“Gavin?” MC mumbles.
“What is it?” comes his drowsy reply.
They’re curled up together, heads pillowed on shoulders pillowed on the soft cushions of the couch, the fading twilight and rising stars bringing the outside sky to a universe only a few galaxies away from that of the living room, illuminated only by the star lamp and the TV’s soft glow. At the sound of his name on her lips, Gavin shifts— a few inches up and to the side— to bring their faces closer together, all the while keeping her head on his shoulder, his hand snug in hers.
“Dunno,” she manages, after a long heartbeat and a short blush. She’s rewarded with the warm exhale of his soft chuckle, his breath mingling with hers.
“Just a silly thought.”
“Not silly,” he says, deadpan, but it’s ruined by the way he’s still smiling down at her, laughter bright as the stars in his eyes. “You’re never silly.”
MC reaches up with their linked hands and tries valiantly to flick him. It fails. This time, they both laugh.
Gavin subsides first, after pressing a light kiss to the top of MC’s head.
“Seriously,” he says. “Tell me?”
“I want to know, even if it’s silly.”
“...Well, I was just wondering, since you're always saying things like ‘whenever you’re in the wind,’ what does ‘in the wind’ actually mean to you?”
Another heartbeat passes, accompanied by another soft huff of his laughter.
“What are you asking,” he murmurs, half sleepy amusement, half loving exasperation. “In the wind is ‘in the wind.’ It’s simple as that.”
Only, 'in the wind' for him isn't quite that simple. Just— he isn't certain he can put it into words.
For him, being in the wind has always meant being close to her.
It’s something like this:
A sound, say a voice, perhaps, once spoken, never fades from the air completely. Hers is no exception.
He carries the barest breath of that wind curled in his ear when she's not with him— his name on her lips, the hitch of a breath before her laugh, her smile.
Winds of their shared past form a scrapbook of hazy, golden memories, woven around him like a warm, gentle scarf in the breeze:
There's the faintest trace of wind from that first autumn day, carrying with it the echoes of piano and her voice and his, lifted in song, the scent of gingko leaves and the barest taste of coming autumn.
A hint of spring rain and wet uniforms, a kitten's meow and a girl's breathless gasp then quiet giggle, the sound of footsteps hurrying away, splashing through puddles,
The breeze through the school library's open window, musty books and tired students, and the gentle brush of her fingers under his as they reach for the same novel,
A rush of warm air from the stoves at Lynn's kitchen, all Szechuan spice and customer chatter and her laughter and a note left behind after a quieter, sadder night.
He holds them all to his chest, closest to his heart, these currents of their time together, during those seven long years they spend apart. Starting with an afternoon turned evening spent waiting in an empty library, his heart like a feather held in her two hands. (she doesn't come. not that time. the feather falls.)
They soothe him on starless nights when he misses her most, when he looks to the sky and moon and finds he can't quite remember the starlight of her eyes, the exact shape of her smile. He lets the warm air of her laugh wrap around him, lets the fading notes of her songs lull him when sleep won't naturally come. The sounds get a little quieter every time he listens to them, the warmth wearing just a little more thin, but he pulls the winds close to him anyways. Like a well-loved, threadbare blanket, no matter how cold it is before he pulls the memories around himself, by the time each wind's gentled to silence, he always finds himself warm.
He tries not to think of what'll happen when a memory in the wind has run its course. Luckily, he never has to find out.
He gets the assignment after years of battle, fire, and loss, all for the STF, all for a justice he's now dedicated his life to uphold. The Commander, explaining the mission, says her name. MC. That's all he needs to hear. He volunteers for the mission of protecting her. Perhaps, he thinks, all his life, all their years apart, has led up to this moment, this chance: to become her shield, her knight, to return to her side.
And then— their reunion. Every note of it sung into the air, a moment, unbottled but preserved, caught in the currents of time forever:
His "Do you remember me?"
Her startled "Gavin?"
and everything since— their winds intertwining, meeting and flowing together in time once more. The knife in the alleyway, his wind. Lynn's Kitchen and visiting campus. A promise. More letters. Her smile, just for him, under the stars.
"As long as you're in the wind, I can sense you," he says, and what he really means is “The wind always reminds me of you. I hope it'll one day remind you of me, too.”
(It will. It does.)
("Gavin," she teases. "That's not simple at all. That's not even an answer."
"Are you really going to make me say it?" He chuckles again, then leans in for a kiss.
"In the wind," he murmurs against her lips, soft, reverent, "has always meant being with you."
"I'm glad," she murmurs back. "It's the same for me, too."
A blanket of wind, of memories, no longer threadbare, but rich and long and carrying, wraps warm around them, carrying the scent of gingkos and summer, the smell of rain and the faintest piano as they fall asleep there on the couch together, the stars smiling down at them from above.)