Ash stared at the ceiling, his jade eyes swirling darkly. It was still dark out. The streets were quiet and empty, and the sky was darker than the deepest blue of the night. He had just woken up from another nightmare. Even in Japan, New York City still haunts him. Ash could feel the heavy emptiness settle into his chest just as it always did after the terror from his nightmare started to melt away. He could feel his whole body stilling, melting into a black abyss that swallowed him whole. He could feel himself slipping deeper and deeper into the darkness, letting it eat away at his rotten core.
Even when he was thousands of miles away from New York City, the horrors Ash witnessed and experienced still managed to haunt him. No matter how much he pushed them away, it always came back, stronger than before, even in the company of Eiji.
Ash could fool himself when he was with Eiji. When he was with Eiji, he could pretend to be normal. Eiji made him feel like he was worth compassion and happiness, and Eiji even made Ash feel like he might even be allowed to let his heart flutter with a little feeling called...
Ash shook his head. Who was he kidding? Ash is worthless. He's a murderer and a prostitute. His mind was full of maggots, his heart was shriveled and empty, and his insides were rotten and tainted by the hands and lips and thrusts of disgusting, despicable men. His hands would always be permanently stained with fresh blood, still warm from the cold, lifeless bodies of those he killed. Ash was vile and unclean, and he would always stay that way.
Ash feels the bed shift as Eiji rolls over. Ash turned his head to look at Eiji, who was now facing Ash. His breath was steady and slow his warm eyes hidden behind closed eyelids and thick black lashes.
Eiji was good. Too good for Ash. Eiji was clean and pure and he could fly. Eiji deserved someone ten times better than Ash, someone who could soar above the clouds with him. Ash so desperately wanted to soar high into bubblegum blue sky, but he was shackled to the ground. It didn't matter though; The fact that Eiji even bothered to spend time with him at all was more than enough for Ash to be happy.
Ash reaches his hand out to Eiji's shoulder ans gently shakes him. Just as Ash starts to curse himself out, Eiji stirs.
"Mm...Ash?" Eiji mumbles, his eyes fluttering open. He rubs his eyes and Ash stares at him, blushing.
"Something wrong?" Eiji asks, his voice still groggy with sleep. His eyes stay open, looking more awake than before. Ash stares at Eiji, mesmerized by his brown eyes, the irises looking like slow-churning chocolate. His eyebrows scrunch together slightly as he lips curl downward into a frown. Ash had woken up Eiji and now he had Eiji's full attention, and yet, he couldn't bring himself to speak. Ash's throat closed up, clogged wih all the words and emotions he want to express coming out all at once.
In the end, he can only manage to push out one word. "Nightmare."
Eiji scoots closer to Ash and gently wraps his arms around Ash. Ash reciprocates, slowly and tentatively wrapping his arms around Eiji's middle. Eiji rubs gentle circles in Ash's back and the feeling relaxes him.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Eiji asks. Ash shakes his head.
"Wanna go out for a walk," Ash mumbles into Eiji's chest, his mouth moving against the thin cloth separating Eiji's chest from Ash's lips.
"Ok," Eiji says, pressing his cheek against Ash's soft hair.
The night air was cool, a gentle breeze carrying golden-brown leaves through the air. The grass swayed in the wind under the moonlight as Ash and Eiji walked through the park in a comfortable silence. The two of them come across an empty swing set, creaking in the wind.
"Let's swing," Eiji says, already heading over to one of the swings. For once, Ash doesn't say anything and follows quietly, deep in thought. He sits in a swing next to Eiji, and before Eiji starts to swing, Ash asks a question.
"Have you ever played banana split?"
Eiji looks at Ash and tilts his head to the side. "Banana split?"
Ash starts to swing gently back and forth. "It's a game you play with a group of people. Two people sit in two swings next to each other and twist the chains around. Then, the other kids would push the two swings together and the two kids in the swings would lock their legs together. The other kids with push the kids on the swings until the kids couldn't hold on to each other, and they'd spin like crazy after they break apart since they twisted the chains of the swings together."
Eiji smiles. "That sounds fun."
"Yeah," Ash says, staring into the ground as he kicks his feet harder, making himself go higher. Eiji starts to swing too.
"I never got to play," Ash says, turning his head up to the moon, it's white light illuminating the darkness. "I only ever saw other kids playing it."
"Maybe we can play someday," Eiji says, smiling at Ash before turning his head to face the ground. He kicks hard against the ground, soaring backwards. Ash scoffs.
"We're not kids," Ash says a small smirk and an eyebrow raised.
"So?" Eiji says, putting more effort into his swinging. Ash does the same, matching his pace. "We're not kids and yet we're swinging on these swings. It's never too late."
Ash smiles, his golden hair fluttering in the wind.
"Yeah. I guess you're right."