Archard gives Sara a little glimpse into the world that made him so cold. But really is he? Warnings for the subjects they are discussing Please R&R if you enjoy :)
Archard had spent the night out with her; they had visited English speaking bars and Japanese ones. The more he spoke, translated between people, the more she grew to enjoy it and the warmer he seemed. When he wasn’t trying so hard to hide who he was she found him very likeable. It was the Archard who smiled and danced with people as they dragged him up. It was like he grew to relive his youth in those hours. She watched him as they walked through the hotel lobby.
She had put her shoes in her hands, walked barefoot over the plush carpet and looked at him. He smiled at her and she wished for just one moment the fantasy was real. He leant over and gently kissed her lips, almost shyly. She didn’t try to make more of it. Archard simply was that way. She moved along with him and they crossed the varnished floor. Her stockings betrayed her as the denier material shifted against the shiny floor and she tripped in to his side.
He caught her with ease in one arm and she clung to it. He held her for a moment longer than might be needed and suddenly they were walking again. They reached their room in quiet. Archard undid his jacket and loosened his tie, it hung around the white shirt and she admired the fall along his well toned body. He walked to the large window and looked out of the sky.
“I said I’d talk.” He softly spoke as he looked out over the city landscape. Tokyo was like so many major cities, it never truly slept. He let out a deep sigh, thinking again of how to explain it.
“Archard you don’t have too.” She sat on the bed. Her ankle was already swelling from a sprain. She hadn’t even noticed. “Oh I sprained my ankle I think.”
He moved to her quickly his hand gently lifting her leg from her calf. He lay her back and put a pillow under it. She watched him, her black dress was riding up, he hadn’t even seemingly noticed. He went to the bathroom and wet a cloth and then sat and put the cloth on it and put her leg on his knee. She sensed compassion but still he had not spoken.
“Are you scared to talk Archard?” She asked after another lengthy pause.
“I guess.” He nodded. It was reminiscent of a teenager and she smirked at him. “Does that amuse you?” He seemed to stiffen again.
“Oh no.” She shook her head. “Honey please… tell me what is wrong?”
“Nothing is wrong.” He said and flipped his shoes off. “I was a student here. I wasn’t so much older than Hisoka. I didn’t seem to call him by his name enough. Can you feel your toes?”
“Yes.” She nodded.
“He was a street urchin of sorts. Homeless kid and I was there probably only like a month or so.” Why was he telling her this? “He just kinda invited himself to my table and talked. He just made me a friend, he never asked for anything and he ended up on the couch a couple of times before I just gave him the spare room.”
“That’s pretty random Archie.” She said watching his hand run up and down her leg almost like he was investigating it for flaws. She suddenly wondered what blemishes were there, had she done a bad job of shaving or waxing?
“Yeah.” He nodded. “But it got more random.” He stopped running his hand along her leg. “He was nice enough kid and all… I was a lot more naïve and I guess I just expected that everyone’s lives were as simple as mine. If I gave him a home I had given him all he needed to get back to cheery happy land or whatever only if you are involved in gang warfare and drugs runs there is no happy place really is there?”
“I guess not.” Sara said softly. “Why was he doing that?”
“He was homeless and had no family. They created one… no matter how good or bad it was.” He continued to gently massage her sprain. “He tried to leave them when he moved in with me but gangs don’t let you casually walk away as you know too much. Yakuza.”
“Yakuza?” She looked at him. “But… he was just a kid.”
“Kid with a talent for going unnoticed.” Archard said his voice quiet. “He made for good entertainment when they got bored or for fetching and carrying like a dog. I didn’t realise how far into it he had fallen. I made a mistake in thinking that I could get out free too… I was a foreigner and I had taken one of theirs.”
“Taken?” Sara looked at him confused. “He got a room… or is there more?”
“No I never thought of that until this guy came over one night and tried to kick my door down. I’m quite territorial by nature and told him to get the hell out of my place. If he wanted to start shit he was going to do it elsewhere.”
“Guess he didn’t like that.” She said softly as his warm hands came to rest on her leg.
“Hisoka-kun never told me about why he came. The guy was one that had made him a personal pet or something. If the guy said jump then Hisoka should have asked how high only he’d decided to tell him to jump on his own this time and they didn’t like it. Hisoka thought I would keep him safe… I thought I could keep him safe. I couldn’t and to this day I can’t look in a mirror without getting mad at myself.”
“Archie.” Sara looked up at him with a smile. “You gave him a home you’re not supposed to go around saving him as well. He made that mess you did more than most people would.”
“I made it worse when I refused to let them walk all over me. Two days later he walked in really early hours of the morning. I was used to it by then since it usually meant he was drunk or something. I don’t even know why but something felt wrong that night so I got up to see how he was.” Archard began to draw imaginary pictures on her leg. “I think I was already moaning at him by the time I realised he was on the floor.”
“You don’t…” She was going to stop him but she realised he wasn’t really expecting a response. Sara watched the long fingers trailing over the soft skin.
“He’d been beaten and… and,” Archard took a deep breath, “abused but he’d somehow crawled home to me and I hadn’t been there to stop it. I should have been there to stop it.” His hand fell still to her leg. “I never want to be that close to someone again because I can’t accept that I can fail to be there for them when they need me. Better to have no one than let anyone down.”
“You can’t believe that and don’t. You just want other people to believe that.” Sara said after an incredibly lengthy silence. “But that’s okay Archie.” She looked into his eyes as she pulled his chin up and smiled. “If you love someone you don’t expect anything from them. You just get to be happy with them for what they are not what you expect them to be.”