Sometimes Mikleo couldn't stand the sight of Sorey.
There wasn't anything in particular he couldn't stomach, but at times a fear rose in him that choked his breath, clogged his lungs, and left chills running down his spine. It was in the luminous grin aimed at a graying couple, a decision to turn in earlier because he couldn't stay up like he used to, a crinkle in the corner of his eye Mikleo knew one day would be there to stay. He stared as Sorey let out a guffaw to a proud Edna a few feet away, saw his ephemeral light fading before his eyes, and could once more feel it crawling into him, ice wrapping around his heart.
Terror. Pure and solid as a glacier in a frigid tundra, it left him with tears clinging to his eyelashes and a sensation not unlike death rooting him to the spot. It was dark, suddenly. Fingers tingled like frostbite creeping into his extremities, and his neck tensed with a cold wind. He sucked in a harsh gasp of air. Sorey noticed, of course. He wouldn't be Sorey if he didn't. Mikleo watched the smile slip off his face and his brows scrunch up in concern before he excused himself from the party. Mikleo sat at a distance on a hill overlooking Ladylake in the distance, and as Sorey drifted closer - no doubt with the intent to comfort - he shifted his gaze instead to the looming bridge and town that reached to the sky.
"Mikleo?" Sorey lowered his body to the ground next to him, a calculated hand away, so Mikleo could reach over to him if he wished. He didn't.
"I'm fine," Mikleo said. He could feel Sorey's stare burning into his side.
"Mikleo," Sorey sighed, "You're not, though?"
Mikleo spotted an aborted hand-movement in his peripheral, then the same hand reaching up to run through dark hair. Silence created a rift between them, massive as a mountain. Mikleo was the snowfall crumbling at its towering peak. A heavy moment passed before Sorey gave a frustrated groan.
"Hey, you know I'm here for you, right? I always have been." But you won't be. "I'm not going anywhere." But you will. "Mikleo? Say something, please?"
Mikleo offered, "Leave it be, Sorey. I'll be better soon, you know that."
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean I like seeing you like this."
He stubbornly refused to look him in the eye, yet the frost biting into his skin seemed to melt from his proximity. Mikleo breathed, "Sorey."
That got a minute twitch of his lips, and when Sorey leaned into him to link their hands together, Mikleo couldn't bring himself to pull away. He drew their joined hands into his lap and inspected their fingers. Sorey's hand was wider, more firm (Mikleo remembered that hand curling around his waist); it was warm in his. Though slight differences shone on the surface, by all accounts they were the same. How deceptive. One set of hands would wither away, skin tautening against bone, wrinkles creating folds where there were none. Mikleo ran a finger down the palm, tracing the lifeline that only emphasized Sorey's mortality. Hands were cold in death, he thought.
Mikleo's slow descent was cut short by Sorey tugging at his hand, pulling it to his chest. Eyes burning, never leaving his, Sorey cradled his hand. He flipped it gently and brought his lips to the pulse point on his wrist. Mikleo's chest grew tight, throat closing up. A soft smile graced Sorey's lips, and he brought that hand up to cup his face. Mikleo felt the smile grow and Sorey's eyes radiated. Mikleo brought his other hand up to enclose his face then leaned into Sorey, foreheads touching. He exhaled, letting his eyes fall shut. Sorey's arms embraced him and drew them back to lay in the grass under the stars just arriving from a bleak, empty space.
The others left them to their private moment, and though the evening wind grew bitter, Mikleo's heart thawed just a little.