AN: If you notice any grammatical errors, please tell me.


Some Time Late 2019

"Hey, long time no see…" A weak smile flashed on his lips just for a few seconds. "Sorry I haven't come see you in so long; work's been harder than usual." His eyes looked up at the round moon in the night sky and sighing into it he felt slightly calmed with the simple knowledge that she was here in some way with him. A wave of resolve had passed through him the second he stepped out of his car and nothing else mattered, not even the late-December cold winds hitting the sides of his face as he stood there in the white snow… A minute passed, and he was reminded of the reason why he was there in the first place.

"You remember that problem I told you about last time…? It's gotten worse. I'm actually on my way down there now." His hands balled up in his pockets, squeaking lightly as leather rubbed against leather. "Kanzato has disappeared. It's caused an uproar and they've sent me to cover everything up and find out who's behind it…" His mind rambled like it often did when on the subject until finally he forced himself to concentrate his thoughts on her. A sigh in the form of a white puff escaped his mouth.

"It's nice coming back home for a change. The city is nothing compared to this…"

Without thinking, he was 18 again.

He was telling Minako that he had to leave Iwatodai, again.

He was saying his goodbye… again.

And he once more felt that pang of guilt in his chest for having to leave her behind.

"I got my acceptance letter this morning. I wanted to open it with you, but I couldn't find you…" Silence. "I got in." His voice was low. He was waiting for some kind of reaction on her part, but nothing. Just the light wind dragging her tied hair and skirt with it. He wanted so badly to touch her, hug her, kiss her, make love to her, all much as he possibly could before they had to separate for whatever length of time.

Akihiko definitely didn't want to leave with these kind of feelings between them.

They had rarely said a word to each other in weeks and the graduation ceremony was tomorrow. He wasn't even sure of what he had done that had started this distance. All he could remember was a certain morning in January where he had woken up in her room like various times before and they talked. She had started describing strange and complex events that had supposedly happened the night before… and the look she had when he asked her if she were confusing reality with a dream, the way her face fell and and her eyes shed afterwards, the way she never smile that lovely, full and radiant smile again; it was all so confusing. He didn't understand a thing and would constantly analyze their words, unable to find what could've upset her.

After that she seemed, lost. During the day time and after school, she would always be busy meeting with people or running around town. And he hated it; the pressure, this necessity of hers to please anyone that would let her in; to pick up the broken pieces of each soul just wasn't healthy. Whenever he would manage to have a moment with her to himself he would notice her eyes didn't radiate the same energy they had before; he could see they were increasingly getting tired, as if she would stay up late to the early hours of the morning, but whenever he would sneak into her room she would be cocooned in her sheets with the tv on low volume as the only source of light and noise in the room, and most nights would be too tired to do more than to make space for him to lay next to her.

But today, he had caught her, and he wasn't leaving (or more like, letting her leave) until they had worked something out. "Minako. Say something." He rose his gloved hand slowly, tempted to touch her, make her react. "Please…" His finger tips rasped against the side of her arm lightly, but it seemed as if he would have shocked her; Minako's head turned to his hand and he saw the way her face flinched, a mix of surprise, and, pain…

Something bubbled inside of him, something that wasn't very good. He was mad to say the least. His teeth gritted and his hands tensed. Without a single thought, he grabbed her shoulder and turned her around harshly, his darkened and crazed eyes meeting her uncertain ones. "Enough is enough Minako! Talk to me, tell me what's bothering you so much." She turned away, frowning. Another spur of anger waved though him but this time he controlled it. "What happened with us? Why are you being like this? I thought we had talked about me leaving already, and you said you were fine with it. You said we would work it out." He could feel the anger in his words replace itself with pleas. His grip on her shoulders loosened and her eyes blinked to his… but there was something different. Slowly, gradually, her expression switched. And her tears fell.

"I love you, Akihiko. I don't want to say goodbye." She whispered, and he wanted nothing more than to hug her and tell her , promise her, swear to her, that everything was going to be okay.

But he was wrong.

Because the next day, in that exact spot in that exact position, he realized, memories intact, that it wasn't okay. That that had been her goodbye.

How many goodbyes will I say to you in this life time?

"I won't be able to come see you for a while. I'm not sure how long exactly. It might be months. But I'll think about you every day… I won't let your death be in vain. I'm going to fix it, so don't worry…"

He took in a deep breath and whispered another, "Goodbye. I love you." before making his way back to the car and continuing his drive.