I hold his hands, feeling the rough palms, the weight of his fingers, until he pulls away, and all I feel are his fingertips escaping mine.

I wonder how long he'll have two hands for me to hold or two legs to walk?

My eyes stayed downcast, escaping the portrait being painted right in front of me. I don't want to see. I don't want to look, for I know if I do I could not let him go.

The door to the cage was open.

"Okay little man, this is where we split." His scratchy voice cuts through the air smoothly, nonchalantly, like this was an everyday occurrence. And maybe it was. Maybe we did do this more often then I'd admit. Sometimes our positions are reserved, but the feeling is always the same.

It was always like dying. As if Senji would take my life as he or I walked away, either way, and I'd be hallow, lifeless, until I saw him, sometimes bloody and sometimes perfect, coming by with a lopsided grin, and I'd breathe, I'd suck in so much air I'd cough. But the feeling of warm large hands rubbing up and down my back, the small panic of words and questions being thrown my way. It was so sweet to hear that type of concern, because maybe I'll never here it again.

And that scares me. That scares me with all my damn fucking, messed up mind and body.

"Hey...! D-don't cry on me..." He stutters, hands grabbing my face awkwardly, but I can't. I could never hold my tears in.

"Be careful, okay?" My vision is blurred, but I can see his gray eye, only one, soften, a small smile forming, only for me. Just for me.

"It's kinda insulting at this point, Ganta." He ruffles my hair, eye closed and smile wide. He was never good with words, but I'm not either, so I understand. I understand. But he was put in there because of me once, and the slightest chance of him returning makes me want to vomit.

"Yeah," I laugh unsteadily, "I...just..."

His smile falls immediately, and he looks at me. He just looks at me, face loose and concentrated, eyebrows pulled together, lips tightened in a line. He opens his mouth, but closes it, face scrunched up, almost like he's in pain. His hands are still on my face, and I'm waiting, waiting for him to pull away, for him to take my life again.

But instead he pulls my face up.

And, he kisses me. In a fast move, his chapped lips pressed against mine and parted, faces so close as he pulls back, and I snap and hug him. I throw myself at him, my weight being nothing that will knock him over. Our height difference is ridiculous, but I like it. Just how I like a lot of things about him, but that's for another time.

He loosens my hands around his neck, knowing I won't pull back first. His hands slide from my elbow to my hands as he pulls them from around his neck, and he only holds my hands for a second, until he lets go with a small, endearing blush.

I wiped my face with my sleeve. I should be confident, I should know he won't die in there, I should believe in his strength, strong enough to never play a round in the penalty show for now. But I don't feel that way. I never feel that way. In this jacked up fuck hole, they could decide to change the rules to anything, like one won't win until the other is dead. Well, maybe not that since I think we deadman are their "precious little toys." But stuff has happened and can happen, and I'll never know when. So when he kisses my cheek and I mutter a "good luck," and he walks away, stepping into the cage that will take him close, but so far away from me, I die.

And I won't live until he's by my side, tangible.

It's definitely the look on his face. He's small, and he might look vulnerable, but I'll never tell him that.

He reminds me sometimes of those scared kids I would run into when I was on duty as a policeman. They would always lose their moms, the little brats. Their eyes were wet and big, glazed over and frantic.

You see, Ganta looks like he has lost something. His eyes are wet, big, and lost. The only difference between him and those kids is that he's not searching for anything, not how the kids' eyes searched for recognition in someone's face. Ganta's eyes don't search, and it's the look on his face that makes me want to just...


He only ever looks like that when we part, and only if I was smarter, or knew more about stuff like...relationships then maybe I'll know why. Maybe I can stop it, whatever it is.

I don't ever feel like I know what I'm doing. It's only this gut feeling I'm pursuing, a gut feeling to stay close to him, to make sure he's okay. It's always started in my stomach, a warm feeling that travels up, that tingles and grabs my lungs, clawing its way up and up to somewhere I'm not sure. And it started with a smile for my safety, a small, relieved, smile. And hey, we're all fucked up, why not be fucked up together?

Because after all the bullshit that's happened, he makes me want to fight. He makes me want to live, and I'll do...we'll do just that. It's as if he screams louder than my bloodlust, louder than the shrieks in my blood, itching to kill, itching to fight. Ganta makes me want to fight for a different reason. He makes me want to fight to live, not survive.

We'll live together, be it here, in a dead end, or be it there, in the cruel world just as messed up as it is in here, because I know that the outside world is no different. It might take a different form, might look like a different monster, but all monsters have the same characteristics. But I'll take the façade of freedom over the chains any day.