Shizuha knocked lightly on the door of Yachiyo's studio, not receiving a reply which usually meant one thing.
The woman smiled at the sight of Yachiyo at her desk, head on her arms and fast asleep in the midst of sketching away some designs for an upcoming show.
It was the norm when Yachiyo was recruited, her taste for fashion lingering on the lips of everyone who laid their eyes on her work as well as her presence on stage when she donned said designs. So she completely devoted herself to whatever project she had on, censorious of her own work to a point where this would occur.
Late nights and later mornings.
But Yachiyo's tenacity was rewarded when Shizuha glanced to the other side of the room where various mannequins stood, each one wearing the exemplar outfits of the designer's last show.
The grecian style dresses emitting sheer elegance beneath the skylight, the glimmer of the moon acting like a spotlight.
She can't help but reminisce back to that particular revue, the Revue of Taurus.
Yachiyo was a force to be reckoned with, this much Shizuha had discovered when they fought.
That same fire, as concealed as it was, never failed to burn dangerously whenever Yachiyo poured her soul into something.
So Shizuha couldn't exactly fault her as she was the same, becoming immersed in her roles.
Thankfully, not to a point where she would forgo the process of eating and in the case of Yachiyo, sleep. Though, Yachiyo's hamartia had remained, working herself to the bone, breaching the cusp of moderation.
But it wasn't an issue when they were so in accord to their habits.
They were there to take care of each other, through the peaceful times and the tumultuous.
She walked over to her wife and crouched down, smiling softly at her whilst tucking back a strand of pink hair behind her ear.
"Your five minutes differs from mine, Yachiyo".
The woman murmured as Shizuha chuckled at Yachiyo's endearing mannerisms, completely vulnerable.
A level of vulnerability only Shizuha witnessed.
"Time for bed" she whispered and maneuvered Yachiyo till she could carry her, holding her close to her chest as her right arm was tucked beneath Yachiyo's knees.
Yachiyo stirred lightly, snuggling up as her wife carried her to their bedroom, the walk languorous.
She looked down to see that Yachiyo was still in a slumber, breathing even.
Shizuha watched on, "I wonder what your dream entails" she thought as they approached their bedroom.
She gently lowered Yachiyo down after moving the duvet away, making sure the woman was comfortable on her side of the bed. Luckily she had gotten changed prior to continuing with her work so at least Shizuha wouldn't have to wake her.
Before Shizuha could move away, Yachiyo gently tugged at Shizuha's dress, a longer exhale exiting her lips before she relaxed.
Shizuha remained over her, just taking in the visionary woman her wife was whilst moving her fringe to the side with her thumb and kissing her forehead.
"What ever you are dreaming of, I hope it's pleasant".
"Hm, it was but this is way more enjoyable".
Hazy turquoise eyes flickered open as arms wrapped behind Shizuha's shoulders, keeping her in place.
"I'd say good morning but.." Shizuha smiled and indicated to the window with her head, "We are still a few hours from that".
Yachiyo stretched a little and Shizuha could feel the woman's limbs protest.
"You're frowning" Yachiyo jested, pressing her thumb between Shizuha's brows.
"You are overdoing it" she chided softly.
Her fingers skimmed down her wife's sides, Yachiyo's eyes flickering close as she exhaled against Shizuha's jaw.
"Then rest with me for a while. I have to tell you about this dream".
With that, she tugged Shizuha down on her, curling herself around the older woman's frame as Shizuha sighed and settled over Yachiyo's shoulder, arms beneath the woman's body.
"Very well. But this isn't the last of this conversation, Yachiyo".
"Mean" Yachiyo giggled and felt Shizuha press a kiss to her shoulder.
"I have to be at times. So, what did you dream of?".
The pressure of Shizuha's body subdued Yachiyo, her hands running through her wife's blue hair and around her back.
When they held each other like this, it was a reminder that the loneliness they were once embroiled in had ceased to exist, had long departed from the crevices of their minds and talents which they had to keep repressed.
They were free to act, to dream, to exist together.
To exist beyond a meager month of a butterfly and 13 years of a crane.
Yachiyo thought back to said dream where such a blissful moment had taken place as Shizuha listened, her head moving down to rest over Yachiyo's chest, the hypnotic cadence of her heartbeat cushioning her further.
"We were in such a strange but beautiful valley, like something from a postcard. The stars, we could see them so clearly, along with the moon. I'm sure there was a notable constellation but honestly, I was too busy looking at you. It was a calm summer night and we were dressed as such, in gorgeous yet light dresses".
Shizuha could hear the fondness, imagine the beauty of this mystical valley that sounded invious in comparison to modern life.
Her wife was such a storyteller, spinning tales without irrepressible care.
Yachiyo held Shizuha tighter, lips pressing against her hair.
"You and I were dancing, even though there was no music. It was a slow dance, the kind where we couldn't keep our eyes off of each other as we moved, bodies close and..everything just open".
Such dances occurred between them, free and full of mirth in their home.
"The only downside to the dream was that I felt happy, yet detached at the same time".
Shizuha lifted her upper body off from Yachiyo, one arm resting on their bed and the other tilting up her wife's chin when she glanced down.
"Why was that?" she enquired softly.
"It felt like.." Yachiyo paused, taking in the adoration and worry in Shizuha's eyes. Dream Shizuha watched her the same way, "I was going to be taken away from you. No matter how long we danced and kissed for, the feeling in my chest was crushing. Like the end of me, of us, was going to happen moments later. The last thing I recall before waking was thinking how I didn't want to part from you, Shizuha".
There was a slight waver at the end of Yachiyo's sentence which clinched at Shizuha's heart and all she wanted to do was whisper a torrent of reassurances.
But in truth, there was only one thing that Yachiyo needed, wanted to hear.
"That won't happen here, I will not allow it to, Yachiyo".
The firmness in Shizuha's voice was prevalent as she rested her hand on Yachiyo's cheek.
"The pernicious tragedies can remain as a dream but this, us, is a reality" she smiled, "I won't let you go".
"Shizuha.." Yachiyo managed, tone breathless while she placed her left hand over Shizuha's on her face.
The older woman lifted the ring finger near to her lips, kissed the underside of Yachiyo's wedding ring and settled her cheek in her wife's palm.
"I already made that promise to you years ago, remember?"
In perpetuity, for as long as we draw breath, I'm yours.
The plaintive dredges of the dream faded away as Yachiyo kissed her, using her other arm to curl it behind Shizuha's neck.
Unlike the dream version of them, this kiss was inundated with warmth, longing and a future that would continue to unwind before their eyes.
Paths upon paths for the choosing, together.
They pulled apart slightly, breathing mingling and heartbeats running wild as they gazed at each other with their emotions on display.
Yachiyo recalled those words, kept them close, saw them in Shizuha's eyes.
"You did" Yachiyo nodded before pressing her forehead against her wife's, "And we're still here".
That feeling of despondency, of losing Shizuha, of death lingering by.
It was nothing but a dream.