Tonight’s not really how he pictured it, sitting in her apartment.
He’s on the floor slumped against her door. He hears her say something, but he can’t discern what—it doesn’t seem to matter as she walks away from his field of vision without waiting for a response. He hears some kind of barking—he can’t tell what it is either. Too tired, too—
He’s on the floor slumped against her door. It doesn’t matter to him if she never figures out he’s there—he just wants to be anywhere but on his own bed. Every night since regaining his eyesight is spent in some place with some semblance of peace. Tonight is her night—in truth, most nights are. When daylight comes, he’ll go home, and it’ll be like he was never here.
He hears what sounds like a dog barking, but he’s too lost, too tired to place it until light opens up from behind him, and he loses his balance. A small shadow trots—creeps—next to him. Over him, another shadow looms. He shudders—lightning tearing off his flesh, earthquake shaking his soul—and his mind blanks as the shadow sinks low and places a hand on his shoulder.
He shakes his head and tries to push away the sleep creeping in. From the corner of his eye, he sees Black Hayate—better than he could earlier, but the dog is still very much a shadow to him—and behind the dog, Riza emerges from some other corner of her home.
She walks in the space around him, seemingly careful not to step too close. He tries to raise his head, to fight off the weight of fatigue to acknowledge her, but he can’t, and he only hopes she understands. Two mugs, streams of smoke rising from the pitch black liquid, are set next to him, and she sits across him.
She doesn’t say anything. Neither does she ask. He wonders what she’s thinking of, if she knows everything, which is why there’s nothing to say. Of course she knows everything—in the nights he spent here, in her arms and out of them, he felt there were things of his that stayed with her, and in the end, she knows more about him than he ever will of himself.
Despite the concern stitched to the edges of her voice, the affection blanketing her anxiety, he flinches at the sound of his own name. He lifts his head, and he’s met with her warm eyes. There’s a kind of fractured knowing in them, and he’s compelled to fill in the gaps, the missing things she doesn’t know. He looks away.
“I can’t sleep.”
Still avoiding her gaze, he leans against the door.
“I can’t even blink.”
He clears his throat and traces circles on the floor, writes musings and things he could tell her. He looks at her—chin resting on arms wrapped around her bare legs, messy blonde hair framing her round face—and her eyes are still on him. They make no demands, but that’s exactly what he finds so difficult about saying anything. Still, he opens his mouth, an admission lying in wait.
“I remember being blind.” His voice trembles until it splits apart like cracks in the walls. “I... I remember nothing.”
He doesn’t snap, doesn’t break down or fall apart or tumble off a cliff to drown at sea, but when he looks at those warm brown eyes that don’t hold any judgement—it only holds the worst of them all: love—he comes very, very close.
But like she always does, she holds him up and keeps the worst of his fears at bay. Sometimes it’s a word that keeps him alight, and sometimes it’s a gesture—a kiss on his forehead, on his lips, a hand on his cheek or laced with his hand. Tonight, she moves towards him and breaks his walls and barriers.
She weaves her hands over his eyes, and he holds his breath when the light pouring from the spaces between her fingers disappears, bringing him back to the bottom of a dark well far from the sun. Walls close in on him, the air gets heavier, and his lungs give up. He wishes he could shove her hands away and come up for air, but he can’t; he can’t move, and his encompassing fear isn’t letting him.
When the wall grows colder and the sun farther and farther away, he feels her moving in, soft, slow breaths bringing life back into him. When she closes the space between them, the walls around him become meaningless, and they disappear. When she pulls away, warm hands still over his eyes, all the room’s an infinite sky.
Her hands pull away, but the sky stays, white clouds moving past the blue walls of the room. He blinks, and for a fleeting moment, the shadows come back; he knows they always will, in the instance of a blink, in the dying moments of a day, in the long hours of the moon and stars, but there is all this to come back to. What this precisely is, he can’t say—
—but she, she is part of this. She is the infinite sky behind every looming cloud.