He can no longer remember Shion’s smile.
Nezumi realizes that during a night of blissfull dream of his past. He wakes up abruptly, staring straight onto the full moon, heart pounding. His loyal companions scuttle around him, his ragged breath awakens them from their sleep. The mices’ tiny grape-colored eyes shining in concern. Nezumi offers his finger to Cravat, scratching his chin to calm the little mice down. Not long after, Hamlet nuzzles in, asking for the same attention. Sitting back onto his make-shift pillow of backpack and jackets, Nezumi takes in his surrounding in a sleepy haze, slowly putting himself to ease. He is out in the open, the weather is lovely enough for him to not seek the comfort of a shelter, not like it’s possible for him to look for one either, the nearest civilization is two days away from where he is. He raises up from the soft grass he is lying on, eyes staring onto the white moon glowing gently in the sky. Her soft ligh illuminates the scenery.
Fifty full moons has passed since he left No.6.
He leans back, eyes closing gently.
Frequently in his journey, Nezumi dreams. They take him back to the winter time. Back to the warm, cluttered room filled with dusty books. To the the savoury scent of brewing soup, the bland taste of stale bread, the tiny clicks of the mices’ footsteps against the bookshelves.
He dreams of silky alabaster hair against his nose, of shining red eyes gazing at him with wonder, of pink scar contrasting against pale skin. Of a precious presence left behind in the past.
Nezumi dreams of Shion. A lot.
There are nights where he dreams of pulling Shion up, leading him into their personal private waltz. Other nights he feels the slight sting of the syringe piercing through his skin just before Shion’s trembling fingers stitches his wound close. Of the taste of cherry cake Shion served him during the storm that night. Of Shion holding onto him desperately as they fall through the darkened tunnel. He dreams of lips lightly touching his own, of Shion’s fake, gentle smile, of his own salty tears, dripped in secret and tasting of oversalted soup. Of that day in the meadow. Shion lips. His tears caught on his white eye lashes. Of a promise of reunion that has yet to come.
More often than not though, Nezumi simply dreams of small, insignificant moments of his time with Shion. Moments he never thinks to be dream-worthy. Moment he doesn’t consider to be precious. He dreams of Shion’s calming voice talking to him quietly during the dark of the night in the bunker, as they huddled together for warmth under the ragged blanket. He dreams of holding onto Shion’s hand, his thumb slowly rubbing circles onto the back of Nezumi’s palm. Of the curve of Shion’s bright smile, his head tilting to the right in the way Nezumi finds surprisingly adorable. Of the way Shion’s finger combs through his hair when he thinks Nezumi was asleep, lulling him deeper into a peaceful rest.
In Nezumi’s sleep, he revels on the gentle touch, on white long eye lashes trembling against his cheeks, on soft lips pressed onto his own. For he is unable to do so in his waking hour.
It surprises him finding out that these simple moments are the most painful to wake up from.
As time passes, Nezumi realizes his dreams have shifted from the gentle, comforting pictures that they were into a mishmash of blurred images. The clear, crisp vision of his old room starts to loses its wonderful details he holds dear. Little by little his dreams lack of the dusky smell of old books, the texture of the raggedy sheets of his bed, the noise of his leaky faucet.
Worst of all, he starts to lose Shion’s form from his mind. He can remember clearly the details of the other boy. The snowy strands of hair. The big and gentle red eyes. The scar snaking around slim body. But even with the pieces of puzzle, to Nezumi’s horror, he can no longer snaps it together. He remembers bits and pieces, little details that makes Shion, well, Shion. How he moves, how he talks, his gestures, the curves of his lips. But to paint the image of him in his mind is nearly impossible for Nezumi nowadays. In the end he can’t even remember how Shion would smile.
When he left, Shion was crying. Oddly, he can remember that image as clear as yesterday. Nowadays, when he closes his eyes and think of Shion, he sees that lovely face scrunching up in gentle agony. He feels the trembling hands grasping the edge of his jacket. Cradles the cheek damp with tears. Hears the weak whispers wishing Nezumi to bring him along.
Nezumi swallows a lump forming in his throat. He turns to burry his face onto the bundled up coat he is lying on. It terrifies him. To have the heartbreaking image of Shion as the only memory he can clearly conjures of the boy. Of the boy who had meant everything for Nezumi. Who still means everything. Who he desperately wants to forget only to find himself horrified when it happens.
Is this what he wants? To lose that smile even in dreams? If he dies the next morning, all he can see as he departs would have only be the tears, the pained expression, the time where he hurted his precious person for the last time. Would he be fine with that?
Nezumi surprises himself with that thought. For the first time in years he lets himself admit that he doesn’t want that. For Shion to be a part of his past that he can’t recall even in dreams. He doesn’t want that. He will not let it. Anything but that.
He wants to see Shion’s smile again. Needs to.
Nezumi looks up to the sky with new determination. The moon is still smiling gently at him. Fifty is enough times he gazes at her alone.
He’s going home.