[31st December, 23:00, suicide reminder.]

A young man dressed in a doctor's white coat stared at his phone screen with a blank expression. His creamy-coffee-colored hair cast a shadow upon his piercing, clear azure eyes, making his emotion even more unreadable.

'Knock, knock!'

As a knocking sound was heard from his right, he looked up to check on the source of the sound, making sure to curve his lips up into a practiced smile.

"Um, doctor Claude? You're needed at the emergency room." A nurse approached him and timidly notified him with a small, hushed voice to not wake the patient that was sleeping in the same room they were standing in.

The young doctor's peachy lips slowly parted open, "sure. Let's go there. Make sure to update me about this patient every 6 hours. He got mauled by a lurker, so keep a close eye on him."

"Yes, doctor!" The nurse's nervous frown disappeared, and her shoulders eased a bit.

They trudged the fancy hospital corridor without talking to one another, only adding to the silence that was already looming over the hospital. It was almost midnight, and nobody had the energy to brighten up the place anymore.

The young man was facing forward, but his gaze seemed to have lost its focus. People greeted him when they see him passing by, from nurses to patients, and even the janitors. He knew most of them by heart, even the names of their parents and the age their sons and daughter were at. He returned their greetings with a sweet smile as he had always been doing, but that smile never reached his eyes.

"Doctor, do you need some rest?" The nurse asked hesitantly.

"No. Why do you ask?" Claude replied with a smile.

"Oh, I thought something was wrong... Because you usually greet everyone first." The nurse explained.

"Really?" He raised an eyebrow ever so slightly, as if he was half-interested but also half-nonchalant

"Ah, not that it's bad! It's totally okay, and we should've greeted you first more often, it's just that--"

"Haha. No need to panic. I'm fine." Claude let out a small chuckle before turning his attention away from the flustered nurse, who had a faint red tint on her cheeks now.

After about 5 minutes of walking, they finally arrived at the emergency room, and Claude immediately began tending to the patients in need.

"How can I help you today?"

"Does it hurt if I press here?"

"One ampoule of epinephrine, please!"

Those are the words that he had said countless times during his time working as a cardiothoracic surgeon. Those are also the words that he had always said with a smile on his face, so he could ease his patients' pain a little bit.

Today he did the exact same thing as he had always done, uttered the same words, but everything was done with a different smile. The light that glimmered inside his beautiful blue eyes was long gone, and his face was devoid of any empathy.

Fortunately for him, nobody realized his pain, his suffering. Even though some of them noticed that there was a slight change about him, none could really pinpoint the exact problem.

Of course they didn't know.

After all, his brother's death was kept a secret from everyone/

Well, it was more because he had never told anyone that he had a little brother that he treasured so much, so why would he go around parading the news about his death?

"Do I have anything else scheduled for today, Lisa?" Claude asked as he took off his gloves and washed his hands over at the sink.

"Not anymore, doctor. But tomorrow morning you have a schedule for open-heart surgery." The nurse smiled at him.

"Ah, is it the woman who got involved in a fight with a lurker?"

"That's the person. We have an increase in the number of lurker's victim lately..." She sighed.

"I see. I'll be off then," he told her, "and umm..."

"Yes, doctor?" Lisa tilted her head to the side.

Claude opened his mouth to say something, but decided not to at the last second, "no, have a great day." He smiled instead.

"You too, doctor! See you again tomorrow, be careful on your way home, and don't get caught by a lurker!" Lisa waved at him and went off to do her duties somewhere else.

Claude stared at the ceiling, thinking about Lisa's words. 'See you again tomorrow'? That might be a bit far-fetched. After all, everything was going to end for him today--no, everything had ended for him the moment he lost his only light, his little brother.

While his thoughts started to drift away somewhere dark, his feet carried him to the hospital's rooftop.

"Ah... Why did I even bother coming to work..." He scratched his fluffy, smooth hair in frustration as he cursed his decision while climbing the empty staircase. He had even showered and washed his hair this morning.


The moment he pushed open the door that was labeled 'exit', a wave of cold air kissed his skin, sending shivers down his spine. As he brought his gaze upwards, he was met with the sight of the vast, dark blue night sky. Not a lot of stars were shining, but it didn't bother him much. No matter how bright the stars or the moon shone, they would never be able to replace his light, his only little brother.

"Lucius, are you up there somewhere among the stars?" He muttered to himself.

Only the faint bustling sound of the city replied his question. He stood on the edge of the concrete lining of the rooftop which was high enough to prevent accidents, specifically as high as his broad chest.

A smile formed on his face as he unlocked his phone to stare at a picture of him and another, slightly younger man with the same coffee-colored hair as him, but with shiny red eyes instead of blue.

The picture was slightly blurry because he had attempted to grab the phone from his little brother when Lucius was sneakily snapping their pictures.

'Hey, give it back! I'm not good with cameras!'

'Hahaha! No~ I like it! You look goofy here, just like how you really are, big brother!'

He winced at the memories that were coming back at him. If only he knew better, he would've let Lucius took as many pictures as he wanted.

'Ugh, I look constipated here.'

'It's okay, I think it's genuine,' Lucius grinned, 'and I love the real you the most, big brother.'

Claude bit his lips when the bittersweet event replayed in his head. He quickly closed the picture and opened some medical journals instead.

He scoffed upon realizing his own action. Going to work as usual? Showering to keep his hair grease-free? Having a surgery appointment tomorrow? Not even resigning from his job? That was all just for the sake of keeping his mind somewhere else.

"Ah, I can't take it anymore..." He dropped down on his knees, his phone tumbled down and cracked upon crashing with the concrete floor.

All this time, he knew why he pretended like it was a normal day. After all, how could he become a well-known surgeon if he didn't recognize a simple coping mechanism? He knew Lucius was dead, but a part of him didn't want to accept that fact. The other part of him, however, knew that a fact couldn't be changed, no matter how hard he tried.

"I'm sorry... I'm really sorry..." Tears started to roll down his cheeks and onto the ground. He didn't even bother wiping his tears as he was occupied with the conflict that was going on inside him. The more he tried to deny the fact by altering everything around him like his schedule, his feelings, his denial, the more he realized that his brother's death was real.

"I promised you that we will go watch the fireworks together at new year's, but you're gone," he sobbed, "I'm sorry..."

Claude picked up his cracked phone and started to open the camera and pressing the record button to capture the fireworks, which was supposed to be a precious and happy moment for them. But now, there wasn't even a shred of happiness left in him. Even the bright fireworks looked dull to him now.

"This is all big brother can do for you... After this, big brother will join you. I'll jump off this building and meet you in the afterlife." He said with a sad smile. He himself didn't know whether that was a smile of acceptance, or a smile of irony.

As he spun the camera around and tried to admire the fireworks, which he found detestable instead of enjoyable, he noticed something weird.

"What's that?" His hand stopped, and the camera focused on a certain figure on the opposing building's rooftop that was just across the road.

Upon closer inspection, the figure wasn't exactly one figure, but two. They both looked like human figures, but one of them was squirming and twisted at a weird angle. Meanwhile, the other appeared to be opening their mouth, but Claude couldn't make anything out of it, since their voice was drowned among the firework noises.

He shrugged and moved the camera away. After all, why would he care about anything else at this point? Whatever it was, it was none of his business.




Claude's eyes widened when he saw a tall, brooding figure suddenly appeared in front of him. What's more, though, was that the concrete lining was now broken, shattered into pieces of various sizes.

"What the hell--"


Before he could register what was going on, the creature leapt towards him, and he narrowly dodged it by ducking to his side.

The creature turned around and glared at him. As the fireworks blasted and illuminated its figure, Claude could make out that the thing standing in front of him had a human-like appearance, but he definitely wasn't a human.

"A lurker? Here?" A frown appeared on Claude's forehead as he took a step backwards.

'Grrrr...' The creature just spat a low growl at him, and shot him an icy cold glare.

Claude glanced for a fraction of a second towards the building across the street, and saw that the figure had decreased by one, and it was now limp on the ground.

"I see. You just ate that person over there, haven't you?" Claude said as he pocketed his phone, his precious phone which had his brother's pictures inside, "you've eaten your fill, so why do you still want to kill me?"

"That... Phone..." The creature growled, his words resembled more of a gurgle, but Claude understood, nevertheless.

"My phone?"

"You... Camera... My face..." He extended his arm, "give!"

Claude flinched as the creature's legs suddenly swelled, and with one powerful jump, one powerful enough to crack the concrete floor, the distance between them was erased.

"Ugh!" Claude immediately rolled to his right, avoiding the creature's punch. The punch landed on the concrete lining instead, shattering it again and sending the pieces all the way down the building. He could only hope nobody got hit by a falling piece of concrete. Well, if someone did, they were already in front of the hospital, anyway.

"So your disability was your legs?" Claude said as he patted his pocket to see if his phone was still there. And yep, it still was.

'GRAAA!' The creature's legs swell up again in preparation for another jump.

"I'll take that as a yes." Claude said as he started to run. As he ran, he thought that maybe the creature was able to jump over here so quickly because of his leg power. In that case, then the most sensible thing to do was to pay attention to his leg's direction, right?


And just like that, Claude managed to dodge another jump, and he started to run towards the door. When he was just a few steps away from the door, though, a certain thought crossed his mind.

… Didn't he come here to die?

He stopped on his track and turned around to stare at the lurker.

True. Then why was he fighting for his life? What difference was there between dying by jumping off of a building, and dying by a lurker?


Yep. If he died by a lurker, at least that would mean the lurker wouldn't need to kill another human for a while, right?

"...You. Come here." Claude said to the creature, staring straight into its eyes.

When he thought about it carefully, it was the perfect death scenario. No one would doubt anything, and his death would delay another person's death.

And most importantly, he would finally meet his brother again.

What more could he ask for?

"I'm coming, Lucius." A smile that finally reached his eyes formed on his face.



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