Same time each year, Watari makes a wish. [Watari/Tatsumi]
Author: Rhea Logan. That would be me. ::nodnod::
Genre: Let's settle for fluff with a wistful undertone ;)
Summary: Same time each year, Watari makes a wish.
If you treat my little series of one-shots linearly, this would follow Brittle Glass. Just mentioning that, since the stories have no real connection besides the characters. :) Enjoy! (in regards to the canon timeline, this is post-manga, of course. :))
by Rhea Logan
"You're the last person I would expect to find in a place like this."
Perched on the edge of the rooftop, Watari Yutaka smiled gently at the sound of his partner's voice.
"Not too much of a thoughtful type, am I?"
Tatsumi's steps were silent as he moved across the roof and stood by the blonde Shinigami's side. "Actually, you're so many things I shouldn't be surprised."
The scientist gave a light chuckle. When its quiet yet brilliant sound faded, there was still a small smile of acknowledgment playing in the corners of his lips. Watari sat still, staring at something ahead of him through half-closed, distant eyes.
Tatsumi shuffled his feet, habitually giving his tie a light pull, then he fell motionless for a short while before he made up his mind and seated himself next to his partner. He rested his chin in his upturned palm, mirroring Watari's stance.
"Is everything alright?" he asked at length.
That well-known though usually well-covered concern in the Shadow Master's voice seemed almost palpable. Watari's eyes lit up with an ever so tiny twinkle of amusement at the recognition of that tone. "Yes, yes. Alright as always. I was just..." he paused, then reached back with his hand and pulled at his ribbon. A fall of golden hair came loose, spilling in cascades across his back and around his arms. A few stray strands bounced with a life of their own in front of the scientist's face, partly obscuring it from view.
"Just being a little sentimental, you could say," he finished after a breath.
Tatsumi gave a small nod. "Any particular reason? If I may ask."
Watari tilted his head, catching a glimpse of Tatsumi's face. The gentle wind ruffled the Shadow Master's hair, soft dark strands now playing around his features in a curious hide-and-seek with his glasses. He found himself captured by that dance, enthralled by the calm look of near-serenity painted there. He forgot the question altogether until Tatsumi turned his head to face him and Watari's warm, amber eyes met a pair of pools of sapphire sky.
"Ah... yes, well. Sort of," he said as he caught a naughty strand that seemed intent upon getting in his mouth. Truth be told, he gave it a silent thanks for providing a little distraction as he swallowed around a sudden dryness in his throat. "It's thirty years today."
He felt Tatsumi's gaze fix on him; a minute shift of stance rendered him still, but no words came.
"Since I died," he finished lightly in a smooth, almost casual tone as though he spoke about the weather, or something of equally small significance.
Tatsumi turned his gaze back to the shadow-wrapped landscape spreading wide before them. Most of the lights had long since gone out. The late hour always came to the aid of those in need of a quiet place to rest and think without being disturbed. Away from the commotion of the day and the curious eyes, everything looked different, even Watari.
Though not entirely uncomfortable, the scientist found the silence stretching between them just a tad too long. He leaned back, supporting himself on his elbows and lifted his head, shaking the rich gold locks off his shoulders. He looked up. The jet-black sky was dotted with a million stars, each shining bright with a life of their own.
"I had that thought once," Watari said at last, breaking the stillness of air. "We still see the light of those stars that are no longer there."
Tatsumi looked at him curiously, one elegant eyebrow climbing into his hairline.
"It's like us," Watari continued, heedless of that faintly surprised look. "We're dead, but to others here, and to ourselves, we're real. Dead stars with a lingering glow." He pointed at the sky with his finger. "Do you know how some of them die? They implode. Under the weight of their own gravity. Ironic, isn't it?"
Tatsumi's face took on a wistful, slightly sorrowful look. He gave a small nod.
"Tatsumi?" Watari lay on his back, folding his hands under his head. "Do you ever wonder what it would have been like? If you didn't die."
Tatsumi turned to face him, searching for words. His hand wandered up to his face and he shifted his glasses, closing his eyes as his fingers brushed their edge, then rested briefly against the bridge of his nose.
"I mean," Watari's eyes made a slow study of the older Shinigami, "what would your life have turned out to be like? All those little things."
"Who knows? Those little things in life change the course of the future. Maybe it would have turned out to be better after all?" Tatsumi said and his face softened. "We can't find out anymore. Now we have what we have."
Watari nodded. "No point getting worked up over something you can't change, right?" The small smile faded and he let his head roll to the side. "I still wonder, though. So every year I come here and make myself a promise. By the same time next year I'll have done something I've always wanted to do."
For a silent moment Tatsumi was still again. "What was the first one you made?" he asked.
"I promised myself I'd survive."
Tatsumi looked down. He brought his hands together in front of his face, fingers interlacing and for a moment it seemed as though he had drifted away, somewhere to the land of promises and unfulfilled wishes of his own.
Watari pulled himself up and gave his shoulders a light shrug. "It's getting cold here," he said, rubbing his arms. He pulled his lab coat tighter around himself against the slowly growing chill.
"It is indeed." Tatsumi rose and extended his hand to his partner. His eyes swept slowly around the rooftop, taking in the peaceful calm of the night. He took a deep breath. "Have you made your promise this year?" he asked evenly, though with a hint of hesitation, just an undertone.
Watari took the offered hand and pushed up to his feet. "Yes. Right before you came, in fact." He looked down at their hands joined together, then brought his gaze up to meet Tatsumi's eyes and smiled. "This year happens to be one of particular significance, though. I made a wish. And I promised myself that I'll tell that special person how important they are."
Tatsumi's blue eyes traced the contours of his partner's slender frame against the dark sky. He stole a quick glance at their hands but did not pull away. "That's a good plan," he said evenly.
Tatsumi's hand was warm against his skin. Not all too conscious of his actions now that he found himself poised against a choice whether or not to act on the wish of his heart, Watari gave that hand a light squeeze. "You think so?"
Tatsumi's lips twitched in a smile. "I do."
"Well then." Decision made, Watari brought Tatsumi's hand up and caught it in both of his. He looked up at the starlit sky and took a deep breath, then laughed. "How did I know I'd have no words when it came to that?"
Looking slightly puzzled, Tatsumi regarded the blonde Shinigami with a curious glance.
"Oh well. It should still count if I show, not tell, right?"
Tatsumi opened his mouth to respond but before any word made its way out he found himself caught off guard by a feather-soft touch of warm, gentle lips brushing against his.
His heart pounded hard in his chest when Watari pulled back. Letting go of Tatsumi's hand, he whispered, "Promise kept."
He took a step back, about to turn, but Tatsumi caught his arm in gentle yet firm hold. "Yutaka?"
Watari's cheeks flushed ever so slightly and he looked at Tatsumi, half expectant, half fearful of what was to come. He had not the mind to think of what he had done; just the heart that knew its wish too well. "Yes?"
Breath caught in his throat and before he knew, he was pulled into those strong arms, Tatsumi's hand sliding around his neck. Their lips met, probing, timid at first yet with rising courage as seconds stretched long between the warmth of their shared breath. Swept away on a tidal wave of that warmth and a sudden rush of blood through his veins, Watari's mind gave lead to his heart. His arms wrapped around Tatsumi, lips seeking lips, offering release from the burning need to be close and fuelling it anew. That feeling grew into heat that coursed through him and left him lightheaded, happy and out of breath.
As Tatsumi pulled back and their lips parted, Watari couldn't stop the long suppressed burning behind his eyes. He kept them closed against the tears and smiled.
The Shadow Master stood still for what seemed merely a second before a sudden thought urged him to pull the blonde scientist close to him again. Arms wrapped around Watari's shoulders, he whispered against his cheek.
"Maybe it's selfish of me, but I don't resent your death. Because you're here."
Words were lost to him as Watari sank into that embrace, absorbing the Shadow Master's warmth and comfort he offered so freely. It settled deep within him, tender yet strong, filling him with peace he hadn't known for decades. He ran his slender hand through Tatsumi's dark hair, the other stroking the small of his back. "It matters to you?" he asked quietly, voice thick with emotion.
Tatsumi's lips brushed against the soft skin of Watari's neck. "It does. You do."
August 19th 2005
In loving memory of my Father (1938 - 1993)