I.


"But it's cold."

Rika said in a small voice, his eyes already closed, his body warm with oncoming sleep, damp-fresh from the shower; fatigue made him dead weight.

"Jerk, get out of my bed, I'm not sleeping with a guy." Hiro sat up, pushed his hair back from his face with irritated fingers. He looked down at Rika. He looked around at their room, silence shrouding the desks that were positioned so that the two boys would study with their backs to one another.

He looked at Rika's own, neatly made, empty bed.


It was September ninth. Hiro took out Tetsu's diary to read the entry for that day, as he did every day. He placed the diary on his desk and sat down in front of it, on a wooden chair. He opened it. The balls of his bare feet brushed the floor. He wore simple, clean cotton pyjamas; he would put on the pressed shirt and button up the jacket of his school uniform later. It was a morning ritual, the ghost of Tetsu somewhere in the words. A shaft from the window illuminated the page; it was a bright square of white.

He'd asked Anji, "Did you know Tetsu? Tetsu Natsume? When you were a first year he was in third. He was kind. He would have seemed nicer than me."

The older boy had smiled, lips curling in the corners. "I didn't know anyone like that."

A shaft of light from the window illuminated the page.

It was a lined diary. Tetsu had a neat, functional script.


September 9th: Hiro, save me.


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