An angel gives a birthday boy an otherworldly present. Warning: boys' love
‘Are you my birthday present?’
A very bemused Takki asked the naked stranger waking up next to him on his bed.
‘Why did you? Why did you kill yourself? Why?’ Tsubasa asked.
It was an exercise in futility but a deeply distressed Tsubasa couldn’t help repeating that question over and over again as he stood at the tombstone of his latest case.
Burying his face into his hands, he was unable to face up to the fact that his latest case was a complete and utter failure. None of his ward had ever killed themselves. They had always recovered and moved on. But Taki-chan was different.
‘I know it’s a sin to kill myself. But it’s a sin to live unhappily too, isn’t it?’
He had heard her whisper this many times. But she had always just cried herself to sleep and woke up the next morning bracing herself to face another day. Yes, life was a battle for her. But wasn’t it for everyone? Tsubasa had expected her to go on fighting another day, like any other day, like everyone else. For some strange reason, even when life was a thousand silent tears, people still struggled to live on.
But one day, she didn’t. One day, she didn’t wake up. She just laid there in eternal sleep on a blood-soaked bed.
Tsubasa blamed himself. He wasn’t there. He wasn’t there for her. He knew she was vulnerable. But he left her to fend for herself.
Truth was that, Tsubasa was tired. He was tired of her vulnerability, her weakness. Humans were starting to disappoint him, to disgust him.
‘Why bother rescuing creatures so useless, cowardly and self-destructive?’ He secretly questioned himself.
With Taki-chan’s death, something died in Tsubasa too - his faith in humans, and love, his love for them.
Breaking his train of thought was a brunch of daffodils carefully placed in front of the tomb.
‘They’re your favourite – daffodils. You say they represent hope. I hope you’re in a better place now. At peace and happy.’ Takki said with a bittersweet smile.
He too was feeling guilty. He never knew, never realised that his elder sister was depressed. She was successful and popular. What could be wrong?
But maybe, maybe he could have sensed that something was wrong when she said, ‘I have a full life, but it’s meaningless. I’m busy doing nothing. Emptiness, sometimes, I feel like life is just a load of emptiness.’
Still, Takki was honestly blameless. He and his sister lived very different lives. While she was bright and received the best education, he showed little promise in school. While his sister went on to manage a large corporation, he was lucky if he could find a temporary appointment and had only just managed to secure a permanent position as a humble boutique assistant. She was surrounded by parents who doted on her and friends who admired her but Takki usually found himself a spectator, a spectator of even his own life. It was as if his life wasn’t even his own. He was always just outside looking in. How could someone with everything going for them want to end it all? It was something Takki would never be able to fathom.
With Takki, it was a chance encounter. But this fateful encounter was soon turning into a newfound obsession for Tsubasa.
It had been a month now since Tsubasa started shadowing Takki. And he wasn’t even his guardian angel. Takki didn’t have one. Some people prayed for guardian angels because they were lonely. Tsubasa had expected that Takki would ask for one. The young man led a simple and quiet life. He had few friends and would be lying if he claimed any to be a bosom buddy. No one really knew him. Maybe not even himself.
But strangely, Takki was happy and at ease. He was contended with the simple joys in life and enjoyed the solace of his own company. It was a great relief to him not having to worry about talking incessantly around others just so as to keep the awkward silence at bay.
Nevertheless, Tsubasa knew that despite the tranquil appearance, Takki was lonely too. Observing him, Tsubasa noticed that sometimes Takki would stretch his left hand out ever so slightly. While waiting to cross the roads, he would sometimes lightly clasp his left hand too. And when walking along the street, he would sometimes turn to his side and smile.
When he first saw Takki do this, Tsubasa was shocked. Takki was smiling at him! No one was supposed to be able to see him. But it was as if Takki could see him and was smiling at him.
At first Tsubasa was baffled by all these gestures. But he soon understood them. Takki was pretending to have an imaginary friend. It was a laughable idea, a grown man pretending to have an imaginary friend. But before long, Tsubasa was indulging himself in role-playing. He pretended to be Takki’s best friend.
In spite of his self-appointed role, Tsubasa still considered humans to be too selfish to give any real love and too self-absorbed to receive it graciously. He regarded not needing anyone to be a blessing and could not comprehend why Takki yearned for a friend.
For an angel to lose the ability to love was a disaster. And to make matters worse, it showed outwardly on the wings too. Once his pride and joy, Tsubasa’s wings were starting to resemble one of a turkey being plucked for Christmas.
‘But how do you love again?’
Tsubasa had almost resigned himself to his sorry state until he met Takki. Thankfully, ever since spending time with Takki, Tsubasa noticed that new feathers were starting to once again adorn his mighty wings.
Takki was noticing changes too. He was beginning to feel things. Sometimes when he stretched his hand out, he could almost feel warmth on it. And when he clasped his hand, it warmed his heart as if he was really holding onto something precious. When he woke up in the morning, it seemed it had little to do with his trusty alarm but something else. As if someone had loving roused him awake with an onslaught of kisses accompanied with crazy ruffling of his hair.
‘What if my imaginary friend was real? What if I had created a monster?’ Takki asked himself half-seriously and shivered at that thought.
Looking at the calendar in front of him, he was fast turning 28. Time to grow up. With fierce determination, Takki shelved his imaginary friend aside.
It would be lonely and difficult but maybe it was time to get some real friends. Setting his mind on actually spending his birthday with a real-life friend, Takki started making calls.
Initially, Tsubasa wondered if he had done something wrong. But then again he realized to his dismay that he couldn’t possibly have, since Takki couldn’t really feel his presence. To Takki, he didn’t exist.
Although Takki stopped smiling at him and stopped reaching out for him, Tsubasa was always there, by his side.
It was bad enough for Tsubasa that Takki didn’t know of his presence, but when Takki didn’t even pretend that he existed, Tsubasa felt for the first time in his life, lonely. It was an emotion that he was unaccustomed to. However, Tsubasa came to realize that being with Takki made him feel many other new and unsettling emotions. It made him desire and yearn. For the first time in his existence, he longed to be seen, to be noticed. He yearned for Takki to really smile at him, and craved to kiss those smiling lips in the middle of a crowded street. He wanted to able to touch and hold onto things. He wanted so badly to smell Takki’s hair and feel them in his hands, to feel his cheeks, to hold his hands, to hug him, to kiss those soft pale lips goodnight and good morning, to pull his clothes off him when he dressed for work. He wanted so many things that heart was about to burst.
And actually it was not impossible to do them. But the only way he ever could, was to give up everything that he was - to not be an angel. But that would mean being human, the very thing that he despised. Would being with Takki make up for all that suffering, misery and pain? And what if Takki rejected him? What if Takki wanted nothing to do with him?
Watching Takki dress for work on the eve of his birthday, Tsubasa noticed that he was listless. Gone was the usual smile on his lips. How could someone so stunning be so sad? But perhaps it was only natural when that someone didn’t have even a friend to spend his birthday with.
As always, Tsubasa looked on silently as Takki slipped clothes onto his silky smooth skin, hiding that perfect body from his sight. Despite his burning desire, he could barely do anything to comfort the incredibly beautiful but lonely creature in front of him.
‘The greatest distance in the world is me standing in front of you yet you don’t know that... I LOVE YOU,’ Tsubasa screamed at the top of his lung. But his lament and confession only fell on deaf ears.
Hating himself for being so helpless, Tsubasa thought, ‘If only I could just do something. Bring a smile onto those lips, just one faint smile on his birthday. It’ll be enough. It’ll be worth it.’
‘Are you my birthday present?’ Takki repeated his question to a dazed-looking Tsubasa.
Feeling the sea of feathers around him and no wings, it became painfully clear to Tsubasa that he was no longer an angel, just another vulnerable human. Panic-stricken, tears welled up in his eyes. But before any could glide down his flawless skin, Takki caught them. Wiping them away with tender caresses, he looked kindly into Tsubasa’s eyes and said, ‘Everyone should have someone to kiss away their tears.’ With that, Takki kissed Tsubasa lightly on the corner of his eyes, kissing away his tears and fears.
As Tsubasa gently pulled Takki down to meet his hungry lips, he answered in his heart, ‘No, Takki. You’re my birthday present.’
~End~ More at http://avery-averette.livejournal.com. Enjoy!