[When You Gonna Learn]


I pushed the door gently, it let out a small squeak, got stuck, and I gave it a harder shove. It swung open, slamming against the wall, paint flaked off from it, falling onto me. The place was empty, not only of people, but it looked like it had been packed up.

'He's gone. On the run.'

I turned around and recognised the woman as one of the people that lingered around here a lot. She offered me a cigarette and I gladly took it, letting her light it for me. On the run? Funny, I left just before him then. We both left for something better.

'Did he take the girl with him?'

'Looks like he did. Don't see her around anymore.'

Well, at least someone knows the road to happiness, right? Whether they get away or not, they'd still die happy. That punk was a helluva lucky guy, coming to think about it. I could never again love a woman that much… never again. I couldn't help comparing every woman I met with Asuka, or as Aya said, hoping I would find another Asuka. Foolish.

I got away from the backstreets. I no longer needed to be here, I had a home again. Just before going home, I went to the doctors for a check up. The psychiatrist was rather puzzled by the sudden ending to my recurring nightmares, but I wasn't. I knew perfectly why it stopped.

I declined the methadone they offered me.

It might have seemed stupid, but I didn't want the side effects. My body was already feeling rather stuffed from all the medication, dope and whatever treatment I had, I didn't feel like having another chemical suppressing my nervous system further. Ever had an operation before? Know the feeling when the anesthetic just spreads inside you and everything goes numb? And how you feel rather wanky for a few days afterwards? That was a bit like how I felt. I could unhook without any help. I had the will; I could do it without those orange tablets. Perhaps I was setting myself a test, I didn't know, but I just wanted to see how tough Kudou Youji could be. I just wanted to know. If I could get through this without help from chemicals, then perhaps I could call it an end to what happened and move on.

'Youji-kun, you really shouldn't be moving around. Where did you go?'

'I broke an arm, not a leg, and I'm not handicapped.' It looked like I wasn't needed in the shop. 'I'm going back for a lie down.'

'We'll fetch you for pizza yeah?'

'As long as I'm not paying.' I grumbled, grabbing some cattelyas on my way out. A few flowers would liven up my home. In the end I never asked why they stocked the cattelyas, but there were some things that need not to be said aloud.

'I will. Afterall, I didn't pay you back last time.'

Omi remembered. How sweet. 'I'll be asleep, just wake me up when you come.'

Oh hell.

Oh hell.

I bit on the pillow. When was the last time I had an injection? Two nights, three nights ago? Before my identity was exposed to the Shirakawa Cooperates, before the meeting where I found out who the Pope was. I had some that night.

I need another one.

Everything hurt. Everything. Even my hair seemed to scream at me with each movement, my joints half stuck, feeling like rusted hinges when I tried to flex out. The sheets were already soaked with my sweat, then tears came for no reason. My body was out of control. It went into spasms despite the stiffness, it was cold even with the heating turned right high, it shook, it jerked even though it hurt to move. Saliva ran from my open lips, my jaws wouldn't close, my throat wouldn't swallow.

Oh man, when would this end?

I need the stuff.

Shut up, you don't need it. You never needed it. Get a move on, my man.

My door opened. 'Omi said you're tired so we ordered delivery instead. Wake up.'

Oh no. That was Ken. He didn't see me like this did he?

'We'll wait for you outside.'

No. He didn't see me from the door because I was buried in my sheets. I lost the strength to move. I tried to call out to say I would be there in a minute, but my jaws wouldn't work. I was on my bed, not in control of myself. I must get up. They are waiting… must kick away this goddamned withdrawal. I could smell garlic bread and pizza. In a few more minutes they would come in to get me up again…

Mental messages from my brain did nothing to my body. The spasms only intensified, and I felt myself hitting my head on the headboard of my bed. If only I could knock myself out. Tears stilled flowed, and like an idiot I was, twisting and turning on my own bed, wide awake, couldn't restrain my own body, mouth open, sweating… I need I need I need…

'Youji-kun! We aren't going to wait!' Omi's shout found its way into my room, once again I tried to answer, and nothing came but a low moan.

'Are you getting up or not.'

Aya. No, just keep out of my room. Don't walk in here. No, don't come in!

'Oi.' He pulled the blanket from me. 'Wake up.'

Shit. A blurring of red appeared before my eyes, I couldn't see properly with the water mist hung over my eyes, but I knew it was Aya. Who else would be red.

'…Youji, are you…'

As if to answer to that question, I jerked involuntarily, my head hitting on the board again, bang bang bang bang like an imbecile. This was the last thing I want, to let any of them see me this way… but I couldn't help it… damn…

'Youji!' He held me by the shoulders to try to stop me. 'Youji! What's wrong with you? Answer me!'

There was a rushing of feet. Aya's shouts brought Ken and Omi into the room as well. This is not good. I didn't intend to let things turn out this way. Shouldn't have told Omi to come and wake me. What are you going to do now Youji? They'll demand an answer and…

'Call Manx.' Aya instructed the two, wrapping me in the blanket to prevent further movement that could hurt me and my casted arm. I just stared, water pouring from my eyes, some flowing to my lips, letting me taste the saltiness before escaping with my saliva, drenching the pillow.

By the time they got hold of Manx and demanded the answer from her, my body had worn itself out enough to stop. I gasped for air. Inhaled and inhaled and inhaled like I had been starved of oxygen as they watched me. You would never had imagined Kudou Youji this way. What are you feeling now? Concern? Shock? …Disappointment? The kitten you got back home got hooked on the very same stuff that you set fire to, along with the production factory. There had to be some disappointment.

Aya slammed down the phone, glaring that cold-enough-to-kill glare at me. But it wasn't the way he looked that pained me, it was what he said. 'I'm so disappointed in you.'

See? I knew it.

'Why didn't you tell us. On heroin. And you didn't tell us?'

Ken and Omi's eyes went very wide, and Omi knelt a knee on my bed, coming closer to me. 'On heroin?'

'Who do you think we are!' Aya pressed me down by my shoulders. Not that I was trying to move, I was too tired, too limp to do anything except lie flat on my bed. 'You kept this from us?'

I… I just didn't want you to know. I couldn't even face myself being addicted, and I – okay, to tell you the truth, I didn't want to admit that I was hooked.

'Let us help you.' Ken half knelt down beside me, smiling gently, his baby powder smell hitting me again.


'If you consider us as friends, then you should let us know.' Aya held my shoulders tighter, holding my gaze as well. 'That's why I was disappointed.'


'Now I know why you passed out last time. Youji-kun, sometimes I just can't believe how stupid you are. How did you think we'd react?'

Stupid me.

I must have forgotten how it felt to be with my friends again. My friends with their white wings… I should know by now.

I grinned. ' I smell pizza.'

So let me put myself in their hands, knowing that I would be comforted, safe from all that could harm me.

'We did one of those "choose your own topping" thing. Prawns, mushrooms, pepperoni, extra cheese – '

'No kidney beans I hope.'


Love you guys. Hope you'll understand, though I'll never say it out loud. Some things don't need to be phrased in words.

'Kind enough to move the things in here to eat? I don't wanna move.'

'Alright alright, lazy ass. By the way we're out of coffee.'

'I'll get more.'

And oh, thanks for the cattelyas.


chapter twelve
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