Shoebox

It's under his bed.

Unlabeled. Plain white with gray stripes, with corners sharp as the day he bought it, unchanged by the time that's wearing him down.

They used to contain dress shoes. But he lost one, when he was stumbling over the edge of the museum roof, and hasn't been able to find it since. He threw the other one away shortly afterwards, no point in having just one of a pair.

For a long time it sat on his kitchen table. Untouched.

He started putting things in it after the second heist, just a feather from the wings of the infamous Dark Mousy.

After that, it started to fill itself.

There are scraps of cloth lining the bottom from heists. There's leather, cotton, silk, a variety of textures and colors that he's worn. That's all been on Niwa's skin. He keeps them at the bottom so he doesn't have to touch them, doesn't have to think about how they passed from Niwa to himself. He used to bury his nose in them, all those scraps, and smelled the lingering scent of Niwa. Niwa on his mind, the smell in his memory, locked in for safekeeping, a million memories of scent and touch that he can bring forth whenever he wants.

There are mechanical pencils, erasers, pens; all things that he's had to lend to Niwa, because Niwa's forgetful. Niwa chews pencils, only uses one side of his erasers, and leaves his pens in shambles once he's done. He always gives these things back to him, the worst for wear.

The White's Day ribbon sits in a corner, fraying at the edges, as does the handkerchief. There are other things that fill the box from their battles; broken handcuffs that have been sawed on one side, a piece of the Sage of Sleep that the Towa no Shirube brought to him as a goodbye gift, a handful of feathers, black and white, some covered in blood.

There are ticket stubs, from movies that Niwa has invited him to, edges of some covered in dark stains from numerous times where Niwa has spilled cherry cola on his lap. There's a picture of the girl's soccer team, if only because, in the high left-hand corner, the back of Niwa's flame red hair can be seen.

There are notes passed during class asking if he wanted to go to the arcade, the ice-cream shop, normal places, places that he memorizes. All of them are covered in smudges from being passed back and forth so many times, the corners have been rolled back and forth so many times that they curl. Graphite fingerprints are on the back, from Niwa's nervous habit of rolling the tips of pencils between his fingers.

There's a gum wrapper with Niwa's phone number in Niwa's own hand, a phone number that he had memorized long before Niwa had thought to give it to him.

There are tapes with Niwa's voice, from his answering machine, tapes of questions about algebra, and history, and chemistry. Classes they've shared, classes that they don't share too, because Niwa knows where to ask for information. The tapes are all labeled, they have the date and the exact times scribbled on the sides in blue pen.

There are photographs, paraphernalia, and a million trinkets that Niwa has lost and that have fallen into his hands.

It all sits under his bed, like some childish boogey monster, and it haunts him. It haunts him in his days and nights, his worst nightmares and his best dreams. There are ghosts that stay with him, in the form of napkins covered in Niwa's doodles. Birds and flowers, the faces of people that sit around them during lunch, forks and bottles of water and what looks like Niwa's rabbit.

There's never time for dust to land on this box, he's taken it out so many times. It just gets filled with more of Niwa as the days, weeks, months... as the years all go by.

It's under his bed.

Fin.

Disclaimer: DN Angel does not belong to me, my darlings.