Author's Note: This is sort of an evil fic in that I really wanted to write something about Gingetsu's reaction to Ran's death. No resolutions, no redemption. It's short, but it's sad so you might not want to read it if you don't want to read something depressing. Or maybe you like sad fics like I do and that just makes you want to read this even more. In that case, I should probably stop rambling and let you get on with it…

Warning: Warning this fic contains spoilers for volumes 1 – 4 of the manga.

Also, this fic contains shounen-ai so leave if male/male relationships offend you.

A Simple Gift

By samuraiheart


It wasn't that Kazuhiko had been avoiding Gingetsu exactly. He had just found himself conveniently absent for the last couple of days. He didn't know what to say to his friend at a time like this. Gingetsu wasn't very approachable even during the best of times and Kazuhiko couldn't imagine that such a thing would change after such a tragedy.

It had been three days since Ran's death, but the young man had been ill for several days before that. Kazuhiko had tried his best to make himself available during that time and offered his help as much as he could, but since then he had wanted to give Gingetsu a little time to himself to sort things out.

Now, the two of them sat together at a small table near the back of a café. They were relatively isolated from the rest of the restaurant and it was still early evening so only a few customers graced the tables near the counter.

Gingetsu was being very quiet. Kazuhiko was trying to think of something to say – of some way that he could express the turmoil of emotions he was feeling. He needed to let Gingetsu know that he cared about him, worried about him and wanted to help him as much as possible through this difficult time.

Kazuhiko leaned forward just a little, hoping the simple movement could help convey his message. He hesitantly brought one hand up to rest on Gingetsu's hand resting on the far side of the tabletop. "I'm sorry, Gingetsu."

Gingetsu shifted his gaze slightly and seemed to actually be looking at the dark-haired man for just a moment. He looked away almost as suddenly and then bent his head slightly. "It's okay." It wasn't the right thing to say and Kazuhiko sensed that he wanted to say more, but he didn't know exactly what.

Seconds ticked by and the clang and clatter of coffee cups mixed with the dull rumble of customers chattering just far enough away to drown out the words.

Gingetsu let out a soft sigh and began to speak hesitantly. It sounded more like he was saying the words to himself than the man sitting across from him. "Ran always used to leave his dishes lying around… and he would bother me in the middle of the night with such silly questions… and he always seemed to be watching me waiting for me to do something. Sometimes he would just sit near me and lean his head on my shoulder. It was such a gentle show of affection. I never knew exactly how to respond… And the way he would whisper he loved me just before we went to sleep… And the feel of his warm breath against my neck…" He slowly brought his hand up to touch that spot hardly seeming to realize where he was anymore. His thoughts drifted back to the life he had gotten so used to and his voice got softer and rougher as he fought to hold back tears.

Kazuhiko stared wide-eyed at his friend almost afraid to move for fear of disturbing the moment. It was rare to hear words so full of emotion from the other man. It was rarer still to hear such a long string of words from him at all let alone such details of his life with Ran.

"I'm sorry." Gingetsu whispered softly. He shook his head a few times trying to shake off the feelings swimming in his thoughts – trying to regain the control that had always been so important to him, trying to ward off the sadness haunting his soul and the feeling that he was breaking in two. Such loss he had never felt before. Love was something he never thought he needed – he never expected to receive it. He never expected that he could need it so deeply, want it so much, and miss it so much once it was taken away.

Kazuhiko watched with growing disbelief as Gingetsu's carefully applied façade slowly crumbled. It began with the cracking of his voice on those last few syllables and then the barely vocalized sounds of further words that couldn't quite make it past those trembling lips. Then followed anguished breaths that fought to regain a delicate hold on restraint and the slight down curve of lips into a frown that deepened as eyebrows furrowed into something akin to anger and finally melting away into only sorrow. Gingetsu's hand still rested on the tabletop, but it hesitantly came up to wipe away embarrassedly at eyes surely blurred by tears. Kazuhiko saw Gingetsu's shoulders slump for a moment and then shake with the first aching sob. The sound was unfamiliar to him and at first he could hardly believe it. Gingetsu bent forward letting his head tilt down to stare into his coffee cup letting silvery bangs fall just over his visor. Kazuhiko held his breath as Gingetsu brought both hands up to remove the visor, revealing an emerald gaze brimming with emotion that he could no longer hold back. Tears spilled over to slide down his cheeks as quickly as he could wipe them away. He finally gave up and rested his head in his hands as more sobs took over. Shuddering breaths amidst the barely whispered word "Ran".

Kazuhiko stared over at his friend uncertainly. He felt helpless and powerless to do anything. He knew the pain of losing someone you loved and he didn't know how to stop it. With a shrug of his shoulders he decided to offer the only thing he could really give and the same thing that Gingetsu had offered him after his own loss. He reached across the small round table and scooted his chair a few inches forward to wrap one arm comfortingly around Gingetsu's broad shoulders. He wanted to tell him everything would be okay. He wanted to say that Ran wouldn't have wanted him to cry, but he knew it wouldn't matter. He had been in the same situation only a few years earlier and none of those words had helped him then. He couldn't bring Ran back though as much as he wanted to just as no one could bring back Oruha for him. He found himself pulling Gingetsu closer as the sobs faded to more even breaths and eventually quieted completely.

"I know." Kazuhiko said softly. A gift of understanding and companionship wrapped up in two simple words. An underlying sentiment that they would face this together. Maybe that would be enough.

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