( was it a long journey?
did it take you long to find me? )
nine a.m. and he’s sleeping soundly by your side, fingers loosely tangled with yours. raven locks messy and disheveled, breathing calm and steady. it’s rare that you find yourself drowning in such solace; mornings with shishio are usually him rushing around in the early hours before work. he’s always frantically trying to wake himself up, quickly drinking his coffee before waiting for your usual goodbye kiss.
but thankfully, he’s able to rest today.
you can tell how passionate he is about teaching-- how much he cares about his students. he loves his work, but all those nights trying to prepare study material for class, all those nights staying up grading assignments--
you know how tired he is.
so when you look at him now, you can’t help but smile.
you’ve both come a long way.
two years ago, you met.
he was...different, somehow. he was kind and goofy as always, but there was a strange sense of weariness he carried. he never wore his heart on his sleeve, never truly allowed you to understand him. it was a struggle at first-- trying to reach him, trying to hold your hand out to him.
because he was always uncertain of something. of you, of the possibility of letting barriers down.
that much, you knew.
but your resolve never wavered and eventually, he let you in.
he wasn’t as happy-go-lucky as he always seemed; he wasn’t always as bright and optimistic as he let on. pain had found a home in his heart, burrowing itself deeper and deeper as the days went by. but he held his head high, waiting for better days to come along. and as time passed with you, he began to learn how to let go of those sorrows.
one year ago, you kissed.
he was still difficult to read at times, brilliant green eyes searching for something that was never able to be found. but he allowed himself vulnerability when he was with you; the burdens in his life were revealed little by little, though restraint was still kept in order.
it bothered you sometimes and you knew it shouldn’t have. he had every right to keep to himself and you had no right to pry. but to see the flicker of sadness in some of the smiles he gave you-- your curiosity and interest grew into a desire to help him. to let him know that he didn’t have to carry a heavy heart.
you were drinking coffee that day. it was late in the night and you were sitting side by side on your apartment balcony, staring up at the stars. it was your routine: night talks about anything, whether it be about your day or how shishio forgot his umbrella yet again when it stormed. he always had something to say, his voice full of life as he retold stories.
but that night, he was oddly quiet, alone with his thoughts.
and so you sat under the stars, feeling the cool breeze against your skin and the warmth of your coffee in your hands.
the silence wasn’t comforting; it was almost suffocating in a way. you had too much on your mind, your feelings leaving you with nothing but confusion and slight frustration.
so you spoke.
“you’re an enigma, you know.”
you forced yourself to continue staring at the stars, though you could feel his gaze on you.
you were afraid, unsure of what to expect. you didn’t know if he would have just offered a sad smile and kept quiet or if he would have questioned you. but the words had been caught in your throat for so long that you threw caution to the wind and met eyes with him, feeling that lump form in your throat.
“you’re not always that happy person and you’re not always as energetic as you seem. i know you tire easily and i know you try not to show it, but your weary smiles say enough, shishio. there’s something that i can’t figure out when it comes to you and i just wish--”
a pause-- you wondered if you should have kept talking. every word you said wasn’t enough to express how much you cared for him and how much you wanted to be able to understand him. because you knew you made progress from the start, but it didn’t feel like it was enough.
“i just wish i understood you.”
your voice shook from the pent up frustration and you couldn’t help but feel like a child.
and the way he looked at you-- just--
you wanted the very best for him and you didn't know how to help.
you hadn't realized the tears had fallen until he wiped them away. and there was that expression so rarely seen-- that faint hint of sadness that hid within tenderness.
he smiled and his hand cupped your cheek as he leaned closer. his green eyes had always been one of your favorite things about him, but seeing them so close--
you had always found fascination in them.
“i know.” he responded, his voice softer than usual. “i’m sorry.”
it’s all he could have really said. he knew that you were always there for him, but he’d never been one to express his problems-- not the more serious ones, anyway. it was too strange and too foreign; it was uncomfortable and he had trouble finding ease in allowing himself to express any vexation.
“i’m sorry.” he repeated.
“god, shishio-- you’re the most frustrating man on the earth.”
“my students say that about me.” he commented off-handedly, laughing when you lightly smacked his arm.
the silence returned, followed with a sudden brightness that crossed the sky. you instantly moved away, bewildered by the sight of the shooting star.
you looked beautiful in that moment, he thought. the way your eyes had brightened, the way you watched in wonder.
“you know,” he began, “you don’t need shooting stars to make your wish come true.”
the surprise that decorated your visage had never left, though puzzlement accompanied it at his words. his lips curled faintly before his hand cupped your cheek once again.
and he waited.
he waited for your reaction, for a sign. and god, you searched his eyes far and wide, a shaky exhale released before you nodded.
and he kissed you.
he finally wakes up to you staring intently at him.
he can’t say he isn’t startled, though shock quickly turns to curiosity.
“and good morning to you,” he says, giving that little trademark grin of his. “how long have you spent staring at my handsome face?”
“i don’t know what you’re talking about, dummy.”
he laughs and the morning light that fills the room almost makes his smile overwhelming.
“what were you thinking about?” he asks, his words broken up by a loud yawn that brings amusement to your features. “me?”
his eyes widen in surprise and you chuckle.
a little pat on the cheek and a kiss on his forehead, then a faint curl of your lips.
“good morning, love.”
. . .
still, you understand that his students have been taking several tests lately and stressed students means a stressed teacher-- it doesn’t help that it doesn’t take much to wear him out.
so you quietly tiptoe out of bed, choosing to make breakfast for him.
it’s relatively simple; he’s not an incredibly picky eater, not to mention he’ll eat anything you’ll cook for him.
fifteen minutes later and you’re still trying to balance out all the tasks: cook the eggs the way he likes, make sure you didn't put too much water with the rice, the normal routine. it’s a little hectic and you’re too busy to hear the shuffling of his footsteps as he makes his way into the kitchen.
it’s only when you feel a sudden presence behind you and lo and behold, there’s a very, very sleepy shishio with a blanket draped over his body.
“good morning again.” you greet him, humming thoughtfully before turning back to the stove. he makes a little noise of acknowledgement before resting his chin on your shoulder, wrapping his arms around your waist.
having him this close to you will always be surreal. feeling the warmth of his body against yours-- knowing that you can be like this with him is still something you can barely wrap your head around.
because you’ve come so far together, enduring obstacles and facing the highs and lows. even with the difficult times, even with the tears and frustration, just knowing that you have this with him right now-- just the fact that you’re able to be in his arms like this--
you wouldn’t change it for anything.
and just when you’re lost in thought, his weight shifts a little too much onto you.
yeah. he’s falling back asleep.
“satsuki, don’t nod off on me!”
he wakes up again (for how long, you wonder), slightly panicked but still groggy. he can see the scowl on your face before he puts two and two together, scratching his head before letting out a sheepish apology. he continues to rest his chin on your shoulder, turning his head slightly to kiss your cheek in an apologetic gesture. you can feel him laughing silently, though; his shoulders are shaking.
ah, your mischievous, sweet little lion. what you wouldn’t do for him.
( you’re here now,
welcome home. )