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winds leading to the future

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Eizen was surprised that only the late morning sun woke him up that day.

Over the past year, he’d become more than accustomed to the Shepherd’s yelling forcing him awake, or even Lailah’s laughter at her own puns. So the silence from the motorhome was both a relief and a concern.

He refused to open his eyes just yet. Instead, he turned his body away from the window and instinctively stretched his arm over where Velvet laid. Eizen’s eyes shot open when his arm instead flopped onto the empty mattress. He groggily rose from the bed, taking the absence of his lover as the motivation to finally wake up.

Eizen pulled back the curtain that separated the beds from the rest of the motorhome, and looked around. The worry bubbling within him ceased the moment he saw Velvet at the stove, and noticed that a familiar smell was wafting through the room.

“Good morning.” Velvet quietly greeted him, her gaze still fixed on the source of the smell, a pot on the stove.

“Morning,” he greeted back, quietly making his way behind her. He glanced towards the steering wheel, then to the window. Both seats were empty, and the faint sound of gas from the stove was the only sound in the motorhome. Which must have meant...

“Everyone’s out right now,” said Velvet, confirming his suspicion. “Said they needed to get some supplies.” She glanced at him, a playful and knowing smirk on her lips, “Your curse aside, we should be alone for a bit.”

He pouted...until he gently wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his chin on top of her shoulder, “You didn’t go with them?”

“Nah, no reason for everyone to be out right now,” she turned her head and gently kissed his cheek.

He hummed at her response before looking back at the pot, “Prickleboar stew?”

She tensed up, “Yeah...we had the ingredients lying around, so I figured why not? It’ll be a good lunch for when everyone gets back.”

He raised an eyebrow. For the last few weeks, Velvet constantly made her prickleboar stew, serving it nearly every day. He hardly minded, as it was always delicious, but every single time she had him test her dish, she would ask the same question:

Does it taste like it used to?

It didn’t surprise him when she first asked. It made sense, considering how badly she wanted to regain her memories. He had told Velvet many things about her past self since they reunited, including her attempts to cook without the ability to taste. Her cooking now was still delicious, but it was...different. At first, Eizen was disappointed, but quickly got over it.

Velvet did not.

“Here,” Velvet’s voice pulled him from his trance. She turned to face him, a small saucer in her hand, “Care for a taste?” she asked.

He gently took the saucer from her and to his lips. The stew hit his tongue and stomach with a refreshing, satisfying warmth. It was definitely closer to the original stew than her previous attempt, but…

“It’s delicious,” was all he could honestly say.

She cursed under her breath and took the saucer from him, tasting the remaining stew in it for herself. She knew what that meant from him: it was good, but not the same. “Seriously?” she asked after pulling the saucer away from her lips.

Eizen narrowed his eyes at her. “Care to tell me why you’re beating yourself over this?” he asked.

“What do you mean?” Velvet retorted with a raised eyebrow, placing the saucer back on the counter. “It’s the same with everything else related to my past.” She turned her head away.

“No, it isn’t.” He cupped her cheeks with his hands and gently tilted her head to face him, “This is bothering you more than anything else related to your memories, why?” He stared into her eyes for a moment, softening under her gaze, “I hate seeing you like this…”

She stared at him for a moment longer. “I’m sorry for worrying you,” she eventually mumbled, “It’s just...a lot of my dreams recently...they were before everything happened,” she put her hands over his, “I remember me, Celica, Laphi...him…I dream about the times we had together...the warmth...the love...they’re the few dreams I don’t consider nightmares, and I always feel so...happy when I wake up from them,” tears started to form in her eyes, “only for the bitterness to set in, the emptiness of knowing they’re dead and how despite everything, I can still only barely remember them now.”

The tears started falling down her cheeks, and she leaned into Eizen’s chest. Slowly but surely, she evolved into a sobbing mess. Eizen wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to his chest.

They stayed in their embrace for a long moment. Eizen’s grip never faltered, his arms acting as a barrier from the world and all her troubles. Eventually, Velvet’s sobs gave way to a more comfortable silence.

“Velvet.” Eizen’s whispered, his voice a gentle breeze against the silence, “Don’t forget. We promised to make our own memories.”

The statement hung between the two as Velvet pulled away to stare at him, “What are you talking about?”

“‘If you don’t want me to keep dwelling on the past, why don’t we start focusing on the future?’” He quoted, and moved one hand from her back to her cheek to cup it again. “That’s what you told me when you confessed your feelings. I want you to get your memories back, to remember your past, but even more I want to carve out the future we promised each other,” he brushed his hand through her hair, “We have time now, and I don’t care what we spend it on...I just know I want to spend it with you.”

She stared at him for several moments, processing his words slowly. Tears still rolled down her face, but a small smile graced her lips now. “It seems I’ve gotten a bit too...absorbed into my goals, haven’t I?” she sighed.

He smiled back at her, “Velvet the Devoted is a very fitting name for you,” he pressed their foreheads together, “You were just as self-absorbed as a hellion, I can tell you that.”

Velvet huffed and pinched his cheeks, “Jerk.”

His grin didn’t budge an inch. “Still better than you threatening to eat me,” he joked, his face inching closer to hers.

She let go of his face, irritation turning into a smirk as she leaned in as well, “I’ll make you think—”

“We’re home!” At that very moment the Shepherd kicked the door open, her and Laliah’s arms filled with groceries, “We managed to get a ton of stuff and…” Lailah gasped, interrupting her. The Shepherd looked at the couple, eyes widening, “Um…are we interrupting something?”

The two looked at her, their eyes boring into her for a few moments before sighing, “No…”

“Good,” Edna trailed behind them, hands free save for her parasol, “I smell food.”

“How perceptive.” Velvet put a hand on her hip, “I don’t suppose you would like some lunch?”

“You know it!” The Shepherd dumped her bags on the counter, the incident already forgotten.

Velvet could only smile at the Shepherd’s antics, and was about to pull away from Eizen when he squeezed her hand. She looked to him, his smile returned as he kissed the top of her head, “Our future continues.” he whispered into her hair, low enough for only her and the wind to hear.

She squeezed his hand back, “Our future continues.”