The yellow scarf was nowhere to be seen.
Kuroo Tetsurou visited his parents’ cottage as a child many times. He returned as an adult searching for the remnants of his childhood memories.
The yellow scarf was nowhere to be seen.
Kuroo sat down on the rock by the lake rooted deep in the forest hiding behind the half wooden building occupied by some of his friends.
It was good to be back, to remember the simpler times, the innocence. He always regretted the years he ceased going. He was twelve by then, having practice camps and wanting to hang out with friends, to get a part-time job for some pocket money. Years went by like a downpour. A mist remembered so well - it liked to visit in the early mornings or late evenings. Nothing but white gloom occurred at the moment. And his imaginary friend.
Kuroo observed the pond.
The yellow scarf was nowhere to be seen.
He chuckled. Why was he looking for something nonexistent? He was 22 years old, the imaginary friend long dead. Kuroo walked back to the cottage, watching his friends making the fire. It was nice to come here for one last time, to say goodbye to the place soon to be sold and demolished.
Kuroo halted, hearing some rustling. His eyes fell to his feet as the first signs of a milky color rolled in. He almost came back to the lake, the little flame of hope keeping alive.
But the yellow was nowhere in sight.
The wind got cooler as the ten in the evening hit the forest. Kuroo welcomed it with open arms and a warm jacket. They were having fun playing some board games. The mist got denser.
“Do you want to go out?” Kuroo was entranced by the weather. “Hm?”
“Are you crazy?”
“I don´t know.”
Kuroo nodded. “I understand. I just-“ as a kid, Kuroo loved to get lost in the mist, be it a day or a night. He slapped his knees and stood up. “I´m going for a while, to reminisce a bit. I lost the game anyway.” Kuroo almost chuckled and left, ignoring reactions of his friends. The door shut with a gentle click.
Kuroo was shackled by the mist instantly, his memories strong enough to move on instinct. Kuroo reached the creek, overjoyed to bathe in the cold weather, taking in the feeling of childhood and naivety. He took a deep breath, eyes closed and relaxed. The rumbling of leaves got his attention, an animal?
He saw it.
The yellow in the dark, the only thing visible enough through the darkness of the night.
“Am I going crazy?” Kuroo asked himself as he hastily stood up. “You can´t be here,” he murmured and followed the color to lose it after a couple of steps. “What the-“ Kuroo shook his head and slowly backed into his place.
The yellow scarf was nowhere to be seen. Kuroo was intrigued to find it again.
At the “forbidden” time of 5 o´clock in the morning, Kuroo went for his obligatory run. He assured himself he had to be very tired last night and he wished too strongly for his imaginary friend not to be fictitious. His run lead him back into another mist soon to be dissolved. No matter what Kuroo believed, he hoped.
He sped up by the clearing behind the lake, ready for a dash back. Yellow color got into his sight, vanishing between the trees. Kuroo followed, unafraid of what he might find. A man was shifting in the mist. Young man, not a boy as Kuroo remembered.
“Hey,” Kuroo mumble-shouted, voice coarse, breath heavy. Was this real? Was Kuroo awake or so weary he hallucinated his unreal lost friend from many years ago? “Kenma?” Kuroo tried the name he once introduced himself with.
The young man stopped and turned his face, partially hidden by a very long hair. “I thought you forgot me.”
Kuroo´s breath quickened. “I could never, but-“ Are you real?
Kenma stood with his back to him, glancing up at the opening sky and rising sun. “I have to go.” Kenma stepped away with the mist, Kuroo bewildered and afraid of his own sanity.
The yellow scarf Kenma persistently wore fell to the ground.
Kuroo spent the day anxious, worried about the evening and the mist showing. When it comes, so does he. Kuroo recalled many times he had to chase Kenma to get a word out of him. He expected the same today.
The calculations were wrong.
Lake and the forest got drowned by the fog, and the empty space by Kuroo´s side was no longer empty. “It´s nice to see you again.”
Kuroo didn´t dare to look. What if he´d evaporate? He had so much to say to him, all the words shaking in his throat with worry. Kuroo´s limbs were injected with nervousness and shyness he hasn´t felt for such a long, long time. Since he – since he met him. Kuroo looked up to the young man who was shorter, but grander than him. Kenma´s face was adorned with a playful grin.
“I guess I missed you.” Kuroo exhaled, tears rolling down his cheeks. Kenma was real. His imaginary friend was real. “How?”
Kenma stared into the distance, his eyes searching for something. It wasn't answered, he had plenty of those.
The mist was thinning. Kuroo reached out to touch Kenma´s face. There was nobody.
The owner of the yellow scarf was nowhere to be seen.
Kuroo´s heart yearned for Kenma. Every day and every night he searched for the man of the forest or of whatever. Kuroo wasn´t surprised, Kuroo didn´t care about the soundness or truth. He wished to see him, get to know Kenma again.
Kuroo remembered many stories his dad used to tell. Of spirits and creatures in the rain, under the thunderstorm in between the day and night, fog and smoke, underground or up in the sky.
Maybe some of it was real, right?
The mist left the place for a couple of nights, Kuroo´s hands shivering with the scarf squeezed tightly. What is he´d never see him again because of the stupid weather? Kuroo put the scarf down by the pond. He knew Kenma would find it. It was his last goodbye before the morning of his departure and the demolition of the hut.
The ground and grass around Kuroo´s feet were swallowed by the white duvet. His heart raced into his throat. Kuroo knew.
Kenma was behind him. “I don´t have a lot of time. It won´t last long.” Kenma gazed down.
“I´m sorry I didn´t come more often. I didn´t realize-“
“Oh, I know.” Kenma glanced at the scarf. “I know, don´t worry.”
They didn´t sit. Kuroo examined Kenma´s hiding face, hands itching to touch him. “May I?” he asked first. “Can I?”
Kuroo cupped his cheek, the warmth of sun and coldness of solitude. Kuroo´s breath hitched, a new life poured over him, veins of his connected with Kenma like they could share the blood like they might faze into one. Exactly like before when Kuroo figured out his true self and never felt ashamed of it.
“I was born the day the first mist came after your house was built.” Kenma shrugged. “I wondered in that weird fog until I found you.” Their eyes met, Kuroo could melt right there. “You breathed life into me.” Kenma cut their stares and pointed at the cottage. “I won´t see you again.”
“No!” Kuroo defended himself, he recognized his desire. “I´ll be back.”
“The house will be gone.”
“But I´ll come to visit. Maybe I could take you with me somehow?” Who are you, so I may help you…
Kenma squeezed his hands. “You know what I am. I belong to nothing and everything. I am a part of this – of that place, of the mist. If any of that is gone, so am I.” Kenma exhaled, sigh raspy. “I can´t choose.”
Kuroo couldn´t breathe. What did he just say? “Kenma.” Kuroo´s longing grew to kiss him, hug him, make love to him.
The lake cleared and Kuroo was utterly alone.
The yellow scarf was at the exact place as he put it last.
“I´m happy with you.”
Kuroo searched for Kenma relentlessly after the house was destroyed. He had something to return, and it wasn´t just a scarf. Thanks to Kenma, he kept part of the house, the small piece of a fireplace with engraved initials of his parents. The memory of the great past sailing away from him. He came to visit so many times, he walked through the forest and the mist so often, but Kenma was gone.
Five years were dedicated to the search when he gave up. “I think I understand what you meant.”
Kuroo moved on, building a new house on the periphery of a city often misty, a memento for Kenma. “This. Please, make this a part of the house.” Kuroo pleaded with one of the workers, an old piece of the fireplace squeezed in his palm. They agreed, and when it was completed, and the first mist arose, Kuroo grabbed the yellow scarf. He sat on the porch, satisfied with nearly everything. Kuroo shut his eyes to inhale in the atmosphere.
“I was happy with you.”
Kuroo´s eyes snapped open. Did he fall asleep?
“And I believe that´s mine.”
Kuroo twisted his neck to see who´s talking.
The yellow scarf rested in Kenma´s hands.