Pairings: JxIno, hint of SugizoxRyuichi
Rating: PG-15, yes no sex here!
Summary: J has a crush on one of his co-workers in the Flower Shop…
Prologue, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
PS: this story is based on the outline of an original fiction about female vampires and their preys (link), I never write that story down, but the plot reflects upon my thoughts on love relationship, so I wrote it down as a fanfic instead. Plus the vampires in the story are rather humanlike, okay? XD
Shortly after his recovery, J was back in the Flower Shop and continued working there. Shinya, being the nice and easy going guy he was, allowed him to come back despite his long absence. For that, J was more than grateful to the older man.
However, the longer he stayed in the Shop, the stronger he felt how this particular place was affecting him. There were too many memories of Inoran left behind in here. In the small shop, the greenhouse, even the stairs where they used to carry goods up and down. Therefore, the blonde found himself lost in memories of their time together with an alarming growing frequency. It was almost like some kind of a side effect. Whether he liked it or not, he had kept the thoughts of Ino and his images alive in his mind by simply staying here.
From time to time, he found himself talking to no one in an empty shop simply because he still sensed his brown haired coworker as though he was there beside him.
Whenever J caught himself doing this, he would scold himself mentally and swear never to make the same mistake again, but Ino’s presence still seemed to linger around him regardless of J’s own feeling, haunting the blonde’s thoughts with this fading, yet familiar presence.
As time passed by, things didn’t get any better for the blonde man. His case of hallucination, if it could be labeled as such, had increased to a point where there were times when he could swear he had caught sight of Ino’s figure among the thick layers of plants inside the greenhouse.
Sometime J asked himself when this torturous experience would end, or whether he really did want it to end or not. Honestly he had no idea; he could only guess that maybe it had to do with the ‘connection’ Ryuichi had mentioned before, a bond that was forged through the activity of bloodletting between him and Ino.
It was maddening because those delusions had always been so close, so real, when Ino was in fact never truly there. Up until now neither he nor Ryuichi and co. could make any contact with the missing brown head.
What Ryuichi had said earlier came back to his mind.
“What does it mean?”
J’s jaw nearly fell off as he stared at the raven haired doctor in utter shock. His voice was trembling when he finally managed to speak again.
“You said…he has feelings for me?”
Ryuichi raised an eyebrow. Hadn’t he broken the news to J in the most obvious way already? What could he say to make it clearer so the information would get through his thick skull?
“Frankly speaking, I figured that he possibly likes you. It’s not devotion for eternity, I suppose. But stronger feelings than Ino’s would have harbored for most people.”
Immediately, J felt blood rushing to his face as indescribable feelings mixed together in his furiously drumming heart. What Ryuichi had just said put new light upon his experience with the enigmatic brown head. Now everything seemed to make a lot more sense than before. It helped to explain some of Ino’s actions. Plus, this could also definitely explain the unexpected, passionate long kiss Ino had given him before he fed on him.
But how could that be possible? Ino liking him… even though it was what J had always been secretly hoping for, he still failed to understand what he was currently feeling towards the brown haired man when a third party had broken the news as if it was nothing, confirming that Ino probably had feelings for him, that he liked him.
To Ryuichi it probably was nothing significant, but to J it was something big and important to know Ino’s thoughts, especially the brown haired man’s thoughts towards him……
He waited for Ryuichi to continue.
“Did Ino mention anything about his past during the time you two were together?”
Ignoring the misguiding remark, J simply shook his head.
In response to this, the young doctor only nodded with a knowing look.
“To be honest, I am not surprised to hear that Ino never mentioned anything. After all, we long ago noticed that Ino-chan is extremely shy and secretive when it comes to many things. Especially his past and his own feelings. So I’m going to tell you something about him, something that might help you to understand the situation at hand. “
J held his breath and waited for whatever Ryuichi was about to bestow him.
"Ino rarely mentioned anything from his past. Even Sugi and I, who have been friends with him for so long, could tell that Ino-chan, either consciously or unconsciously, was holding something back from us. We tried to help him loosen up, but it just never worked out. All we can tell is that something from the past has made him that way. Whatever his trouble was, it has always been bothering him.”
Knowing Ryuichi was coming up to some important pieces of information, the taller man listened even more closely.
“But from what slipped out of his mouth now and then, once in a blue moon you know, we managed to gather that when Ino was younger, before he met the two of us, he was been in love with someone else. Don’t ask me the details because no one really knows, but anyway, the result of this love affair turned out quite chaotic and traumatic. It seemed what happened back then hurt him badly, and therefore, from that point onwards he just…kept a distance from other people in fear that something similar would happen again if he let anyone come too close."
“That’s the problem?”
J did expect to hear some sort of explanation, but what he had just heard was too far from that.
“You mean that I was…too close?”
“That’s what we figured out. Maybe Ino was feeling insecure about the fact that there finally was someone else who mattered to him. He wasn’t used to such thing… ”
For a moment J didn’t say anything. He found that what Ryuichi had told him seemed to match with what he knew about Inoran. He remembered the ‘dream’ about Ino. He had dreamed of the brown haired man before he woke up from the coma. In that dream, Ino was wandering, hiding in a dark empty mansion which structure was tangled with a decaying ancient tree, all alone. Ino’s thin form was surrounded by a murky veil of sadness and loneliness, but when he tried to reach the other man in this black and white dream, Ino had rejected him rather violently, refused to let him come closer. His reaction was nearly a fearful one…
Ryuichi sighed. He was starting to feel rather ridiculous for playing Dr. Love. He wished that things could be different. His friend could have been more open and brave about his own relationship problems so that he and Sugi would not have been dragged into such a mess. If only Inoran could be honest about his feelings and followed his own heart, his fellow friends would have been saved a lot of trouble. But as usual, the world didn’t revolve around him, so the good doctor had to be patient and dealt with the circumstances for Ino’s sake. That was what friends were for, right?
J was thankful that the raven haired doctor had been honest, but there were still other things in his mind, even more questions to be answered.
“But I have been seeing things after he fed on me…why?”
“What kind of things did you see?”
“Often I sensed…that he was near, and I’ve been having those weird dreams with Ino in them…”
For some reason J felt his own face flushing when mentioning it to the doctor. Not once had he mentioned the lingering presence of closeness or the dreams he had been having to anyone else. He felt as though it was something private, so deep and fragile, like a fine glass which he should guard with the outmost care. Something that he was shy to talk openly about, just like people would not talk about their sexual fantasies or their darkest secrets loosely.
Ryuichi paused for a second before he replied in an understanding tone.
“That’s the effect of a thing we call a ‘bond’, some kind of strong but temporarily emotional connection which is usually formed between two persons through bloodletting.”
“Which means…?” The taller man asked, urging the raven head to continue.
“Our kind can make a temporary connection with someone else, either with a member of the same race or with a human through the exchange of blood. Ino had consumed your blood, and I sensed that he had also let you drink an amount of his own blood when he tried to save you…for that reason you two are bounded, which means you can sense Ino’s presence. He can share some of your emotions and thoughts too, at least for as long as the power of the bond lasts.”
J swallowed unnerved. All of the information was quite difficult to understand, he could not help but asking.
“And then what will happen to me?”
“The Seeing will leave you, and you will no longer have any weird dream after the bond fades away,” Ryuichi replied with an even tone, as if J had asked him of the most uninteresting, obvious thing in the world. “So your life would more or less go back to normal.”
“Wh—What?” J nearly shouted. He could not believe what he was hearing. He could not believe that after Ryuichi confessed so many things, entrusting so many secrets to him, that the next thing he was told was that his life would be ‘back to normal’. “But you said…we had exchanged blood---”
“His blood did nothing to you other than helping you to heal a bit faster,” Ryuichi interrupted quickly. He knew what J was worry about. After all, vampire stories were filled with plots about innocent humans being ‘turned’ into vampires by consuming a vampire’s blood. But as usual, those horror authors had had the details all wrong.
“Don’t worry. Drinking our blood won’t make you one of us. Our kind cannot ‘turn’ a human into our own race.”
Finally, the last of their secret was unveiled. The fact that the method of reproduction of their race was as monotonous as for any normal person and the rest of mammals: breeding through the union of a male and a female.
Comparing to humans, their kind was so very few in numbers it was difficult enough to meet a person of their own kind, even rarer for them to find a life partner among them. As a result, it was natural for them to share a strong, close bond with their partner whom was from the same race. For that reason, Ryuichi had always thought himself fortune for meeting Sugizo, who could share the blood bond with him, allowing the two of them to share a mutual understanding which was not quite possible between a blood drinker and a mortal.
For the same reason, Ryuichi from time to time felt a sense of pity towards Ino, who chose to insulate himself, shutting off the opportunity of forming close relationship with someone else even when a chance presented itself. All out of guilt from his mysterious past.
J didn’t know whether to feel relieved or sad when hearing the news. On one hand he knew he should feel relieved that he was still his own self, but on the other hand he felt some kind of loss in his heart knowing that Ino was from another species and there was no way he could ever be the same as the brown haired man. Probably, he could hardly understand the latter. Back then he had foolishly believed that one day he might understand the other man, but now such belief seemed to be completely pointless.
The taller man found himself speaking his mind aloud before he could restrain himself.
Ryuichi raised an eyebrow challengingly, his tone almost teasing. He had been waiting for J’s response, to know whether he had made a right choice in telling the blond everything. Previously he had meant to throw J off by telling him everything would go back to normal. Now the time of testing the blonde man’s true heart had finally came.
If J accepted his suggestion that there was nothing to be done about the situation at hand, then his path would forever be separated from Ino’s. But if J refused to accept it, then there might be chance for them to bring Ino back, and the latter was the hope that Ryuichi had been hanging onto all along.
J answered with a flash of heated emotion flushing through his eyes.
“I’m not buying it… you saying that everything would be back to normal. I won’t accept it. How can I be the same after all I have already experienced? ”
A real smile graced Ryuichi’s face when he heard this, but he remained silent.
Right now J fixed his eyes on Ryuichi, pointing a finger at him as he spoke on rapidly, furiously. “Ino…you said that he isn’t proud of what he did to me. He’s not a psychopath, so then he must be feeling so terrible about what happened! But you never ever said anything about how to help him! ”
“So what are you going to do about it?”
Seemingly unaffected by J’s accusation, Ryuichi asked in an even, uninterested tone, even though deep down he was satisfied, happy to see J’s concern over his friend.
“I’m going to help him, whatever it might take.” The answer was firm and determined. “I know you’re going to help me with it.”
This time Ryuichi could not hold back a chuckle. “Confident, aren’t you?”
“You know, I have done my own thinking along the line,” J explained, solving out his thoughts as quickly as he could. The more he talked about it, the more he was confident with his own guessing. “And I am positive that you must have thought that I can help him out. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have bothered to talk so many things over with me, am I right?”
Much to J’s relief, the young doctor nodded in response.
What do you think?