Eiji wakes up in the dead of the night, plagued by the dreams of a field bathed in gold and a sky littered with beautiful blues and yellows, he takes a sharp intake of breath and closes his eyes, and tells himself that he's okay.
He counts in his head, ten counts in, pause, ten counts out, repeat. His clothes are damp from sweat, sticking uncomfortably on his skin, and honestly, Eiji feels miserable.
He takes in the interior of his room, light seeping out from blue curtains, a light breeze passing through. He looks at the photographs pinned to an old cork board, of Max and his family, of his parents and his younger sister, of sunrise and sunsets and of blond hair, green eyes and a smile. He feels a heavy weight on his chest, but suddenly he's reminded of his dreams, of the things that could have been. Maybe, they could have travelled back to Japan, Ash meeting his parents, learning his language, eating his favorite food. Shorter would come with and they could have been just normal teens in their outrageous years where it's all pranks and idiocy. But this story is a tragedy, and life is not just beautiful sceneries.
Sometimes, Eiji's mind wonders to what did Ash look like in his final moments. Was he scared? Was he battered or bruised or bloody? Or was he wearing a smile during the time of his death, quiet and resigned? Was he able to be free? Was he free?
He isn't naive to think that Ash might be alive, he isn't one to think of the small chances of what could have been. A decade has passed, and the only thing Eiji clings to is the small moments he and Ash shared. Though the thought of being reminded of their promise, one that tied him down that his beloved is forever gone, still instills an unrecognizable feeling in his chest.
If Ash found his finality, Eiji wants his.
He doesn't want to reminiscent of all their promises and shared secrets, of the quiet moments and the skip of their heart when they're together, of endless sunsets and homemade meals, of light banters and unforgettable experiences.
He wants to breathe.
He knows that he's chasing the ghost of what could have been. He knows that the ache that's settled in his chest is because nothing was finished. He knows that no matter how much he prayed, no matter how much he clung to the idea that somewhere Ash might be alive, Eiji knows that reality is a bitter pill to swallow. He knows, but he can't find the means to accept and move on.
However, everything is easier said than done.
Eiji tries to convince himself most these days, but the moment he looks, he moment opens his eyes to accept, all he could see is a whitewashed room, devoid of everything but him.
A tailored suit, fitted beautifully to his physique, a bouquet of roses, nine red blooms that undeniably meant eternal love, and a small reassurance from his lips, "I hope you're doing well without me."
Eiji feels his heart break, it's not fair, he thinks, but if Ash is happy, who was he to deny him that.
Afterall, the boy suffered from so many things, he was held by at a young age, barely understanding why his father casted him away from that; he wasn't able to be just a seventeen year old, making stupid decisions, hanging out without the fear of everything being taken away from him, dancing to obnoxious pop music and singing to nonsensical tunes, Ash was brought up by the worst people imaginable, inciting fear and ultimately trapping him within an iron cage.
He understands the fact that they live in different worlds, one paved with beautiful meadows while the other a path littered with thorns. Eiji thinks that might be the reason why he was drawn too closely
Maybe he's just jealous, maybe it's because he longs for the boy. But, if heaven does exist, Ash is watching over him, praying that Eiji would find the means to be happy.
He's not stupid, he isn't naive to think that Ash might have survived. It's been a decade. It's been too long. He just hopes that during Ash's final moments, he had thought of him. Of the letter he wrote that no matter what, he'd remain as his ally, that no matter the circumstance he'd be with Ash, that he is forever his.
He hasn't moved on, and it makes him wonder if he ever will.