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He remembers what living in a cage used to be like.

It was either the hut or the wide circle of arms, always ready to catch him the moment he trotted outside. He grew vaguely conscious of it at a very young age, when he discovered the blue of the sky and realized they were always keeping his step from chasing it.

His childhood surrounded him hazily, and so did the life outside. For a long time, both passed without leaving a trace in his memories.

Slowly, he learnt to tell happiness from fear. That was when he noticed – the latter always followed in his wake. He got used to spending whole afternoons on his own, listening to the laughter of other children.

He could not walk alone, and never too far – he was led to believe that even birds, in their unaware happiness, eventually flew away at his passage. It went on like that, in sorrow and silence, for more than he could tell.

By the time he understood for how long he had been secluded, the journey to the castle began.

All of his life he had run in circles, chained to the same place. All of his life he had longed to escape. As she rose against evil and smoke, he saw images of his home – and when she stood by him, awake and breathing, he knew they had both found their chance to finally go somewhere.

She may look silent, but she is not. She tells infinite stories through her touch – stories of days lost and found, of gazing at the sea with a longing that whoever is free cannot know.

She tells him of the leash he has removed, in wordless thanks. He squeezes back whenever he can. 

And he watches her, free from the bars — how her skin wishes to merge with the light, and the way she chases the doves to make up for the wings she does not have. 

Alone, they were caged creatures. When it is the two of them, they can reach for freedom.

Maybe that is why their different hands fit so well in each other.