Window to the Heart
“Macerio has a fever?” Lirit repeated what he had just heard from the violet-eyed medic in front of him and furrowed his brow in confusion. “Why isn’t anyone with him?”
Lynus sighed as he curled a strand of his hair behind his ear, looking quite dejected and displeased with the situation himself. “Hamza says that Macerio becomes like this every year upon the anniversary of his mother’s death,” he explained. “I don’t want to leave him alone when he’s like this, though Hamza says it’s for the best as it’s what Macerio wants, anyway. No one is to step pass that door, he said.”
Lirit chewed on his bottom lip as he turned his gaze to the floor, looking only half as disappointed as he felt. However, he snapped his head back up, curious and confused when he heard a soft chuckle.
“But he didn’t say anything about the window,” Lynus said to him with a smile.
Lynus winked at him. “His room is on the ground floor, remember?”
Immediately catching on to what Lynus was implying, Lirit smiled as he reached over to hug the medic. “Thank you, Lynus!”
Lynus laughed again as he lightly patted him on the back before he pushed him away gently. “Go,” he said as he looked at Lirit with an expression filled with understanding. “I’ll pacify Hamza. I’m sure the others will be relieved as well.”
Lirit pulled back from Lynus, shot him a grateful smile, before turning to make his way out the front entrance of the inn. He idly patted the leather strap that held his lute, pleased with himself that he had picked up the habit of always carrying his lute with him, no matter where he went.
Reaching the side of the inn where Macerio’s room was located, Lirit paused for a moment as he counted the windows. He had to be careful as he didn’t want to tap on someone else’s window, giving them the wrong idea or waking up a disgruntled explorer.
Quietly walking toward the window he guessed was Macerio’s room, he peered through the glassed, pleased to see a certain brown-haired gunner curled up on the bed near the window. He also felt concerned, though, as Macerio seemed to be restless and uncomfortable, lying atop of the blankets rather than under them. Was he sleeping and having a bad dream? Or was he…remembering things he didn’t really want to?
Lirit lifted his hand and tapped against the window with his nail. The sound was sharp and unnatural, so Macerio stirred. When Lirit tapped against the glass again, Macerio snapped his head up to look around the room groggily before turning toward the window. He seemed to narrow his eyes, no doubt confused and suspicious of who or what would be tapping at his window. His eyes soon widen in realisation, however, and he pushed himself up and off the bed. Within a couple of steps he was at the window, of which he quickly opened.
“Lirit?” he said as he rested his hands on the windowsill and leaned out the window. “What are you doing out here?”
“I just wanted to see how you were doing,” Lirit explained as he stood directly in front of him, immediately noticing that his cheeks were a soft pink and his eyes were slightly bleary.
Macerio tilted his head to the side for a moment before looking around. “Outside, though?”
“Hamza said your room was off-limits for a while because of your fever,” Lirit explained before he smiled brightly. “But I knew you would like some company. That’s why I chose the window.”
The corner of Macerio’s mouth twitched into a smile. “Because technically you’re not inside the room?”
“Exactly,” Lirit replied with a small laugh, internally grateful for Lynus’ suggestion, before he paused to lift a hand, placing it upon Macerio’s forehead. “Hm? Your fever is still pretty high. Have you been sleeping?”
Macerio looked to the side with a slight pout. “I can’t get comfortable,” he muttered.
“Let me play you something, then,” Lirit immediately suggested as he reached around for his lute. But as he did so, a small flash of yellow caught his attention. “Before that, though.”
Moving away from the window where Macerio was, Lirit headed over to a small flower bed and plucked a small yellow flower. He quickly made his way back to Macerio and tucked the flower behind his ear, surprising him. “Here.”
Macerio’s hand automatically reached up toward the flower, but instead of pulling it out from behind his ear, he just trailed his fingertips gently across the velvety petals. “W-what-?” he spluttered.
“It suits you,” Lirit said simply but sincerely as he drew his lute into his hands. “Flowers, along with music, can lift anyone’s spirit.”
Before Macerio could make some kind of reply in return, Lirit began to play his lute. He played a song that he had written himself, with the help of Cedric. It was a gentle sonata of healing and peace, and he sincerely hoped that it would do just that for Macerio.
He didn’t sing any words, though. In times like this, words could be distracting. His music needed to be relaxing and comforting. Besides, even if Lirit had written the words of his true feelings for Macerio, the gunner probably wouldn’t understand them right now. He was under a bit of stress, after all. Lirit did not wish to add to it.
At first, Macerio stood at attention to listen. But he soon sat himself down on a chair in front of the window and folded his arms upon the window sill, his chin resting atop of them. His eyes drifted closed, the yellow flower still adorning his hair. He looked peaceful now, the tension of fever softening significantly.
Lirit continued to play his lute gently as he turned to lean his back against the window next to Macerio. It was nice being able to play his music for Macerio. It was different to playing for one person rather than a group of them. He had played often at the bar to keep the rowdy patrons happy and friendly. He had been told that his music most likely prevented a large quantity of barfights from occurring.
But playing for Macerio was…he didn’t want to intimate, but it was the only word he could think of.
“Can I ask you a question?” Macerio suddenly asked him.
Lirit turned his head to the side to look at him, his fingers still fluttering over his lute without pause. “Sure. What is it?”
With his chin still resting upon his folded arms, Macerio looked reflective. “It’s…I’ve been wondering. Did you…have a family before? I mean…before here?”
“I did,” Lirit managed to reply without pausing in his music. “Not by blood, but by circumstance and necessity.”
Macerio peered up at him with curious eyes. “What do you mean?”
“I never knew my birth parents,” Lirit admitted as he shifted slightly on his feet, never pausing in his playing. “I was raised with a group of travelling musicians. We travelled from town to town performing for money and food. That was how…I was discovered.”
“Do you miss them?”
“Are you…going to leave one day?” Macerio unexpectedly asked him, his voice soft, yet there was also a slight sense of trepidation. “To look for them?”
Lirit glanced down at Macerio for a moment before a smile made its way upon his lips. “I have a family here now. Though I would like to meet with them again. One day. If I’m lucky, they’ll visit Lagaard instead.”
Macerio sighed audibly with relief, his shoulder relaxing. “Hm,” he murmured.
“If I do go,” Lirit said slowly as he kept his full attention on the brown-haired man next to him. “Will you come with me?”
It honestly made Lirit incredibly happy to hear that. “One day then. But for now, let’s stay here and make new happy memories with our family. This is where we belong now.”
Macerio closed his eyes as he smile. “Yeah.”
Lirit played his lute for a moment longer before he paused and turned his full attention and focus upon Macerio. Embolden by how relaxed and unguarded the gunner was, Lirit lifted his hand and gently trailed his fingers through Macerio’s brown hair, the gunner unconsciously leaning in toward his touch. Lirit then leaned down and gently kissed him on his forehead.
Macerio’s eyes immediately snapped open and he turned his head to look at him with wide-eyes, his mouth dropping open in surprise. “E-eh?”
“You don’t have to handle things on your own, you know?” Lirit said as he gently brushed Macerio’s cheek with his hand. “I’m here for you.”
Macerio continued to look at him, appearing as though he was finding it difficult to accept the words he just heard. However, his eyes softened into his vulnerable, yet warm expression. “…I know,” he whispered. “Thanks, Lirit.”
Gently rubbing his thumb against Macerio’s cheek bone, Lirit smiled when he noticed how tired the other appeared to be. “Get some rest,” he said gently.
But as Lirit turned to leave, Macerio unexpectedly snared the elbow of his shirt. He glanced down at Macerio’s hand before turning his attention back to the gunner, finding him flustered and looking at everything else but him.
“I don’t want to be alone anymore,” Macerio murmured.
Lirit had to smile. “I’ll stay, then,” he said as he turned toward the window.
It was surprisingly easy for him to clamber through the window and step into Macerio’s room. The brown-haired gunner still refused to look at him, the flush on his cheeks now only partly due to the fever. Lirit said nothing, instead silently ushering Macerio back toward his bed.
They had never slept in the same bed before, but it felt surprisingly easy and natural for them. Macerio curled up on his side, his back against the wall and facing Lirit. Lirit with his arm draped over his waist in a comforting manner, prompting the other to cuddle closer toward him either consciously or unconsciously.
Lirit gently kissed Macerio’s brow again before he settled down upon the bed next to him. He would tell Macerio his true feelings later. When he was feeling better. There was no need to rush. They had all the time in the world now.