The evening was a blur to Gao. He felt so desensitized. It made sense, more or less, it was the anniversary Yota's death. How many years had it been since he lost his brother? As much as Gao tried to hide how much it affected him, whenever the anniversary came around, it was difficult. So when Gao said he was going out for a drive, no one stopped him. His family knew he needed to cool down. Friends knew he needed space.
After a while on the road, Gao began to feel numb again. He shook his head in an attempt to clear his mind, but it was rather unsuccessful. He kept fazing in and out of focus. At the back of his mind Gao knew it was dangerous to drive like this, but he also didn't want to stop the car, like his feelings would catch up to him if he did. So he speed on, letting himself wander as he drove.
Gao was so out of it, he almost didn't notice the flashing lights in his rearview mirror. Almost, being the key word. He glanced at the mirror, then the speed dial which was already decreasing, cursing under his breath as he did so.
"Just my luck." Gao mumbled as he slowly brought the car to a stop on the side of the road. Surprisingly, he didn't feel nervous or distressed, just depressed, and a bit annoyed that he had to stop in the first place. Part of him wanted to hit the gas pedal and just keep driving. Gao was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't notice the tapping on his window, which he had neglected to roll down. Coming back to his senses slightly, Gao rolled down the window. He couldn't really see considering how late it was so he decided to keep his eyes forward.
"Do you realize how fast you were going?" The cop asked. Something about the voice seemed familiar to Gao. Not really trusting himself to say anything he shook his head, hoping the cop saw the motion.
"I'm sorry. What?" The cop asked. Clearly not seeing the motion. A little bit of frustration boiled up in Gao, but he chalked it up to being agitated today. Where had he heard that voice? It was so familiar.
"Not sure," Gao finally said. "Fast enough to die hopefully." Gao blinked at the end of his sentence, what had he just said? He straightened himself from his sitting position and slapped himself in the face, he really needed to snap out of this.
"Sorry about that." Gao mumbled. "Um, do you need something from me officer or can I go, because I should really probably get home."
"Gao?" The officer asked. And then it clicked, the way he said his name.
"Tasuku?" Gao questioned back.
"Darn it Gao what are you doing? This isn't like you, acting all risky. Wait never mind, let me rephrase. This isn't like you, being unnecessarily risky." And with those words, some of the fogginess in Gao's mind seemed to be pushed away.
"Sorry man." Gao laughed off a little. "Don't really know what's wrong with me today."
Tasuku gave Gao a look of concern. "My shift just ended a couple of minutes ago and the station is only a few minutes away, follow me there, then I'm going to drive you back to your house okay?"
"What about my car?"
"We'll take your car, I need to leave the police car at the station and I took the bus to work today. And before you can even mention it, I'll just spend the night at your house, okay?"
Gao looked like he wanted to protest, but ended up just nodding his head.
After following Tasuku back to the station, he got out and waited for him outside the car. Couple minutes later, he came out dressed in regular clothes.
"Ready to head home?" Tasuku asked.
"Yeah, I suppose, but can't I drive?"
"No way. Not after the stunt you pulled today. Consider it payment for not being given a couple hundred dollar ticket." Gao paled a bit at the statement before nodding his head.
"Actually…" Gao blushed, "I'm kind of hungry, so could we maybe stop and get something to eat?" As if to confirm his statement, his stomach growled.
Tasuku chuckled before agreeing to stop for some fast food. Tasuku did all the ordering before tossing a bag to Gao.
"Chicken sandwich, not exactly takoyaki, but I think you should like it."
"Thanks man." Gao said before taking a bite. His face lit up as he ate some food, he hadn't really eaten properly today. "Oh, this is the best. I owe ya one!" Tasuku laughed at his antics before driving off towards Gao's house. The car ride back was silent, but not uncomfortable. Sitting next to Tasuku and eating his sandwich Gao seemed to unwind. Tension he didn't know he had left his shoulders, and his mind seemed to clear from his previously depressed state.
By the time they got back it was pretty late. Opening the door, Gao's dad rushed into the hall.
"Hi dad, sorry I was out so late." Gao said.
"I hope you don't mind if I stay the night Mr. Mikado." Tasuku piped in. Gao's dad seemed to analyze the situation before sighing.
"Not at all, make yourself at home Tasuku, don't stay up too much longer you two." Both boys nodded their heads before heading up to Gao's room.
When they got to the room Gao flicked the lights on and began making a bed for Tasuku.
"You know," Tasuku suddenly spoke, "you can talk to me about today."
At this Gao froze, should he say anything? Tasuku, seeing Gao stiffen, gave a small sigh.
"But it's not like it's a requirement or anything." Tasuku continued.
"N-no, it's fine." Gao started tentatively, sitting on the bed. "It's just that…today, it's the day Yota died. After all these years I still can't quite control my emotions on this day. It's something I need to get a handle on."
"It's okay to miss him." Tasuku consoled, sitting on the bed with Gao.
"Yea, you're right I suppose." Gao said smiling at him, though the smile was betrayed by the tears in Gao's eyes. Tasuku wrapped his arms around Gao to give him a hug.
"And if you ever need to talk to someone I'm here. Just don't do something stupid next time, because I might not be there to stop you and it might end worse than some speeding ticket."
Gao nodded in his embrace and Tasuku could feel a wet spot forming on his shirt, not that he cared. "Thanks man. I mean it." Gao said. With that relief flooded Gao's system and he hugged Tasuku back tightly. It felt nice, to have someone to lean on, he tried to protect everyone, to be the strong one. But every once in a while he supposed it couldn't hurt, just to snuggle in Tasuku's embrace.
They sat there for who knows how long. Tasuku running his fingers through Gao's hair. Eventually Gao fell asleep, snuggled against Tasuku, feeling refreshed and like he could once again face tomorrow head on. Tasuku followed not too long afterwards, gentle laying them both on the bed, happy that he could help someone so precious to him.
About an hour later Mr. Mikado came in, taking in the sight of the two boys on Gao's bed. He let out a small smile before turning off the light and gently closing the door behind him.