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to the death

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Xoc’s face reddened again and Misha pulled away from him, afraid they had done something to make him uncomfortable. At some point during their rambling, they had started leaning in close, though they didn’t notice until just then how close they had gotten.

Xoc’s Seasons of Love disease had made progress in recent days, if Misha’s estimations were correct. He had been flushing quite often, and tripping over his own tongue when he tried to speak. The last thing Misha wanted was to make his condition worse.

“I do apologize. It seems that I have gotten carried away with telling you about everything I enjoy about various forms of headwear,” Misha said.

“It–it’s fine. I like hearing you talk,” Xoc said. The red on his face persisted.

“Is there something on your mind?” they asked. When Xoc shook his head, they continued, “Perhaps you could take your turn talking. I enjoy hearing you talk as well.”

“Okay. Okay.” He said a few words about hats without brims, then asked a question, turning the conversation back to Misha.

If it was what Xoc wanted, Misha was happy to do the talking for the both of them, but as they continued, they couldn’t help but think about the fact that they truly did like hearing Xoc talk. All humans lives end eventually, but for Xoc with his disease, that end was close. Misha wondered what sorts of numbers they would see if fate granted them a countdown for all the words they had left to share with each other. It couldn’t be anything but painfully finite.

Androids have long lifespans, and Misha hoped to spend the remainder of theirs in joy, exploring all the wonderful things while surrounded by their friends and loved ones, but whatever they planned even for the not so distant future, they couldn’t include Xoc. He was painfully finite.

Misha spoke to him, and listened, and in their head, the countdown marched steadily towards its end.