… You know where to find me…

You know I’m doing this for you, right? All for you.

An apple in the mouth, because you’ve hurt me so bad.

You broke me, Kazu. But I love you still. I love you still...

White lace around the neck, to assure you that I’m never touching these men. Just you. Always you...

The missing hearts, well… I run out of apples sometimes...

I know I’ve got the story all messed up now… But you did say I wasn’t much of a Snow White, after all…

“What a strange, strange coincidence Kazu…” he says presently, tossing the peppermint gum in his pocket away. Jun won’t be needing it anymore. “You were really going to be my seventh dwarf, you know? It’s a little earlier than planned. And number six was just an unfortunate segue.” He sits on the edge of the bed and brushes a hand down Kazu’s tear-streaked face, the gag on his mouth, the soft curve of his neck. “But Inohara’s gonna be here any minute now. And I really need to complete my numbers fast…”

He sees the fear in Kazu’s eyes and a smile tugs at his lips as tears start forming in his eyes. God, he loves this guy!

He knows this guy loves him, too.

But all good things, as they say, must come to an end.

“If it helps,” he says, his heartbeat steadily rising, but never missing a beat. “I ain't using no lace ribbons this time…”

Thank you… For everything.

Jun wakes up with a start and takes a moment to remember where he is.

He pulls himself off the floor, quickly noting that his pants and underwear have bunched up around his ankles. He bolts up, frantically pulls his pants back up and ends up wilting back to the floor with a frightened shriek when he catches sight of Nino on the bed.

Nino with his wrists tied up to the headboard.

Nino, with his pants down.

Nino, with a gaping emptiness in his chest where his heart should’ve been.

Jun unconsciously brushes a hand to his lips, his fingers coming up covered in thick, red blood. He starts retching horribly when the sharp, rusty taste in his mouth hits him with the realization of what has just happened.

What he’s just done—

I love you…

It all seemed like a dream to Jun. He was there, he knew he was doing it, and yet it wasn’t him.

It was him who strangled Nino with his own bare hands while he forced himself into the guy.

Over and over until he came. Until he felt Nino’s neck break against his palms. Saw Nino’s blood-red eyes glaze over. Heard his beloved’s final breath.

It was him who sobbed wretchedly, then pressed his forehead against Nino’s, peppering the dead guy’s lips with desperate kisses, brushing his sightless eyes close,  before finally cutting out his heart with a kitchen knife.

And eating it.

He remembered wondering if Nino had any apples in the fridge.

Because he forgot to bring his own.

But then he decided it didn’t matter anymore.

It was done. All done.

It was him. He did it all.

And yet, he was never really there—

I love you…

The police sirens are coming closer now. Chief Inspector Inohara is on his way. He won't be cracking a joke about this either.

Jun has since wedged himself into a corner of Nino’s room, right across the floor length mirror on the opposite side.

His mind, a total blank. His heart, completely frozen.

It feels a lot like he’s seeing himself for the first time—

A masculine face.

Strong jaws.

Big eyes, bigger nose.

Thin, red lips that have always been stingy with smiles.

There’s a bump on his forehead he’s only now remembering about.

Satoshi has always given him shit about it.

All because Junichi was stupid enough to think he could actually do a little sport—

But then there’s Sho.

And Sho has always been able to keep all of them in line.

All four of them—




And Jun.

I love you…

Jun Matsumoto was born on the 30th of August 1999 at 12:28 am.

In a manner of speaking.

Coincidentally, this was also the day Kazunari Ninomiya left Sho.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see…?

I know this, because Tyler knows this.”
In truth, though, I know nothing (not even Tyler xD), so do take everything in here with a grain of salt. ^-^V

***The | music | that helped shape this madness***

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February 2017


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