Title: Getting Off Track, take 4
Warnings: Off-screen death
Summary: Ryougoku gets a nasty shock, and Roppongi will do what little he can to make things better.
If he had wanted to put it in words later he might have said it was like being struck by lightning. Even for him, putting the feeling honestly in words was impossible. The feeling of impact hit his whole body at once, without warning, knocking the breath out of him as the whole world went black.
When the world around him came back into focus he found that he had stumbled, instinctively bracing himself on a pillar for support. He heard someone on the nearby platform scream, the sound of it oddly belated. The words were distorted by his dizziness.
It was already over, that sharp feeling of blackness and pain. And yet Ryougoku oriented towards the source of the sick feeling and the rising tide of sound. He was too close to reason the morbid need to know out of his head.
They didn’t even realize that something was wrong until they went looking for Ryogoku. The Miracle Train wasn’t impacted by delays along the normal lines, so it wasn’t until they visited the missing station and saw one of his platforms was closed off to deal with an ‘accident’ that they knew something like that had happened.
“Is he helping?” Shiodome wondered, and took a few steps towards the closed platform before Shinjuku caught him and dragged him back.
“We’re going to check around the entrances,” he said shortly, keeping one arm tight around the smaller boy’s shoulders to hold him.
“I’ll see if he’s with the clean up crew,” Toucho announced, taking responsibility for the area they all knew none of them wanted to enter. “You two check the other platforms.”
Roppongi could only nod, his throat too tight to speak. They always felt the shock when something drastic happened in one of their stations, but usually it was dulled by being on board the Miracle Train, outside of normal space. If Ryougoku was here at the time, how much could that shock have hurt him?
He was startled by Tsukishima’s hand on his shoulder, not realizing until then that he had been standing frozen.
“Someone should wait on the train for him, in case he goes back.”
Roppongi recognized that he was being given a way out, his friend probably thinking he was too shocked and upset by this turn of events to search, and he was upset, but he would do his part anyway. He was worried about Ryougoku too. He had to do what he could.
“The conductor is there,” he pointed out. He would surely know to keep Ryougoku on the train until the rest of them came back.
“Then you take the outbound platforms, and I’ll take the inbound.” And between them they would have to find him.
Roppongi had hoped that if Ryougoku was on any of the platforms in his assigned area he would be easy to spot, but there was no sign of the affected station. The more Roppongi searched, the more he began to think there was little chance of finding Ryougoku here. Why would he be walking up and down his station like normal, watching over the guests who couldn’t see him, after a shock like that?
If he wasn’t on the scene, and he hadn’t come back to them for help, where would he go? Roppongi deviated from his planned search pattern to check the unused corners of the station, the places where people didn’t normally go. Those were the farthest edges Ryougoku would be able to retreat to without a guest.
It was in one of the service tunnels that he finally found Ryougoku. The usually energetic and outspoken station was leaning against the dusty wall with his head down, as far as the invisible bond tying them to their duty would allow him to go. Roppongi hesitated to see him like that, not knowing what to do.
He considered going back to get the others–surely between the five of them they could do something–but he couldn’t get his body to take a single step away from his friend. He couldn’t even take his eyes from Ryougoku now that he had found him, for fear that leaving him alone would allow him to disappear again.
Roppongi moved closer step by careful step, until he was standing right in front of Ryougoku, close enough that the proximity of the barrier made his skin prickle and his hair stand on end. He didn’t know what to say. There didn’t seem to be a thing he could say that would make anything better.
All he could do was reach out, touch his hand to Ryougoku’s shoulder, and let the other man’s eyes rise to his face.
“Don’t say it.”
Ryougoku grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him close. Roppongi wasn’t used to touching, or hugging, but he could feel Ryougoku shaking against him. He went silent, reaching to stroke the back of Ryougoku’s head and neck, over and over, because comfort wasn’t just the words and smiles they offered their guests.
There were no words for this. Ryougoku took a stab at it with a few things that would not have been appropriate around the guests, but Roppongi didn’t say anything in return. He leaned closer, bringing their bodies flush together, and tried to absorb some of the grief and pain wracking his friend. He wanted to tell Ryougoku that he knew this helpless feeling, knew how wrong it felt not being able to help everyone. He felt the same in his desperate need to comfort Ryougoku.
They stayed like that, holding each other in silence, until Tsukishima found them. Even once they have been ushered back to the train by the other stations, Roppongi didn’t let go, determined to offer all of the comfort he could give.