Summary: You sometimes forget the day of the week.
Warnings: none really. French kiss and angsting?
Disclaimer: PoT or its characters does not belong to me.
A/N: There'll be a follow-up on this, because it was meant to be much longer but the deadline killed me XD So the second chapter should help tie things up and clear up anything here.
You sometimes forget the day of the week.
I’ve learned to recognize those days by the dull shine in your blue eyes, and the way they almost seem to lag behind when trying to follow my motions in the hazy dawn. I’d be nothing more than a shadow yet, with the weak sunlight filtering through our sky blue curtains. They match your eyes.
On those days, I stop my morning routine immediately once I notice those eyes and return to bed, sitting on the edge and taking your hands in mine. They’re always cold. You watch me with nothing more than a blank stare, lying drowsily among a bundle of thin white covers that complement the smooth cream of our bedroom walls.
"You are…?" you ask after a moment, with a small furrowing of your eyebrows and a confused buzzing in your voice. Your hand tightens around mine though, and I squeeze it while brushing your hair away from your face.
"Kunimitsu," I say, "Tezuka," I add, just in case that jolts your memory further. Sometimes it does.
"Ah…" you murmur after a moment, and close your eyes. The clouds passing over your face darken, "…Tezuka."
There is always a moment of silence, and you almost seem to have fallen back asleep, but I know better by now and continue stroking your soft, feathery hair. I brushed it last night. You were laughing and telling me a joke, teasing me by pretending I’d hurt your scalp by snagging a tangle. When you’re feeling particularly cruel, you’ll pretend I hurt the tender spot near the side of your head, but I never fall for it, because I’m always wary of that spot.
"Tezuka…" you repeat, your voice hesitant and thoughtful, but then it comes back again, stronger, "Kunimitsu."
"Yes. Exactly," I say, even though I know you haven’t really remembered anything past the fleeting relief of the elixir of familiarity. He’s someone, there’s something there, is all you’re thinking, but I embrace that thought nonetheless. I smile a little once you reopen your eyes, pulling the covers a little tighter around you, and lift your hand to press my lips devotedly onto your pale skin. The sensitive skin of my lips feels the bump of the jagged scar on your hand. You’ve taken to wearing gloves out in public, when you remember at least, and there’s been an increase in the long-sleeved collared shirts in your wardrobe. It makes me sad, because you say you do it to allay other people’s discomfort, but I know you do it because you hate us having to see it too.
You stare back at me, your puzzled eyes blinking at my unwavering gaze and the lips that are gently pressed onto the back of your hand.
"You…" your eyes widen a little, and I’ve always loved that crystal blue, even when it looks like a glassy veil has been thrown over them. Your other hand reaches out, brushes my cheek faintly, and then settles to cup my jaw as the pieces click inside your mind little by little. Even in your state, it’s hard to miss the matching rings on our left hands.
"So… this is our apartment?" you ask, eyeing the room. You swallow a little, as if reconciling yourself with it all, and smile a little as I nod. "It’s nice," you say conversationally, and I nod again.
Your blue irises escape me again underneath your fluttering eyelids. Your head, nearly buried in the downy pillows you like, shifts restlessly and a sigh of discomfort escapes your throat. I let go of your hand, placing it gently on your side as your eyes fly open, questions and panic whirling in them. They’re emotions that look distressingly beautiful on your face, you wear them so rarely. They’re a little frightening as well, for the same reason.
I brush your face once for reassurance and disappear momentarily. I glance at the clock as I take a glass down from the pantry and fill it with water, but the fact that I’m running several minutes late doesn’t speed up my motions at all. I return to find you’re still watching the doorway for my reappearance, a little unsure but still too disoriented to do anything more than accept your helplessness. The doctors say patients either succumb or violently fight. For some reason, I almost thought— hoped?— that you would be the type to fight, but maybe your every day façade of passivity is more ingrained in you than either of us realized. It makes sense though, because you’re the type who rarely gets worked up over things— especially when they concern you— and you’ve always lacked the drive you say you admire in me.
I’d hoped though, that you would let through the passion you’ve displayed in my arms before, and would be a fighter. I acknowledge, of course, that it is easier on the both of us that you’re not.
As it is, I’m used to your sometimes unnerving calm in face of the fact that there is nothing but a blank slate with a vague face and the name Tezuka Kunimitsu in your mind. Today though, is one of the better days, and so you probably remember your name as well, and perhaps several childhood memories. You might even remember the past couple years too, but that might come later. I open the drawer of our bedside table, sweeping away your photos and trinkets until I draw out the aspirin. You rub your temple wonderingly, as if only just realizing that it was in fact a headache that had been plaguing you since your awakening.
Silently, I hand you two pills, lifting the glass to your lips slowly and giving plenty of warning, so as not to startle you. Your hands twitch as if to take the glass from my hands, but I know from previous experience that you more often than not drop it.
Crystal blue irises look at the bottle of aspirin kept handy by the bedside, then at my calm, knowing face, "This happens often, doesn’t it?"
I reach out to you, slowly, carefully, but as soon as you realize that my fingers are splaying over your shirt, you draw back. I do too, and look at you straight in the eye. It kills me to say this, and I clench my hands because it always hurts. I’m used to this, I tell myself, but it hurts every time you look at me, unrecognizing. Every time you shy away, every time you demand to know what we are.
"Do you trust me?"
Your eyes flicker from our hands, where the rings glimmer, to around the room, where many of your photographs line the walls in elegant frames. They’re all portraits of us. Smiling, lying in the sun, on trips with friends, at our graduations, several impromptu ones of me. There’s one on the wall, right in front of the bed, large and beautiful and deliberately conspicuous, and the scar on your neck is peeking out from under your collar. It’s recent, and you were the one who placed it there yourself.
You’re looking at the camera, at us now, as you kiss my lips gently.
So I’ll remember, you said, So I’ll know without a doubt.
"Yes," you say finally, and azure eyes bore unquestioningly into my gaze.
So I reach out again, and this time you don’t flinch or draw away when I unbutton your shirt and slip it off, revealing the macabre array of scars running from the side of your neck down to the length of your thin chest and abdomen. The smaller ones are fading, all along your arms and hands, and in a couple months may be invisible. The ones along the curve of your jaw and cheek are, at least.
The shattered glass cut you so much, you know? To this day I still can’t go by those stairs without remembering the blood, the hemorrhage of red that covered you. The panic that seized me right then and there and paralyzed my heart and lungs for a dizzying vertigo of a moment.
You liked shards of glass—thought they were beautiful to photograph, and almost convinced me of it too. I can’t look at them the same way anymore.
There are deeper scars that’ll never disappear though. Some are on your chest and neck, one lies on the side of your head. Others yet lie inside me, tightly wound and ingrained around my heart. My hand trembles as it reaches out to touch the one on your neck. You almost bled to death. Death—the word makes my stomach turn every time I think that you almost… that you wouldn’t be…
I can’t even finish the thought, it makes me so sick.
"Tez—Kunimitsu?" Your eyes are softer now, steady and uncomprehending of my pain, but I don’t mind.
I want to say your name, but instead repeat, more to myself, "It’s alright," biting back a shuddering sigh from inside me as my hand alights upon your neck, soothing, because you start slightly and look down, and slowly blink as you take in what you see.
"This," I whisper, because despite my efforts to sound strong and calm, sometimes the reality, the sheer force of it overwhelms me, and this is not one of my better days, even if it is one of yours, "is why you can’t remember…" me.
I remove my hand, watching you take in the extent of the damage that was done to your porcelain pale skin. Your own fingers glide with unfamiliar, uncertain flutters down the length of the scars that I know by memory, so often have I—have we— traced them in the darkest of the night, sometimes holding back, sometimes letting go of the bitter pain accompanying them.
You’ve gotten thinner since then. Your once finely sculpted muscles have lost some of their toning, unable to continue a daily regimen due to days of occasional weakness. I never mention it. I know it frustrates you as you stare at yourself in the mirror, unaware I’m watching over you, and glare at the scars and yourself. The skin you now touch experimentally is pale and drawn, bunched up like wrinkled cloth around those scars I damn, and you reach low across your stomach to finger a healed gash. Likewise, you reach over your shoulder and gasp a little as the tentative press results in a surge of throbbing pain. Your shoulder blade was the first point of contact. It’ll probably always remain sore to the touch, the doctor said.
"So how did it happen?" you wince a little as you say this. The movement is obvious to me, though anyone else might have missed the slight narrowing of your eyes and the downward twitch of your lips. I shrug nonchalantly, even though I hate having to relive it. It becomes just a little less vivid every time I retell it, so perhaps someday it won’t be so hard to recount.
"You fell down the stairs while holding several glass vases. You hit your head, and the vases, of course, shattered in the fall and landed all over you. There was severe brain damage. You spent two weeks in a coma, then two months in rehabilitation, and those," I gesture toward your body, "are the reminders of it. That was nearly a year ago, but your brain hasn’t quite recovered as your body has."
Maybe it’s something about my face, or the monotone quality of my voice that’s just too controlled to be real, maybe it’s the latent intuition in you that surfaces even when little else does, but you look at me with a strange sort of knowing pity and ask "Do you feel guilty?"
I blink, "Do I…" I repeat wonderingly, thinking quickly, suppressing it just as swiftly as I shake my head, and respond far too hastily, "It’s harder on you than it is on me," It’s not true, but it’s not a lie.
We both suffer.
That doesn’t seem to be the answer you’re quite looking for, and you frown a little and gaze back at your palms and the little crisscrosses of barely visible skin. I stand, and can’t help but reach out and finger a strand of your hair affectionately, longingly, holding back from more. You freeze again at the motion and your eyes leap up to mine, wide and innocently sky blue.
"…You…" there is faint wonder in your voice, but you stop and look away with the sparsest tint of pink staining your face. The clock ticks fifteen times, and then you glance back up to see me tightening my tie into perfect proportion, and finally blurt, "Where are you going?"
"Work," I find comfort in the slight hint of panic and uncertainty that tenses your body at my words, and continue for relief, "I only have to pick up today’s papers, and take care of some details. I’ll be back within the hour."
You visibly relax, and ask in feigned calmness, "Where do you work?"
"Atobe’s Law Firm Inc."
There is no flicker of recognition in your eyes, and for the first time that morning, I almost want to laugh. It might be better that way, because you’ve always seemed to have a slight sore spot when it came to Atobe in regards to me. And that hour-long phone conversation between him and me that left you sulking and glaring at me reproachfully is thankfully forgotten. Whoever said women were the possessive ones obviously never met you.
"Lawyer, then?" you try to say lightly, but it comes out a little helplessly, and I want to scoop you into my arms and smooth away the unhappy lines in your face.
You watch me put on my shoes and coat as I look around for the brush to fix the mess my hair is in. I catch sight of it on the table next to you, still there from last night, and you follow my gaze and grab it for me, holding it out.
"Can I do it for you?" you ask hesitantly, but I know you’re testing me. You want to know more, and what better way than by throwing yourself headlong into the relationship we supposedly have?
I sit back against the bed, listen to you making yourself comfortable and slide your fingers around my head to accommodate it against the shins of your crossed legs. The strokes are careful and experimental at first, gaining confidence at my closed eyes and sounds of pleasure, becoming elegantly bold by the time I realize you’re leaning forward so that your bangs hang in front of my face, and your hands are placed on my head, lips pressed to the crown of my head in acceptance.
"I’m yours…" The whisper is soft, dry leaves rustling, and I can gather nothing more than blind acceptance from it, but I’m sure there’s a question in there.
"Yes," I say, but I don’t like that acceptance, it’s almost lifeless. I want inquisitiveness, challenge, the vibrancy that I know lies in you… but I am the one forced to accept that it’s better this way, because it keeps me sane, and it’s what keeps us together despite all the hardships.
I pledge myself to you unconditionally and you believe me unconditionally.
I take one of your cold hands in mine, and turn around to kneel in front of you. You smile sadly, but gently, and I, about to stand up to leave, stop and bite my lip at the sight of yours in that painful curve.
"Will you… kiss me before I go?" I ask, suddenly a bit unsure. It’s the first time I’ve asked anything of you when your memory is still nothing more than an empty diary. But I want it. I want the warmth, the reassurance, the feel of you still alive and still with me, in body and spirit if not in mind.
You lean over to me, almost eager in your fear. You hide it well but you’re not enough in control of yourself to hide it from me, who knows you inside out. Your eyelashes flutter with nervousness, your lower lip trembles in its rosy fullness, but your eyes are resolute and steely azure. I draw you closer by the arm and close my eyes, letting your probing mouth take control and only responding to the tentative pressure of your vulnerable lips, which then grows into a gentle tug of my upper lip, followed by the tip of your tongue brushing the border of the inside of my mouth curiously. I open, let the wet warmth of your tongue drag itself along my teeth, not daring to come any closer, daring enough as it is and in your — our— circumstances. Your hand has snaked around to finger the back of my ear as I kneel in front of you, and your other hand is pressed against my shoulder for support, and the motion, the feeling, is so you, so reminiscent of other times — last night—, that I’m tempted to forget that this isn’t quite the Syusuke I know and pull you hard and close and push back with tenfold what you’re giving me right now.
You break off first, breathless, with a daze in your eyes and a limp grasp sliding from the back of my head to land back in your lap. I’m breathless too, wanting, begging, letting the memory of your lips linger on mine for a second longer…
"I’ll be back," I stand, brushing the tips of your fingers with mine and locking my eyes with yours before leaving.
"Kunimitsu!" you call suddenly, and I turn around, "What day is it?"
"Wednesday, the 14th."
You smile, and wave, bundled in the thin covers that’ll hardly keep you warm once I leave, fingering the scars left on your chest and watching me with newfound affection. It’s that look that keeps us alive and rekindles our love every time you forget the day of the week.