Boot-clad feet smacked fiercely against cold concrete; every step ringing out like a gunshot in the quiet night. Yohji was running blind, his eyes fixed in a dead stare, sweat pouring down his brow. His chest was tight, and every few steps his body reminded him of the need to inhale; the resulting breath sucked in through gritted teeth.
Some miles back, Yohji had stopped thinking; his mind so paralysed by pain that it had shut down in a vain attempt at self-preservation. The tall shell of a human being that was left tore down the pavement, desperately trying to outrun the impossible; his own demons, his mind, himself.
Fleeing across a two-lane road without so much as a cautionary glance, the blonde received several fierce blasts on a horn. Shocked passers-by gaped in horror as a truck narrowly missed ploughing Yohji into a pulp. He didn't flinch; not at the truck, or the murmurs, or the blinding pain in his side that told him if he didn't stop running he was likely to collapse.
Among the fellow creatures that emerged at night, Yohji didn't look out of place. Sunglasses sat high on his nose, masking his eyes. He looked akin to the ranks of prostitutes, pimps, and drug-dealers that were sprawled under the soft neon lights of the teeming nightclubs. He was faceless, nameless, and with only one need; escape, just like every other John and druggie that cluttered the streets.
In his haste to leave the Koneko, Yohji had tugged on some boots, and grabbed the first piece of clothing hanging by the door; luckily his own. The navy mission-coat flapped wildly in the breeze, exposing his midriff to the cool night air and causing a plethora of goosebumps to rise up against the honey-coloured skin. Passing club after club, the heavy bassline that thrummed from his regular haunts thudded in his ears; the only part of the outside world reaching him.
The clubs were becoming less frequent now, and Yohji surmised vaguely that he was in the more expensive end of the city. Flashes of green foliage broke up the brash strobe lighting, and Yohji's keen eyes spotted a park in the distance. Deciding that was his destination, Yohji failed to give a second-glance to an exotic-looking dancer who was draped across a burly doorman; a blatant advertisment for the services offered inside the high-class establishment.
Catching a glimpse of the blonde streaking past, the whites of her eyes widened, bright against her coffee-coloured skin. In a voice loud enough to rouse all of Tokyo, she shrieked, "YOHJI! Aren't you stopping for a dance?" The shrill call shattered the reverie Yohji was in, and in a moment of blind hope, he had prayed the voice belonged to Aya. It didn't matter that it was a woman, or that Aya would sooner die than say such things, but the small part of Yohji's heart that burned with love for the redhead had hoped that Aya may have followed him.
Slowing his pace, Yohji darted green eyes over his shoulder. Seeing the glitter-encrusted dancer fade away into the distance, he faltered. For a desperate moment, Yohji considered going back. He was known in the clubs; accepted. He could lose himself in the throng of writhing bodies on the dancefloor; he could drink himself into oblivion. But, his barely-lucid mind admonished, he'd still wake up tomorrow the person he was now. Still the same Yohji. The first coherent thought to emerge since he had left Aya sickened him to the stomach. He didn't want to be Yohji anymore. He didn't want to be anyone. He just wanted to run.
Eyes swivelling back to the expanse of green ahead, Yohji vaulted a low fence; heavy footfalls changing to muffled thumps, as he darted across soft grass. The faint drumbeat from the nightclub faded into the distance, and was replaced by the equally fierce pounding of Yohji's heart. The park was silent, and dimly lit; the only noticeable feature a white, marble fountain dominating the horizon. The faint scent of the Sakura trees made the air heady, and Yohji suddenly began to feel clammy and all-too-warm. Becoming more aware of the searing pain in his side, Yohji slowed his pace into a fast walk; breath coming in violent gasps. If he could just make it to the fountain, he heard himself think; his mind slowly moving away from the state of total paralysis and into vaguely coherent thought.
As the tall blonde stumbled the last few steps towards the imposing structure, the pain in his ribs began to subside, and was replaced by a wave of mental anguish so heavy it threatened to drown him. This, Yohji thought, trying to choke back a sob, was a poor time to start feeling again.
The tall figure sat unceremoniously on the side of the fountain, and rested his head in his hands. Allowing himself a moment to still his mind, Yohji sucked in a cool, cleansing breath, and tugged off his sunglasses. Leaning back, Yohji arched the tense muscles of his back, and rolled his head backwards. Every part of him was aching, and the physical and mental ache was becoming harder to tell apart. Stumbling to his feet, Yohji tugged off his coat and let it fall to the ground. Dropping to his knees, Yohji took a cautionary glance around, before throwing his head, face first, into the freezing water of the fountain.
Emerging seconds later, Yohji flung back his head; the ice-cold rivulets of water snaking down his back, chest and sides causing him to hiss softly. Slicking back his hair, Yohji remained kneeling, allowing the coldness of the water to ground him. Standing slowly, the blonde tugged blandly at the T-shirt now clinging to his torso. Jade eyes darted around once more, and, seeing no-one, he yanked the saturated fabric over his head, throwing it into a sodden heap on top of his coat.
Choosing to perch on the edge of the fountain once more, Yohji continued to cup several more handfuls of water into his palm, and let them travel down the planes of his back and chest. The droplets glittered like beads of crystal in the faint light, and became the object of Yohji's fascinated gaze. It was a case of 'think about anything but Aya,' Yohji pondered ruefully, and in the absence of any other distractions, the small droplets would have to do. If only they didn't look so much like tears, Yohji brain told him unhelpfully.
Scowling under his breath, Yohji padded down the trousers he was wearing, hoping to find some smokes. Realising he was wearing the same clothes he had left the Koneko in, his mind helpfully pointed out that his cigarettes and lighter were still in his bedroom. Yohji dropped his head into his hands once more, and massaged his eyes.
Not wanting to think about anything at all, Yohji allowed his mind to drift, content to stare at his feet. Watching with interest as droplets of water fell from his hair and formed patterns on the ground below, Yohji failed to notice the liquid shadow that shifted like a malevolent spirit; or the narrowed eyes scrutinsing him from the shade of a Sakura tree in the distance.