He reached the shore of the river in record time and as he looked up and down the path that hugged the shore his sick feeling became almost unbearable. Rei was nowhere in view.
“Damn it,” Asha cursed under his breath. He decided to walk a little way down the path to see if he missed anything, his eyes searching both the path and the water. Up a head something caught his attention and he headed for it hoping that it would give him some kind of clue. It turned out to be a pair of sandals, Rei’s sandals, his shirt and jewelry neatly folded and placed in the shoes for safe keeping. Asha crouched next to the pile and counted up the jewelry determining that all of it that he wore was there, even the stuff he never took off. Asha closed his eyes and took a deep breath through his nose and when he opened them again he turned to study the river.
“Please don’t be dead,” he whispered. He lowered himself down into a sitting position to wait and pray that Rei would reemerge from a swim instead of as a floating corpse. He waited by the river for an hour and as the time passed the greater his sense of dread became until it felt like he would suffocate. By the time he heard something break the surface of the water he was crying for so many different reasons he didn’t even try to stop it.
When he felt a cold wet hand wrap around his ankle his sob cracked in his throat and he heard Rei trying to soothe him by making quiet shushing sounds. Rei pulled himself out of the river and sat by Asha, his hands staying by his sides even though he longed to pull the other man to him and stop his tears. He knew he had lost that right though because he was the cause of them.