kazuki and soushi in the middle of the night
It was not that they ever planned it.
Soushi, unable to sleep, would go for a walk in the night air, and he would turn a corner and there would be Kazuki, waiting for him, looking surprised that he was there. I just turned the corner and saw you, what are you doing up? No, what are you doing up? Well, we might as well take a walk if we can't sleep.
The night made it easier to talk to each other, as if they were only fragments of the other's imagination.
The stars are different now, Kazuki says.
We're in a different position, says Soushi.
Silence for a while. Suddenly Kazuki's head is on Soushi's shoulder. He holds his breath.
I miss the old stars, says Kazuki.
Soushi thinks about putting his arm around Kazuki's shoulders. He's warm and he smells like soap and clean boy and the disinfectant they use in the decon rooms for the Fafners. He wonders what he smells like to Kazuki. He's never asked. He thinks the Seigfried System's liquid information system must leave something on him, no matter that when he leaves it he's as dry as when he started out. It's thick and not exactly slimy, just slick, as it surrounds him in the system. He can't smell anything when he leaves the System but maybe he's just used to it and he's never felt right asking someone.
Kazuki's breathing deepens, and Soushi realizes he's fallen asleep. He holds still, hardly daring to breathe himself. The air and stars and Kazuki. This is what he is trying to protect.