"And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. " —Khalil Gibran
277 days had passed since Nezumi separated his being from Shion's, forcefully distancing himself in hopes that he could finally figure himself out. During the hours spent basking in the sunlight and the nights spent walking under the brightness of the moon, the raven-haired boy had contemplated many things. He had tried desperately to remember what it was like to live on his own and to fend for himself, expelling any thoughts of the white haired boy as he carried on with his work and his travels.
He had been many places in search of the answers to his questions. The summer had been brutal at first; each passing day Nezumi had to fight off thoughts of Shion, not necessarily wanting to forget him, but wanting to forget enough so that life would be bearable alone, like it used to be. But, as the first signs of winter appeared on his way home from work one evening, against his better judgment, Nezumi found himself remembering.
His apartment was small, not much bigger than his previous home in West Block. He couldn't afford much, but that was fine with him… after all, he only needed enough space to sleep and eat and shower, and only enough food to sustain his life. He was used to this sort of living situation, and knew nothing of the life Shion lived in Chronos, or even in Lost Town. Nezumi never needed material items, he could get by on absolutely nothing but a series of words typed onto pages of an old, worn book.
And, with that thought in mind, Nezumi hoped that one of the many novels in his makeshift home would help free up his mind. The first thing to go as he shut the door behind him was his snow-covered scarf. Next were his boots and his jacket, and it was only a matter of time before he was down to his boxers and a plain black shirt. Without even looking, the young man mindlessly grabbed a book off of a nearby shelf and flopped onto his bed, his mattress bouncing a bit at the sudden force thrust down upon it.
He didn't even bother to read the title before he began skimming the pages, fumbling around for a quote or a line of thought that would free him from the image of Shion in that stupid sweater smiling over at him. Only after he began to read did he realize he chose the absolute worst play to read from: All's Well That Ends Well, by William Shakespeare.
"There is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me."
Nezumi literally groaned after reading Helena's words, slamming shut the book and tossing it gently down onto the floor at the foot of his bed. That was exactly what he needed; a play regarding a problematic romance, where two of the characters face many challenges due to their different backgrounds. The Prince and the Peasant, what a fucking familiar story, Nezumi muttered under his breath. Flipping over onto his back, Nezumi folded his arms behind his head and stared up at the ceiling. He took a deep breath and tried to free himself of the memories and the ties he held… but as his gaze traveled over to the window, and as he stared at the falling snow, the raven haired boy decided that maybe writing out his feelings and overall train of thought would help him make some sense of it.
Quickly, Nezumi grabbed a sheet of paper and a pencil from his end table, and balanced it on the book he had originally placed on the ground. With a huff, he finally began to write, finding the words easier to scribble out than he originally thought they would be.
I don't usually do these things. I don't write in a journal, or write letters, or spend my time going on and on about shit I can't do anything to change. For so long, it's been just me. I never needed anybody; no friends, no family, nothing that could just get taken away from me again. And it was fine like that. I could fend for myself, and not have to worry about protecting someone else, or relying on another.
…I always found that to be so fucking weak. How could someone let another person just jeopardize everything for them? Couldn't they just learn to be happy on their own? Did they really need someone else to justify their entire existence? Before you came along…., no, even after that, even while you were there living in that shit hole with me, I always thought that having someone to protect meant that you lost. It'd only be a matter of time before one of us would get killed, and I was fucking right.
How did death feel, Shion? I heard there was some sort of white light, or tunnel…they always glorify death in novels or plays, but seeing you like that… I wish I could erase that moment from my mind forever. You had become something else entirely to me by that point already, and watching the life in your eyes fade away was even worse than watching my entire family die, or the burns given to me by No. 6. I'd take that over watching you die any day.
Sometimes I wonder if my parents could see you, or could see me, and how pathetic I was crawling over to your corpse that day. If only you knew how that felt, Shion… maybe you did though, when I took that first bullet for you. I never wanted to be weak. I didn't want you to change me, or to teach me things about myself that I didn't already know. I didn't want to feel another person who mattered to me leave me again. And you, dying like that… dying trying to get us to safety, right after doing your best to keep me alive and to protect me.. Even just thinking about it now is unbearable.
You scare the shit out of me, Shion. Did you know that? It was just so fucking easy for you to come into my life and win me over with your stupid comments and lack of survival skills and overall childish stubbornness. A boy who knew nothing of fighting or struggle was able to take control of everything I had closed myself off to so many years ago. What was I supposed to do, Shion? I wasn't ready for that, and even though I made a promise… I don't know when or if I'll ever be ready.
I just don't know what to do with myself half of the time, Shion. It scares me how much I care about you. You have so much to do now in No. 6, and yeah, maybe part of me is jealous that you're so desperately needed while I've already served my fucking purpose, but that's not your fault, it's mine. I'm out here trying to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do with myself now, but it's hard. There are some moments where I just want to track you down, and say how stupid I've been, and how I'm never going to figure anything out unless you're with me… It's pathetic, right? These feelings… I've become what I always made fun of. And I'm fucking terrified, Shion. Of you, of us… of the idea of us…
It's snowing right now. I'm not where you are, I'm thousands of miles away, but I can't help but wonder if it's snowing over by you. It makes me laugh, actually… I have this image of you opening up your windows during a snowstorm, but instead of being completely drenched by the rain, you end up looking like a fucking snowman. You're such an airhead, seriously… and I'm a complete fucking idiot for walking away from you.
I'm a mess, Shion. And right now, more than ever, I want to come back…. but I know that I can't. It isn't time, and I know that the moment I see you I'll just want to run away all over again. But I promise you, I'll come back. I just hope it's not too late when I finally do.
Nezumi read the piece of paper housing his scribbled confessions over and over again, and in the back of his mind, he wondered what Shion would do if he were to read this. Would he ever really understand? Nezumi couldn't be sure, but at the same time, he couldn't bring himself to confess anything to anyone.
So, with a frown spread across his lips, Nezumi crumbled up the piece of paper and threw it into his wastebasket. He then pulled the blankets up around him and closed his eyes, settling for the dream of one day reuniting with the boy who flipped his entire world upside down.