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A note from drac

  Saya snorts herself awake into her sheets and opens her eyes. She was in bed, a good start. She glances around her apartment for a moment, still at home.. she rolls onto her back and presses the palm of her hand against her forehead, the headache already starting. Saya groans, trying to remember yesterday.
  It starts as a trickle, but in reverse. Lan gave her beer, how many she drank, who knows. And Gregg. He's leaving, she remembers. She turns back onto her side and pulls herself into the fetal position, “Oh God, that's right..”
  
The rest comes after the sucker punch of Gregg's announcement, they had sushi, she talked to Lan and Reo.. Saya sits up in recognition that one of them may know something, only to regret it as her head throbs at the movement.
  “Ah! Shh.. shoot.” she grabs her head again, turning and planting her feet on the floor. The blanket on top of her puddles around her ankles. She looks at her bed, one hand against her forehead, the other at the back of her head, squeezing, a trick she learned from her mother.
  
Backwards. She had slept backwards last night? She had done that before, it wasn't a new practice, though once she started teaching she made it a habit to limit how often it occurred.
  
What's the last thing you remember? She thinks, sushi, Gregg, park, school, train, crying.. She looks over at her entryway and grimaces at what appears to be a hole in the drywall, and out to the.. porch?
  
Saya looks out at her balcony and the railing. We talked. He gave me booze?
  
She stands up and drops her arms for a moment, looking on the balcony and in her trash for empty cans and finds none. No evidence, no crime. Like he'd ever.. Saya wants to laugh but winces as her head throbs again and she slaps her hands back where they were, squeezing hard until the pain goes away temporarily.
  
Saya digs out the pill bottle from a cupboard, pours herself a tall glass of water, and shuffles back to her bed, taking the pills and downing the entire glass before laying down oh-so-slowly as to not trigger the throb in her brain.

  Water, ibuprofen, water, rest, call in sick, ow.. ask what happened..

  She did three of those five things and lay back down in bed . The rest would have to wait.

  Lan walks up to the complex, his phone rumbles in his pocket as he looks at his watch for the notification.
  
Are you coming home for Mountain Day? It was from his father. For him to use texts.. he doesn't want to talk to you any more than you want to talk to him, Lan thinks.
  
He hadn't planned on going home for it, holidays didn't mean much to someone who didn't remember which day of the week it was. But it had been quite a while since he visited Hiroshima. Therapy left him feeling good for the first time in a long while, so why not?
  
His first thought was how he could continue drinking in the Satake household. Lan's father kept a stocked pantry of liquor, and Lan wasn't.. unfamiliar with sneaking a drink or two. There were the pharmacies nearby he could hit up.
  
Who the hell thinks like this when they're traveling? Anyone else would think of clothes, toiletries. No, you need to know where your alcohol is, he grumbles to himself.
  
But he can make it work. He pulls his phone out of his pocket and looks at the text conversation with his father. It's littered with his father texting Lan, and minimal responses in return.
  
Lan thumbs the microphone icon and dictates into his phone: “Yeah, I'll be there.”
  
The phone prints it out as he presses send, stuffing the phone back into his jeans as he looks up at his apartment, then to Saya's.
  
He ambles up the stairs and stops in front of her door. His fingers tap along his thigh, thinking about what to say. Lan knocks lightly on her door, not knowing if she was even home.
  
Steps thudded slowly towards the door as she starts unlocking from her side. Lan didn't get hangovers anymore, a perk of being an alcoholic, on the flipside, fuck, she must feel terrible, he thinks.
  
Stepping back from the door as it swings open, she looks up at him, blinking the sun out of her bleary eyes. Don't laugh, god damn you, he chides himself. She looks utterly destroyed.
  
“Oh, Lan.. I--”
  
“I'm sorry! I didn't mean to wake you..” She shakes her head and runs a hand through her messy hair. It was cute in a I-feel-sorry-for-you kind of way. “No, no.. it's..”
   She opens the door wider and stands up in front of him.
  
Can we talk?” they ask each other, at the exact same time.

--

  Lan walks in and steps on the heel of his shoe, then the other, standing in socks as Saya closes the door. He feels terrible, watching Saya shamble her way back into her apartment. He follows meekly behind, she turns into the kitchen to start the kettle.
  
“If you don't want to, today, we can..” he says, rounding the corner. Saya looks at him, but he can't tell if it's contempt or why-the-fuck-are-you-here.
  
“I.. I can do that. For you. If you want.” Lan points at the kettle, she shakes her head and keeps her hand on the handle, just waiting.
  
She looks so tired.. “Please, I can.. I insist.” He holds his hand out over the kettle over hers, “Where's the tea? And the cups, you can do that. You can do that, let me do this.”
  
Saya looks up at him, squinting. This motherfucker did this to you, she thinks, but she relents, that's not fair, letting go of the kettle and pulling out two cups. Opening the cupboard, her hand hovers over a box of loose tea leaves and one next to it of teabags. This isn't a ceremony, girl, you don't need to put on airs.
  
How wordlessly they move about her kitchen, she peels open one teabag, then another and drops them in the empty mugs. Gregg hated tea. Saya stands next to Lan for a full minute, looking down at the two empty mugs. It's only the whistling that brings her out of it.
  
He reaches over and turns off the heat, picking up the kettle and nodding towards the cups. “Did you.. wanna sit, or.. I mean we could just have it here..” Saya links her fingers through the mugs and motions towards her living room.
  
Her eyes flick up at him from under her brow, still mildly pissed at the intrusion. He looks down at the kettle, panicking. She had a coffee table, but she didn't have an oven mitt, or a pl..
  
Lan grabs a ceramic coaster from beside her sink and starts out after her.

  He pours the kettle's contents into her cup first, then his, setting it down on the coaster. It didn't fit, but it kept the hot metal off of the wood.
  
And they wait. And if she was uncomfortable, she wasn't showing it. She just looked tired to him. He curls his fingers around the mug looking down into it, “I'm sorry.. if.. you feel bad. I wasn't.. I didn't think about the alcohol content when I offered the beer.”
  
When she doesn't answer, he squirms a bit, only made to feel more awkward. “I..” drink a lot, he thinks, but his throat catches before he can say it. Lan desperately doesn't want to tell her his problems. His flaws. Thankfully, she sighs and shakes her head a bit.
  
“It's not your fault, it's just been.. a very painful day, I guess.” Saya rubs her forehead with the palm of her hand and raises the mug up to it, holding the hot cup to her skin.
  
One eye closed, she looks up at him as she sets the cup down. “What did we talk about? I remember part of it, I'm sorry I unloaded on you about Gregg.”
  
Gregg. Who was Gregg? He thinks, really straining to try and remember. Her boyfriend? No, her.. ex.. the rest is a blur of impenetrable fog. “It's alright, everyone needs to vent somehow..” he murmurs.
  
Pushing his hair back out of his vision, he looks around her room, the first room outside of his own and his therapist's office he had been in for quite a while. Pictures of her family lined a bookcase, they looked happy, not stiff, like his were. She also had quite a number of books. Lan wonders if she had read all of them. A few catch his eye as he leans forward to read the titles.
  
“Oh. You read Murakami?” She nods, looking behind her at her bookcase. Saya had a few of his novels, some even hardback. “Did you follow him before 1Q?” he asks, 1Q84 was a mouthful anyway.
  
“Yeah, someone.. recommended that I read Norwegian Wood, and I loved it.” She smiles a bit and takes a sip from her tea. “He's a great writer, but everything he writes seems so..” Saya pauses, as if trying to find the right word. “Defeatist? Does that make sense?”
  
Lan nods, leaning back. “He's not the most.. happy.. of authors.” He notices one other which actually gets him to shift out from under the table and crawl towards it, tilting it out of the shelf and pulling it out.
  
He turns it over in his hands as Saya watches, almost like reverence, she thinks. Murakami was an expected interest, an expected compliment.. He smiles down at it and turns it to her, Ichigo Takano's Orange.

“You have my favorite story.”

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About the author

drac

Bio: apologies for everything about me, it might get better.

updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)

feel free to come hang out in the discord, if you like.

[email protected]

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