“Let's go home already!” the other across him laughed, reaching forward to grasp his shoulders tightly. Their laugh quickly turned into burning coughs, blood dripping down the corners of their mouth and marking a searing trail of scarlet onto their skin. His own breath caught in his throat, his arms darting forward to catch them as the sewer water sloshed around their knees and they lurched forward. The almost awkward weight on his face that had blocked his vision seemed to disintegrate into the air, and he could clearly see the blood gushing out of their abdominal wound.
With their blood soaked, sunshine locks pressed firmly to his chest, he sobbed as if the world had been destroyed and he was watching as the last little bit of his sanity was disappearing among the rubble left behind. They still looked so happy, as if seeing him was the one thing they could of ever asked for. That made him cry harder.
“Do you think,” they choked out, “that you could fight with all your strength one last time?” The scary thing was, he didn’t mind giving up everything he had ever worked if they asked him to, so his “yes” was as desperate as his need for them to survive. They laughed again, and bared their neck, allowing for him to sink his teeth into the soft flesh and rip it off.
Looking into those soft chocolate eyes again, among another battlefield filled with sorrow and blood, Haise wondered why his heart felt as if it was being ripped from his chest, crushed into cold claws. The excruciating pain in his head doubled as screaming overtook his mind, begging, give it back, give it back, give it back. He wondered why they smiled at him like that, as if he was the most precious thing in the world, when he was a monster. Give me my body back!
“It's okay, Haise,” they whispered softly, petting his hair as he sobbed and the battle around them froze, slowed down to allow them to gaze at each other, Haise’s mind screaming at him to just please, give it back, let me see them, please!
“Shhh, I know, it hurts, I know,” they said soothingly, petting at his hair and rocking him like a child. If Haise had looked up, he would have seen that they were crying too. “I promise, you won't have to hurt anymore.”
He wondered how someone could lie like that, straight through their teeth. He realized, though, that they actually thought they could help him, save him from the cruel world surrounding the two. He would have laughed if he didn't desperately hope that they could.
“Trust me, alright?”
Oh god, he trusted with every last fiber of his being, until he was nothing and existing solely on that trust he was giving the other. For some reason, he had enough faith in them not to crush it and leave him to his demise.
Haise looked down, eyes sad and chest tight. He wondered what this feeling was, deep in his heart, buried under his regret and sorrow.
It felt faintly of sunshine.
"You were so peaceful, I didn't want to come and hurt you so soon," Haise jumped at the voice, eyes wide as he froze. "I'm sorry," the voice continued.
I know that voice.
It seemed as though everything faded and he stood, bare and sins shining for all to see, everything around him white. A part of him seemed almost relieved; as if the white could've been something so much worse.
Red spider Lilies.
For some reason, he wanted anybody but that other in front of him to see his mistakes, written across him in faded scars and haunted eyes. He turned slowly, as though trying to see who it was without really turning around. However, one look over his shoulder and he was stumbling over his own feet and air in his hurry to turn, to look, to marvel. He stepped forward hesitantly, hand outstretched.
"So you do remember, Ken," the other continued, voice as radiant as their heart of gold, and Haise wanted more of it, wanted to drown in the honey dripping from their voice, sweet and passionate. His shaking hands weren't reaching anymore, they were clasped in the light material of a white button up. He had pulled the other to him faster than he could think.
"You're alive," he whispered, almost awed. "You're alright." Haise felt a chuckle rumble from deep within their chest, the sound of birds singing early in the morning, heartfelt and tired. "I should be the one telling you that."
Haise shook his head. "Just..." He asked, "just stay, for a minute?" The other smiled. "I'm really sorry," they said again. Haise wondered what on earth someone as beautiful as they could ever be sorry for, but he listened. Sometimes love didn't mean rushed words to fill a weighted silence, or a way to find the right words to end suffering. Sometimes love means letting who you cherish save themselves, so they can to lift the heaviness around them and watch it go weightless, fly to the sky and away from the world's tainted hands. Sometime love meant just simply listening.
"I'm sorry I came back."
"No," Haise choked out. "Don't be sorry. Oh god, don't be sorry." The other just smiled up at him, words as soft and guilty as Heise's were tired and pleading. "You just achieved some peace...I'm sorry I'm uprooting it all."
"I don't care."
It took them both off guard, but Haise wasn't truly shocked; because he didn't care, not a single bit. He was just happy that he could feel the warmth of this living, breathing person radiating into him, warming him to the bones that had stayed frozen in icy cruelty for far too long.
So they stayed like that awhile, until they sank to their knees, chests pressed flush together and arms tangled around each other. "I'm sorry," they called, over and over again, a mantra, a broken record that should still work, but didn't, even though it was bought only yesterday.
"I'm sorry you can't stay here."
For some reason, Haise wasn't that surprised at their words. He just pulled back and smiled down at them. "I can't dream forever," Haise looked up at the sky. "In fact, I'm tired of dreaming."
Their breath hitched, and they were staring up at Haise in surprise. "But..." They struggled to find the words. "But you were finally happy."
Haise chuckled, sounding exhausted. "I really was," he sighed wistfully and stared at the sky, at the white all around him. "It was like heaven." Before they could say anything, Haise had already pushed a long, delicate finger to their mouth. "But that is exactly why I have to leave."
They quieted to let him speak. "I can't keep lying to myself like this. If I do, when I wake up, it will only hurt more to let it all go. You realized that, didn't you? That's why you pulled me here?"
They just looked down to the ground, a tragedy different from Hasse's etched into their eyes. Haise had a feeling a lot of it was caused by him. A large part of him despaired at the thought.
He stood then, leaving them on the ground, kneeling in the white ground that seemed suffocating. It was a nice suffocation, though, happiness warming his heart until it was hard to breath, full in a way Haise didn't want to lose.
"Thank you. I'm really sorry, that I'm going to leave you. It...I...I really don't want to. It's really selfish of me to do so." Their head shot up, ready to object, but Haise wasn't looking at them anymore. They were staring off at the distance, where a door stood, shrouded in a haze of gray and a soft, comforting tawny. The wind blowing began to pick up.
"Don't even try and tell me it isn't. I know it is. I know I'm hurting you. And I'm really sorry-" he laughed at that, then turned to look at them, and they say the guilt in the way his eyes didn't crinkle at the corners at his smile, his smile so natural but so forced, as if trying so hard and not trying at all. "You're probably tired of hearing "I'm sorry". I've really beaten the people I love, haven't I?"
He looked out again at the sunset beginning to form at the end of the burning white. A little bit of wickedness never hurt anyone. "I never realized that when I chose to dream, that nightmares are dreams too."
The other finally spoke after so long. "You know the truth now, don't you?" They were standing now, laughing, a sound too melancholy for someone so bright. "Sometimes you suffer because you love too much."
Haise nodded, hands now resting against his sides. As the image of the other began to fade, he called out softly, "my largest demons, my worst nightmares-more than being weak, more than being so utterly alone-my greatest nightmare, losing the most important thing to me-"
Haise looked back as the other faded into the white flowers blooming around them, at their beautiful, bittersweet smile resting sadly on their face, saying goodbye for them as their words faded, and where red spider Lilies sprouted, their pure white petals floated over and touched them, turning them snow white again-
"-was you, Hide."
He reached for that door. He didn’t know what was on the other side, but he was willing to take the chance, as long as he could at least free the other from this horrid dreamscape and let them finally rest.
"Who did you meet in your dreams?” Saiko asked, seemingly out of nowhere. He startled from where he was reading in his office chair, giving her a curious look. She shrugged nonchalantly. “You stare off into space a lot,” she reasoned, “so I just thought that maybe something happened when, you know-you were in your coma?”
Haise smiled softly at her feigned casualness, when she was obviously wondering for a while. He set his bookmark into his book, setting it softly on his desk. He stood, coming to stand beside her at the large window claiming a large portion of the far wall, probably the only wall not covered in shelves full of books.
"The most wonderful people, you wouldn't even believe me if I told you," he managed quietly, and she looked up at him in surprise. Her eyes softened around the edges, something akin to fondness surrounding her features. "You've changed," she told him, covering the silence in her sudden outburst. He laughed, reaching up to scratch at his scalp.
"I hope for the better," he told her lightly, and she blinked at him, before a large grin overtook her face, so wide her eyes even closed. The room around them was comforting, the atmosphere relaxed and cozy. With bookshelves lining three walls and a large window overlooking the city covering the fourth, Haise loved to dream about what it would have been like if another was there, hair the color of canaries and smile lighting up the room. He tried not to think of that too much.
"C'mon, the FBI doesn't serve you; you serve the FBI," was shouted at them, through the sudden smash of the door smacking against the wall, Shirazu marching in, a terrified Mutsuki and indifferent Urie following his footsteps. "We got a new case from Akira."
“You can't open the door like that every time,” Mutsuki squeaked, glancing with his uncovered eye to where the door still stood open. “You'll smash the wall!”
Shirazu grumbled something out, scratching at his scalp without paying much attention to Mutsuki, instead making his way towards Saiko and Haise.
Haise laughed, and he sounded so old, as though he had been through enough torture to last a lifetime. He turned to look out the window again, leaving his underlings to argue amongst themselves. "Trust me," he whispered. "I'm not going anywhere."
In the distance, a large graveyard stretched across the horizon. He had plans to go visit it, and replace the sunflowers he had put there years ago before his accident with fresh ones. Except this time, his sorrow wasn't destructive, just a heavyweight in his chest he had gotten used to carrying.
I'm awake, and damn it, it hurts so much.