D had been living in Japan for several months when he first had an inkling that he was being watched. He was suddenly aware, one Monday afternoon, that he had been "discovered." That someone had looked at his petshop and instantly known it for what it was.
The count bristled defensively, wondering if the person outside meant any harm. He or she would be killed immediately if they did, of course, but D was not fond of any ill intentions meant for his beloved shop.
The person outside the shop moved on, and D relaxed. He went back to feeding Pon-chan, and for the most part allowed himself to forget the incident.
A few days later he received the post, which in of itself was unusual. He was used to mostly getting packages from his grandfather, which were too large to be delivered by normal post.
Today, however, he had a package. It was medium-sized, rectangular, and light. It had no return address, and the handwriting for the shop's address was a little sloppy. He hesitated for a moment before opening it.
He had never expected to see it again.
D's lips tightened into a carefully-controlled frown. Chris had drawn that picture for him. Why was it here? And so neatly framed? D looked down at his own crayon face, smiling benevolently up from the crinkled page. Crayon Tetsu, crayon Pon-chan, and a furious crayon detective...
D was not supposed to read the letter that came with the picture.
He did anyway.
I felt like you should have this. I wanted to give it to you
in person, but I chickened out, okay?! I mean, geez, you're
still so, you know, and I'm... so different now. I just
couldn't face you.
Seeing you still looking like you kind of nailed it home for me.
I wanted to storm into your stupid petshop and punch you in
your stupid pretty face, and say "Thanks for the boat ride,
asshole!" and then just storm out, but that would be pretty
fucking crappy. Even for me.
Heh. I just imagined you saying "Language, Mr. Detective."
Kind of funny, been over twenty years and I still hear your
voice in my head. I'd like to blame it on your dumb smelly
incense, but I know the truth. It's because I almost fell in love
Look, D... just take the damn picture. And take care of it,
okay? Because I could have fucking kept it and kept a piece
of you, in a way, but you wanted it - I KNOW you wanted it,
you tried to take it with you, dammit - so I brought it to you. It
took me twenty goddamn years, but I brought it to you. I
dunno how long twenty years is to... to... whatever you are, but
to us regular human-types it's a really long time. Too long.
Too fucking long. I've cussed so much you'll probably burn
this. Can't blame you. I'm not being very considerate, but it HAS
been too fucking long, D. I'm half-dead now, and I'm never even
going to see you again. I'll see Chris again, if I'm lucky. But
you were the one that turned my life upside down, you smug
bastard. And I can't even bring myself to hate you.
So keep the picture.
For a very long time, D simply sat and stared at the letter in his hand, wavering between disbelief and shock. Tetsu grumbled from the back room that he was feeling hungry.
D thought, vaguely, that he should feed Tetsu.
His eyes caught the uneven signature at the bottom of the page again.
Leaning his forehead down onto his knees, D clutched the framed picture and its accompanying letter to his chest and did something he had not done in many, many years. He closed his eyes and cried.
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