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The Rock Hopper and the Butterfly

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Mountain air blowing through his hair, Nagisa starts to feel his mood turn uncharacteristically sour.

Taking in the greys of the surrounding rock face, the lush greens and earthy tones of the plains below Nagisa scratches his wrist absently.
He pales as something like full blown panic grips his stomach tight.

He could feel it building for the last month or so and knew (from experience) the warning signs, and subsequential mood changes that all led to why he was on the edge of the cliff in the first place.

Excusing himself from his group, he takes a seat on the cold rocky ground and takes several deep breaths of the cool alpine air.

Irrational fear churns in his gut as he quickly unstraps the velcro sleeve of his jacket and starts rubbing his right thumb soothingly over the name etched into the skin of his left wrist.

 

Rei, the name of his soulmate. Branded onto him the moment he and his soulmate were of age.

Rei, the name he woke up with the year he turned 18, wrist burning as the scar seared the delicate flesh.

Rei. Three letters made of scar tissue on the inside of his wrist.

Rei, whose extreme emotions he had been sharing for the last 2 years.

Rei, who he had yet to find and meet.

Rei, Nagisa’s destiny, the missing piece that Nagisa was sure would help him make some sort of sense of his confusing and somewhat aimless life.

Rei, who was currently so nervous and stressed and scared right now that it was starting to affect the usually easy going and stress free persona Nagisa tries so hard to maintain.

 

Gritting his teeth, Nagisa continues to lazily thumb the name on his wrist, concentrating, willing some of his own boundless energy to his distant and distressed soulmate, hoping passionately to help calm them.

 

After about 10 minutes his soulmates panic seems to subside and Nagisa braces for what he sadly refers to as “the inevitable”.

Heart in his throat Nagisa patiently endures the usual (thankfully brief) step after his soulmates' panic comes- what he refers to as ‘the dead cold emotionless void’ before the most heartbreaking part hits him.

The roaring crash of Rei’s utter disappointment and complete self loathing flood Nagisa’s mind, his soulmates pain bringing tears to his eyes.

 

It takes all of his strength to stand up as Nagisa joins his team, walking to the precipice.

 

Smiling around at his teammates, Nagisa swallows down Rei’s pain for the thousandth time.

The last time if he has any say.

 

As he jumps off the side of a Norwegian mountain, Nagisa thinks of Rei.

 

He thinks of the enormity of being able to share only his most intense feelings with his fated other half. *Sorry Rei, you didn’t deserve to feel all that pressure and anger I was holding in*

He thinks of all the smaller, subtler things he wished he could also share. * I wanna hug you when you’re sad, make you laugh when you’re feeling tense, make you smile when you’re about to cry*

He thinks of his soulmates’, intense and rapidly increasing bouts of self hate and smiles sadly to himself. *I want to help you*

 

Spreading the arms of his wingsuit Nagisa thinks aloud “I can’t stop you from hurting Rei, but I can at least distract you”

 

Nagisa embraces the free fall, fully allowing his body to give in to sensation.

Adrenaline fuelled awe and wonder wash over him in waves as he glides peacefully over the beautiful alpine forrests below.

He feels the months worth of anticipation from planning this trip give way to the most intense calmness he has felt yet.

 

He feels in every fibre of his being- completely and totally free.

Chapter Text

Legs and back aching from his botched pole vault landing, Rei pulls himself up off the landing mat.
He swiftly makes his way to the grandstand where the rest of his Track and field team are relaxing from or preparing for their own events.
Acknowledging their sympathetic looks with a small nod, Rei sits down heavily on the bench and breathes a sigh of relief as their attention quickly diverts from his failure to their own individual warm ups or warm downs.

 

Head bowed, he barely notices the consoling tone of his coach as, for a moment he slips into a trance- berating himself over and over for his poor performance.

*easily cleared 5.75m -could’ve started higher -barely cleared 5.85m -thats not even close to my personal best - 1 pass at 5.95m -embarrasing and 2 misses at 6.05m -not good enough -I’ve done higher at practise -didn’t push hard enough -didn’t make the team -should have trained more*

 

A firm hand grips his shoulder, snapping him out of his fugue and he looks up into the usually impassive teal eyes of his coach.
Rei sees only the first look of commiseration and feels a stab of sudden anger
*i don’t want your sympathy *

 

Keeping his face blank he nods along politely at the reassuring words of comfort he is certain are only lip service and starts to zone out again.

Fuelled by his blinding anger at himself for giving anyone a reason to feel sorry for him, to pity him, his mind suddenly becomes completely void of anything as he mechanically waits for his coach to finish talking.

10 minutes later he finds himself alone in a shower stall.
He locks the door and places his bag on the seat provided.
Opening the shower curtain, he turns on the water and gets undressed, tossing his discarded clothes in a pile and entering the spray.

Stepping out of the shower to reach for his forgotten shampoo, he catches sight of his team jacket hanging on the back of the door and the full weight of not making the team crashes down on him.

 

Fighting against the looming panic attack, he counts slowly backwards from ten and tries to slow his breathing, but his mind is racing too fast and his disappointment is so strong he stumbles backwards against the shower wall, sliding down to the floor as the first hoarse sob tears through the lump in his throat.

 

*i’m afucking idiot! -Worthless -no wonder I have no friends -loser -CHOKED national qualifying choker
-allowedfor wind -I tried sohard this time -turn over was off by 2cm -failure
-hit the crossbar -completely missed the box loser -just like I completely missed question 4 onphysics paper 105

-stupid -supposedtobea92degreeangle -terrible UGLY -accelerationequalsthe change in velocity divided bythechangeintime

-6.05, I fucking eat 6.05 for breakfast -everything I do turns to shit -inelegant, inelegant person -completely overextended that inversion

-what was that swing up! -hate this -useless -280cm to take off average stride of 55cm

-rejection -never make the national team

-why do I even bother*

 

Rei’s bout of self loathing only lasts several painful minutes before his mind suddenly calms as if he was floating in a cloud of pure euphoria.
Unconsciously he reaches for his left wrist, relaxing once he feels the familiar scar tissue, marvelling at how lucky he is to have such a positive level-headed soulmate.
Accustomed to, if not downright reliant on it at this point, he allows himself to drown in the complete feeling of serenity.
Eyes drooping closed, he traces the name on his wrist.

“Thank you Nagisa” he breathes as wave after wave of pure ecstasy wash over him.

 

Nagisa, parachute deployed, drifting peacefully over the Norwegian countryside, lets out a resounding whoomp the moment he can feel his soulmates tension and pain fade.
He mentally adds ‘BASE jumping in Norway’ to his ever growing list of ‘things that take away my soulmates pain’ and smiles to himself.

 

Judging from experience, Nagisa figures he will have about two months to prepare for Rei’s next major meltdown. He’s already planning his next trip by the time his feet hit the earth.