She became aware that she was awake at a terribly sluggish pace, as if time had been stretched, each second longer than the last. She blinked slowly, and each fall of her eyelids brought her that much closer to the oh so welcoming cusp of unconsciousness. There was movement on her back, something feather-light and warm that trailed her spine and cocooned her closer to this otherworldly bliss. Another mass sat atop her head un-moving, although her inky black strands were neatly tangled around this spot of warmth. Her hands clenched lethargically on a tuft of fabric beneath her; and she was tempted to let the all-encompassing blackness that swallowed her sight as her eyelids shut consume her, but her resting place rumbled beneath her head, lightly; and a voice whispered above her.
"Sorry, did I wake you, Mei?"
The younger released a small, satisfied sigh.
The hand atop her head uncombed fingers from her hair, and she instantly missed the warmth, but it lasted merely a moment. It came to rest on the side of her face, pulling away stray strands of hair from around her eyes and mouth before cupping her cheek. Her eyes fell shut, body and mind filling with content.
Yuzu's emerald eyes were half-lidded as sleep tugged at her consciousness, but she refused to succumb to its desire. It would have been a waste.
The television had been placed on mute long ago, but its picture still flickered across the otherwise-dark room. Yuzu's head had come to rest on the arm of the couch while she had spread herself out comfortably along it's length - and while it may have taken a few rather convincing pleas on the elder girl's part, Mei had found her place lying atop Yuzu. Somewhere within the first thirty minutes of the movie that Yuzu had popped into the dvd player, Mei's eyes had woven shut, and her hand had dropped off the side of the couch, fingers curling just shy of the floor. Yuzu became aware of Mei's descent to slumber almost instantly, as her body had gone completely lax on top of her.
But to fall asleep herself and miss this, to miss the opportunity to so freely gaze upon Mei's face, to thread her fingers throughout her soft, feathery hair, and to miss the most childish, minute movements and sounds - from a sleep-riddled moan as she adjusted a limb more comfortably, to her hand finding purchase upon the necklace woven around Yuzu's neck and grasping it within her loosely-balled fist - would have been nothing short of a crime. To fall asleep would mean to lose such a wonderful opportunity not often granted to her while Mei was awake.
Yuzu's chest rumbled again as laughter slipped through her lips. "You're so cute when you're tired."
"...mmm?" Mei mumbled, fingers fidgeting around Yuzu's necklace as she processed, for the first time, that the chain was wrapped around her pointer finger.
"Let's get you to bed," Yuzu stated, and she reluctantly pulled her arms off of Mei to allow the younger girl up.
But Mei reached for one of Yuzu's hands and laced their fingers together. She dropped their hands over the side of the couch to dangle, effectively declining that prospect.
"...fine here," Mei breathed into the crook of Yuzu's neck. A small sigh followed suit, and her thumb rubbed against Yuzu's knuckle once, then twice. Her other hand still clutched at the blond's necklace, and her fingers glided across the small patch of exposed skin along her collar before falling still. Yuzu exhaled a sigh of her own, lulled into a level of repose that was only achieved with Mei.
It was a comfort beyond anything granted to Yuzu before, more consuming, more pleasurable than the tightest of hugs, for the most precious thing in her life to lay flush atop her. Every exhale from the body above her pressed into her own ribs, inducing the euphoric sensation that they were one. The soft flutter of breaths across her collarbone, initially sending chills down her spine, now compelled her to breathe in-sync with Mei, and the action came as if natural to Yuzu.
It was unfathomably fulfilling, and her heart swelled, bleeding something warm in her chest that spread to the very bottom of her belly.
The older girl felt beyond embarrassed at her own thoughts, but the high she felt on love made her insides melt and her brain turn to mush in the most wonderfully all-fulfilling of ways. Her heart didn't flutter along restlessly, pounding upon her rib cage in a conniption of embarrassment and anxiety, but instead mollified to a slow, languid pulse, one that often felt too slow as an ethereal-like calm washed over her, but it nevertheless was perfect.
Yuzu shifted, just enough to wrap her arm around Mei and lift her foot onto the opposite arm rest of the couch.
"Are you uncomfortable?" Mei asked, burying her face within Yuzu's neck. Her breath tickled at the older girl's skin, but Mei's unusually sloppy voice elicited a giggle.
"You wouldn't believe how comfortable I am right now."
There was a pause, one long enough that Yuzu thought her answer was a sufficient end. But the younger girl spoke up, just loud enough to overcome the drowsiness that played with her words.
And had Yuzu not been fighting off sleep for an hour, perhaps longer, she would have beamed, the smile igniting her face in a warmth more potent than the sun itself. But as it was, with the hush of the apartment and the gentle glow of the television just barely highlighting Mei for Yuzu's eyes, a much softer smile curved upon her lips.
Her favorite place in the world was with Mei, and it was quite physically impossible to get any closer to that place than she was right at that moment.
Her fingers sprayed out across Mei's back, falling along the dip of her spine and the curve of her waist. She returned the gesture Mei had done earlier and combed her pointer finger over the back of Mei's hand. Her eyes, still fighting against her for sleep, drifted down to Mei's own necklace.
There, hanging down onto Yuzu's chest, lied Mei's irreplaceable treasure.
To Yuzu, those words elicited a number of emotions, many of which still toiled and frayed at her heart, all rooted in the term, while of endearment, previously being written along with a farewell. But another, one for which she couldn't quite find a name, made her heart skip a beat each and every time she gazed upon the ring hung around Mei's neck. It was a bliss, a swell that captured her stomach and set it aflutter like wings beating her insides for an escape so viscerally that she felt her head swim. All that, just to know how deeply Mei's love ran for her.
Yuzu had thought her love for Mei would engulf her, for nothing had ever felt so all-encompassing before. To her surprise, there had been something else, one thing that constricted her chest more deeply in the most pleasant of ways, and that had been Mei's own love for her.
The hold on Yuzu's hand tightened, and her attention shifted from the ring to Mei's face, staring back at her. Her eyes were half-lidded, and a flush threatened to envelope Yuzu's cheeks - not in embarrassment, but in some kind of pride riled from the knowledge that no one, no one, else had the privilege to see Mei look so unguarded, so...content.
God, she had seen Mei asleep; but as she looked down at how consciously Mei let her walls down, how serene, how openly relaxed the younger girl was around her, something settled comfortably into Yuzu's chest.
And as Mei leaned up to place a kiss along Yuzu's jawline, a bundle of giggles rose up her throat, and that placid nothingness of calm that had just settled into her gave way, just barely.
"That tickles, Mei."
"I was aiming for you cheek, but you moved," she explained, before trying once more for Yuzu's cheek. A smile blossomed on her face as Mei's lips met her skin, and her eyes slid shut at the gentleness of the peck. Before Mei could return to her place under Yuzu's chin, the blond left a soft kiss of her own on Mei's temple.
And Yuzu thought, if it were possible for her heart to explode from joy, surely hers had to have. Mei released a quiet whine of content, legs pulling up and tangling gently between Yuzu's own. With some minute struggling, she freed her fingers and hand from Yuzu's necklace and trailed, delicately, across her collar.
The tug on Yuzu's consciousness grew beyond her remaining vestige of strength, and her eyelids shut as Mei's fingers stilled, presumably from her own lost battle to sleep.
Nothing, nothing in her dreams, nothing in her most wonderful desires and figments of imagination, had ever felt more perfect.