“Vitya!” he heard in the distance.
He didn’t want to open his eyes quite yet. In his slumber, a family had come to adopt both him and Yuura. They lived in a big house with a poodle—their favorite kind of dog.
Their adoptive parents doted upon them, gave them anything they could have ever imagined. Of course, it was impossible to resist Yuura. His best friend. The one person he didn’t want to live his life without.
In his dreams, he could even smell the cherry blossoms coming from the other. Viktor could feel the warmth of Yuura in his arms.
“Vitya,” Yuura would pout. It sounded so real.
His eyes slowly opened from his dream-like state. Everything about Yuura’s scent and warmth hadn’t been a part of his brain’s fantasy. The Japanese child was actually in his arms. In his bed.
Memories from the night before filled his mind. They weren’t supposed to share a bed in the orphanage. However, Yuura had slipped into his room after curfew was called to be near him on this special day.
“You only turn eleven once, Vitya, and I want it to be the best birthday you ever have!”
They stayed up most of the night talking about anything and everything. Finally, Yuura fell asleep without much warning. Viktor tucked him in, wrapped his arms around him, and let the gentle scent of cherry blossoms lull him to sleep.
“Yuura,” he groaned. “Too early!”
“But I couldn’t wait any longer!” Yuura pouted.
At just ten years old, Yuura had mastered how to make Viktor turn into putty.
He rolled on to his back, blocking the sun that was peaking through the window. Yuura giggled and laid on top of him. Viktor looked into the large brown eyes.
“Happy birthday, Vitya.”
His heart swelled at the genuine tone Yuura had when speaking.
“Thank you, Yuura.”
Viktor wrapped his arms around the smaller child, which earned a giggle. Every day spent with Yuura was a treasure. For his eleventh birthday, Viktor wished they would never have to be apart.
A wish he tried to keep until the day his adoption papers were signed and his last name became “Nikiforov.”
Now, on the sixth year since his adoption and seventeenth birthday, Viktor wished that he would never be ordered to kill Yuura.
But like everything that he had wished for on his birthday, the opposite came true.
The gun in his hand had never weighed so much before.