“My only regret,” Musashi said, “is probably not being able to see Jyuugo’s eyes again.”
His supervisor didn’t say anything but there was a quick intake of breath, followed by complete silence, and Musashi didn’t even need eyes to know that Inu-chan was also one of the victims who had been completely mezmerized by Jyuugo’s eyes.
“You really love to inspect my eyes, don’t you,” Jyuugo said, annoyed. “It’s bothersome, old man.”
The old man looked at him in the eyes, the way he always did when talking to him. “No. 15, you better take a good care of your eyes.”
He always said that after the eyes inspection, with such serious face as if a lot of people’s lifes were depending on it.
“But you only say that to me.”
“Because everybody here cares about it. Me included.”
“I don’t understand.”
“It’s fine,” The old man smiled, a soft smile that reserved only for his daughter, Nico, and Jyuugo.
Jyuugo didn’t really understand the meaning of that smile. It made him feel small.
Hajime didn’t want to admit this but when he first catched a glance of those eyes, he was frozen stiff in his feet. He quickly snapped out of it, though, because No. 11 was openly snickering at him.
No. 15, the boy with beautiful eyes, turned his face at his inmate, looking blankly confused.
His eyes shifted from red to blue and from green to gold. Hajime tried very hard not to stare.
Now, No. 11 stopped snickering and throw him sympathetic looks instead. It grated on his nerves.
“Do you mind if I draw your eyes?” a young man suddenly said, his Italian accent slipping in.
Jyuugo checked the big clock in the street. He only had two hours to escape to the nearest harbor. “Sorry, I have important business to attend.”
“I’ll pay you.”
The man looked gentle, with a kind smile that only belonged to the surface, not behind the dirty bars. Jyuugo anxiously shook his head. “No, I can’t.”
That was one of his weakness.
Jyuugo had never been good at dealing with people from the surface.
A voice that sounded suspiciously similiar to Uno laughed at the back of his mind, You’re only good at breaking out of prison.
Wow, Jyuugo is sure really standing out everywhere he goes, Uno thought. Even now, people kept taking pictures while their subject of fascination was oblivious to it all. Jyuugo insisted that they could blend in with the crowds, but it only made them the center of attention instead.
“Just I thought, those eyes are really something,” Uno mumbled out loud.
“Huh? Did you say something, Uno?” Jyuugo glanced at him and not even Uno could get used to the shift of blazing colors, reflecting the sunlight, like the flickering lights of diamond.
He still didn’t quite understand how it worked.
“Are all artists obsessed with eyes like you?”
The painter laughed. “So I am not the only painter that ever approach you like this?”
Jyuugo had met many kind of artists in the past, all had approached him with the excuse to draw his eyes, but this one was easily the weirdest of them all.
“You’re the only one who doesn’t care that I am a criminal.”
“Ah,” she said, amused. “But did they know that you’re a criminal?”
“They’d run away instanly if they knew.”
“No, Jyuugo. That won’t stop them. I am sure it won’t matter them, like how it doesn’t matter to me.”
She sounded very confident. Jyuugo didn’t think he would ever understand. He scratched his cheek, feeling weirdly concious all of sudden.
“It’s a trick of light,” Samon said. He pointed at his eyes. “Just think of it like how the rainbow works.”
Normally, human eyes didn’t work like that but they all believed him, simply because there was no other explanation.
Upa said it was like the fireworks. Coming from him, it was the closest thing to a compliment.
“The firework blasting in the night sky,” he had said.
“Or the fireflies,” Trashy Qi said. “Fireflies in the darkness of night.”
“Oh,” Liang pictured it in his head. Having the fireflies or the fireworks reflected in Jyuugo’s eyes would make quite a sight.
“Why are you guys looking at me like that?”
“Um,” Uno’s face reddened.
Jyuugo cocked his head, concerned. For some reason, the simple action made his inmates flinch.
There was something floating in front of his face. Gently shimmering. The color of the grass.
“Don’t move, Jyuugo.”
Jyuugo blinked. Nico just took a picture of him with a camera which he swore wasn’t there until seconds ago. “What are you doing?”
They all ignored him, inspecting the camera instead.
“Nico, it comes out really good!”
“You’re a genius!”
“Fufu, praise me more!”
They sounded like those artists who all had approached him for a simple goal. They had their expressions too, the ones they made after they finished their art work.
“Look, Jyuugo,” Nico presented him the result. He looked really proud. It was a picture of his face, a firefly in front of him, his eyes reflected the green small ball of light.
“Um... Okay?” He settled for a smile. “You took a good picture, Nico.”
Nico’s smile faltered a bit. Jyuugo averted his eyes. He really couldn’t tell what kind of respond Nico wanted from him.
“I wish you understand too, Jyuugo-kun,” Nico murmured.
Jyuugo was having flashback. He had a lot of conversations like this.
“It’s fine,” Rock put his arm around Nico’s shoulder, his way of reassuring. “That’s just the way Jyuugo is.”
“Yup, Jyuugo only understand the easiest way to escape prison.”
Nico was back to smiling widly again. He clutched the camera like it worth billion dollars.
Jyuugo knew he would never understand. Just as Rock put it, this was just the way he was.