Strolling through the night sure was relaxing. The sensation of cold wind blowing softly against the face and the lonely road gave oneself serenity.

M-21 was pacing in low speed through the road he usually walked every time he went to school from home. It was always the exact route; he was surprised he hadn't got bored enough yet to find another way. The modified human was accompanied by the dim lights of street lamps and the moving air … and his thoughts.

He had told his boss and Tao, who were in charge of making sure all the household members were at home safe and sound, that he went out to get some fresh air. Frankenstein knew he liked to do it, and he knew he should go home in an hour or else his boss and the others would get worried.

He took a whiff.

It had been three days since their break-up.

Every time he recalled that day, something heavy dawned, pressuring his chest.

The fact that Raizel was the one confessing to him, and suddenly breaking the relationship up irritated the hell out of him. M-21 realized he did some things wrong, but they were purely out of his quandary. At the same time, Raizel not talking it out, just kept everything inside… M-21 must admit he too did the same. Maybe both of them should be blamed for it.

But M-21 had spent some time adapting to their relationship. He made some efforts. Yet it was all in vain and their relationship ended in just a week. And that even occurred when Raizel took him on a date that was supposed to make them closer.

M-21 couldn't help to feel a little upset.

He kicked a pebble that laid innocently in the middle of the road.

That Noble could at least do it at home instead of taking him first to the beach. The distance wasn't that near, so they basically wasted their time and energy only for Raizel to do that. Was Raizel observing his reaction and impression when they were on the beach? He did say that He "felt" M-21's feelings. M-21 was always aware that Raizel knew many things, maybe it was part of His power? Or was He just unbelievably observant, courtesy of living for hundreds of years?

No, forget all that.

Even the reason why the Noble broke up with him was still unclear. M-21 got it, Raizel said that M-21 didn't like Him that much, and now he had to be honest with himself: he indeed didn't see Raizel romantically yet, during the previous week. Though he wasn't sure how he would feel if he sees anyone romantically, since he was certain he never even experienced it, let alone thought of it before.

He was starting to be more comfortable around Raizel when they didn't do questionably close stuff, though. M-21 might not be the most social person in the household, and so did Raizel. But the interactions they had done weren't so bad. Raizel wasn't noisy and nosy like Tao, and He didn't ask him overly private stuff—M-21 was well aware that Raizel tried to be close in friendly way to him, besides the hand holding…

He was nice.

But the thought of himself, every now and then, getting lost and annoyed over Raizel behaving like the new situation didn't concern Him at all added another weight of his guilt. He should've had controlled his emotion better, and being vexed for such simple thing was so petty.

Yet, the lack of communication initiated by Raizel gave birth to uncertainty. A doubtful thought came across his mind that the Noblesse's feelings towards him weren't genuine but—M-21 shook his head lightly—he couldn't judge negatively. He was sure the Noble didn't have any ill intent towards him.

Should he talk to Him? Undoubtedly there was some sort of miscommunication between the both of them, with none willing to share their thoughts.

M-21 let out a sigh over frustration at himself.

Even though the Other also had the same problem, he needed to fix himself first.

"I hate this," The modified human groaned. He ruffled his silver hair and let it be blown by the wind. He lifted his head to look at the limitless blank above him, then sighed again.

He really should talk to Him, shouldn't he? Because the Noblesse didn't look like He would be the first one to do that. The silent treatment he had been receiving from the past three days wasn't making things better. (Good thing none of the household member noticed; it's not like they talked to each other that often, both in and out of relationship.) The modified human didn't dare to be the first to talk to Him out of fear that it might irk Him—and He probably wanted to be alone, too. M-21 at least wished to lift some emotional burden that he built himself involuntarily and know the full cause of Raizel doing what He did days ago.

He had to apologize and clear some misunderstandings, and determined to make the Noble knew His faults too.

M-21 turned his back and leaped home.


M-21 had the chance to go home alone, today. Tao and Takeo went somewhere else and he didn't know whether they went to the same place or not. The children and the nobles went somewhere too; M-21 overheard that they were about to visit Suyi's photoshoot studio, so the nobles might come back home a little late than usual. Oh well. It was nice that the house would be quiet for a while. Frankenstein didn't work overtime today, so he could enjoy the peaceful moment without the children making a mess in his house.

He wished that he could use that moment to talk to Raizel, but he was sure the Noble must be going to hang out with the others. He wanted to finish this matter as quick as possible.

The modified human just made one step outside of school gate when saw the three nobles passed besides him. His heart stopped a beat seeing the tallest of the three.

"M-21, you're going home?" Regis was the first to speak. M-21 nodded, but his gaze was on Raizel. He, too, set His eyes on the modified human.

M-21 wanted to tell the Noblesse that he needed to have a talk, but there were Seira and Regis; they could not know what happened between them.

The awkward stillness between them broke as the black-haired Noble lower His head to M-21, "See you at home."

Huh?

"Ah, yes." The modified human reluctantly bowed.

And so, the three nobles left with the younger two of them exchanging curious look. M-21 stood at his place, watching them walking further.

Raizel finally spoke to him out of His usual habit of keeping minimum conversation with him… Does this mean the silent treatment is over? M-21 had thought about this before, but he had a guess that Raizel might want to talk to him too about the other day. If the Noblesse had self-awareness, that is. Or was He too apathetic to even realize that His way of breaking up a relationship isn't exactly … appropriate? He rarely interacted with anyone; it explains His awkward way of socializing.

M-21 exhaled and loosened a fist he made unconsciously.


It was only two hours and a half since Raizel and friends went to the photoshoot studio. M-21 was sitting peacefully in the living room, no one else was there. It was really quiet.

"M-21?" The boss stepped in from the corner of the corridor end, "Surprising to see you alone."

"What do you mean, I'm alone quite often, you know." The younger man shifted to give space to the homeowner to sit. "I need alone time, too."

Frankenstein chuckled, "Right." He leaned to the back of the sofa, then immediately straighten up his back again, "I'll make some tea. Do you want a cup?"

To which M-21 answered with a nod.

The silver-haired man loosened up his posture, then sighed. The thought of That Person came back to him, again. It was the only thing occupying his mind in the past three days. This really shouldn't have been so difficult, right? Simply speaking out his thoughts and his discomfort of the way Raizel treated him sounds easy.

Well, if He was not a Noblesse, this would be easier. There might be a chance of M-21 offending Him, and that is unsettling… Raizel wasn't the type to kill people out of mere words—that's just too petty, but still His reaction alone worried the human. If the Noble didn't like what he confessed later, M-21 would not be able to handle the tension between them, even though he would apologize if it happened.

No, as long as M-21's polite, there would be no problem, wouldn't it? Raizel is kind. He would be nice enough to listen to him. Everything would be fine.

Frankenstein came with two cups of tea. Was that smell of lychee? "Here's your tea," He put it on table, right in front of M-21. He muttered, "Thank you."

The blonde man replied with a smile and sat down next to him. He took his cup, yet did not drink. "Seems like there's a lot on your mind."

The silver-haired man blinked; cup was down back to the saucer. "Well, not really. Just the usual stuff."

M-21 tried his best to gain back his composed appearance. He could not let his boss to know what really happened and what was his relationship with the Noblesse. He should not know.

"I see." Frankenstein sipped the clear brown drink, then put the cup down. "If you have any problem, don't hesitate to tell me. If it's within my range of problem-solving skill, then it's better to have another voice for input, right?"

No, not really, M-21 whispered in panic mode internally. "It's fine. I can solve this myself. Not a big problem."

"Okay, then." The older man smiled—M-21 had seen too much smiles lately. Frankenstein's smile, he was used to it though, because the man was quite generous with it. But if it was Raizel who did it frequently...

Well, he was starting to get used to it, too. But then the beach happened, and so did the silent treatment that he determined to end today.

M-21 and Frankenstein finished their tea in peaceful silence.

The sound of turning doorknob was heard. M-21 turned his head towards the house's entrance. The three nobles entered the house, looking elegant and classy like they always do.

His silver eyes met another red that were the Noblesse's—and stayed there.

"We're … home?" The shortest noble awkwardly decided to break the unseen tension between the two beings. Frankenstein stood up, cups on his hands, and spoke back, "Welcome back."

M-21 opened his mouth but he ended up clearing his throat, breaking eye contact first. Yet the red pair were still intact on him.

"I'm going first," The modified human spoke, tea cup held on one hand. He stopped by the kitchen to wash it.

When he finally disappeared, the nobles already seated themselves, Frankenstein stood up to again prepare some more tea for his Master.

The younger noble glanced at the corner where M-21 disappeared, a simple thought on mind, but decided to shrug it off.

The night came and the dinner was great as always. M-21 did his routine of washing the dishes (while internally protested about it because Tao, as always, didn't do anything besides talking). He had been getting used to do it faster and more efficiently, with the household members chatters in the background. Or the noisy children.

The children weren't here today, which is good. Less people, less time for him to wait until Raizel was alone.

He took every soaped utensil Takeo gave to him, rinsed it, and put it on the dishrack. Repeat. M-21 had been doing this almost every day, he could do it on auto-pilot and even while talking with anyone else, or even when he was thinking about something else—like when will Raizel be alone so he could talk to him. Yet, even after the last plate he washed, there were still people surrounding the Noblesse. Regis and Seira had went to their rooms, but Tao was still snacking on cookies Frankenstein baked, and the scientist himself was always on stand-by besides Him.

M-21 sighed.

"You okay?" Takeo took off his dishwashing apron and gloves, his eyes glancing at the gray-haired man. M-21 shook his head, "I'm fine. Just thinking about something."

Takeo didn't answer, yet he gave an understanding look at him. The long-haired man then gave everyone a nod before resigning to his room.

One less person.

Tao rushed to Takeo's side, saying he needed to show something to the tall man.

One less person.

Well, he didn't expect that this almost ideal situation came so quickly.

But now, there was Frankenstein. M-21 wondered if he'd go to his lab or stayed with the Master for a while. There was no way that he didn't give Raizel alone time, wasn't it? Frankenstein also needed his own me-time, too. Should he wait with them until Raizel was left alone? M-21 noticed that He usually read while sipping tea at the night, since He doesn't sleep.

M-21, realizing that he had been standing near the sink for a while, hurriedly took a seat not too far from Raizel.

"Master, I'll be in the lab if you need anything," Frankenstein bowed, to which Raizel nodded, before he went downstairs.

M-21 looked at the scientist as he disappeared, leaving only himself and the Person he wanted to talk to, alone.

This is the perfect time!

The human had opened his mouth when Raizel cut him, "It seems that you want to say something."

Was he really that obvious? "…Yes."

The raven-haired Noble put His cup down, then elegantly stood up. "Let's go somewhere else."

Why? There were only the two of them in this room… Yet M-21 decided to follow the Noble, since He showed no hint at stopping.

M-21's brows furrowed as they arrived at the balcony. The air was quite chill.

Raizel turned His entire body to face M-21, His ruby eyes were restful on M-21's. "So, what do you want to talk about?"

"I know you know what I want to talk about," The modified human replied quickly.

M-21 almost regretted his own attitude—almost.

He took a breath.

Their surrounding reminded M-21 of the time when they both stood here, days ago. The wind was more impatient this time; it coldly blew on his skin and slightly made a mess of his hair. That didn't bother him. His attention and mind were set on one Person.

M-21 cleared his throat.

"So, this might be just me, but I felt that you've been avoiding seeing me these past three days."

No respond.

M-21 tried his best to show his neutral face. "Why is that?"

He stopped at the question; he thought it was the best for him to wait until Raizel answered. The truth is he had many things he wanted to say right now. But … patience. Self-constrain. M-21 wanted to control his emotions better. Especially when he was speaking to Him.

The Noblesse let out a breath. He broke His gaze to the side and back to the silver eyes in front of him—calm, yet He felt a faint of strong feeling accumulating behind it.

"I … wanted to give you time to be alone."

The younger man blinked.

"It was the time when I realized that our fondness to each other weren't mutual, I decided to give you some space." Raizel lowered His head, then glanced back. "I didn't want you to be uncomfortable by my presence when we ended our relationship."

In span of few silent seconds, the emotion Raizel felt just then grew stronger, yet his expression remained the same.

"I'm sorry, 'we'? I don't remember getting involved in the end of our relationship," M-21 formed fists and quickly loosened them. Control your emotion. "It was all from Your side."

The Noble faintly frowned, as if He just realized the truth in M-21's words.

M-21 took another breath and released it. He was feeling rather talkative today. "And why did you end it abruptly? In the middle of a date, that is. You didn't even talk about it with me, the reason why did you want to break up."

He caught red eyes faintly widened as the words started sinking in. M-21 half expected such reaction. If he had to be blunt, it was at this moment. "I was another party involved in that relationship."

"I ended it because I knew you didn't like it, M-21."

M-21 knew that Raizel could sense people's emotions. He knew it well. The Noblesse had always spoken up only when needed, and sometimes it was when he was in distress or doubt. Based on such past events, he had had some guesses about the Noble's ability of sensing people's emotions.

But that's not the main problem.

"Well I—" Honestly, even M-21 himself was surprised that he still kept his composure, "—I don't appreciate you not talking things through with me."

Raizel was taken aback when He receive such a glare that He never expect coming from someone like this human. "M-21… When I noticed your displeasure of our relationship, I thought you wanted it to end as soon as possible."

So, based on only that, Raizel decided on His own, what M-21 wanted. "See? 'You thought'. You didn't even talk to me about that. You didn't include me, the other person involved in a two-person relationship."

No sounds except of leaves swiping against each other and the wind that was getting colder. M-21 was sure to carve in his mind that confused and gradually guilty look Raizel made as the realization dawned in Him. He secretly hoped that Raizel wouldn't kill him the next morning—or even now—so he could remember that face longer. He pondered whether speaking too much would be the reason of his death. Though, he didn't think that Raizel would be that extreme over an argument.

Raizel lowered His head, the floor seemed interesting. Waiting for Him to say anything took longer than M-21 thought that he unconsciously softened his gaze.

"Then, why didn't you tell me before that you didn't like me?"

That question took him by surprise.

"You said you wanted me to talk things through together, but you accepted me despite your heart saying otherwise."

"That…"

Crap. M-21 was at loss for words. That question … Raizel did have a point. He couldn't call out the Noblesse for not saying anything when he was also the same.

M-21 did have a reason. But there was no way he'd tell Him that he was afraid of Him. He was afraid that the Noblesse would only see him in negative light if he rejected Him. M-21 thought simply complying to Raizel's wish of being in a relationship was an easy thing to do rather than making himself look like an ungrateful person for everything that the Noblesse had done for him. Raizel had, after all, awakened and protected him… Even he was so grateful for having a place to sleep, because he was sure it was the Noblesse's suggestion for Frankenstein to take him home.

By the time Raizel asked him out on a date, M-21 realized that forcing himself to date someone he had no feelings for is almost impossible of a thing. Almost.

"M-21."

M-21 said nothing as Raizel showed a hint of—what would he call it—regret?

"I wish you weren't forced to be in a relationship with me. I wish you were honest."

As He uttered the words, M-21 felt something wet and cold trickled his cheek and hand from above—but he was not distracted, not when he slowly felt a throbbing pressure on his chest, grasping his heart as if it reminded him that he was also guilty for what had happened.

He was not ready to tell Raizel the truth.

He lowered his gaze. "I'm sorry,"

"No, I'm sorry." Raizel stared at the sky as it slowly released its drops, then back to M-21. "I was guilty too. Everything you said made me realize that."

M-21 glanced up to the Noble. He knew Raizel was at fault too, yet … he wished he could tell the truth to Him. But the thought of the Noblesse detesting him was something he wanted to cast far away. M-21 was glad the Noble dropped the topic.

Raizel stepped closer to M-21.

"I promise I will do better next time."

"Ah, me too." The human gave a reluctant nod.

M-21 saw nothing over the blank, yet somewhat soft expression Raizel gave to him. He secretly hoped that it meant Raizel held no hostility towards him. Raizel was, after all, always a Man with few words, and even fewer expressions. That alone was a reason why He looked distant to anyone else.

"Also," He quickly added, "thank you for talking about this with me."

There was the smile M-21 hadn't seen in a while. He couldn't help but to give another nod.

Raizel turned away from M-21, "We have to go in now. It's starting to rain,"

As Raizel walked away, M-21 remained in his spot, a hand on the balcony fence.

Now that M-21 had cleared things up, the weight that previously occupied his mind had disappeared. He was glad enough that there was no hard feeling between them; at least it seemed so. He let out a content sigh, followed by a faint grin. As the rain began to get heavy, he turned to go inside, following Raizel a few meters behind.

He stopped when something came to his mind.

"Wait … 'next time'?"

Raizel turned, then nodded to the bewildered M-21 with a smile.