Author: Hawk Clowd
Disclaimer: Maki Murakami owns Gravitation, not me, but I can dream. I can dream really hard. And it still won't come true.
Blood Type: Corn syrup.
Warnings: Weird formatting. A (gasp!) heterosexual relationship.
Author's Note: This is what happens when I have nothing else to do in my Shakespeare class. Please forgive me in advance.
Once, when they were younger, Shuichi had asked Hiro what happened when they died. Shuichi's pet turtle had supposedly run away, a story they believed without question until they actually found the turtle's body -- such as it was -- early in the afternoon. Already given into despair, the two boys retreated to the park to lay in the grass and stare up at the sun as it peeked through the leaves. They had discussed all sorts of things -- idle chitchat. School. Friends. Sports. Music.
"What do you think happens when you die?"
Hiro hadn't known how to answer the question. He was smart, they both knew, but he wasn't omnipotent. In lieu of an actual answer, he talked a bit about various religious beliefs, the few he had known of even as a child, and, when he finished speaking, was uncomfortably aware of the unsatisfied feeling they both shared. That wasn't enough. It wasn't a definite answer. He at last admitted that he didn't have any idea.
"I don't know. I really don't."
Shuichi had accepted the expression of doubt more willingly than he had Hiro's babbled and ill informed half-answers. He nodded and closed his eyes, listening to the noise of the park. Birds chirped overhead. Children laughed nearby. Someone's cell phone went off. They would have to leave soon. Neither of them really cared. Then, at last, Shuichi spoke again.
"Death must feel a lot like falling in love."
Death, like falling in love? Hiro had furrowed his brow and wondered how that could be. Death could be like falling into darkness, maybe, or like losing against something intangible but still... something. Something more real and firm than love. He shook his head.
"It can't be like falling in love."
Shuichi had accepted Hiro's denial casually and easily. He had smiled and opened his eyes again, looking over at Hiro.
"All right. Maybe it's the other way around."
Hiro had frowned again. Shuichi had just shrugged.
"Maybe falling in love feels like dying."
Shuichi's words had faded into the afternoon noise of the park and the two boys had gotten to their feet and left for home, their questions of death forgotten and replaced by the promise of supper. They didn't talk about things like love -- real love -- and death after that. Not often, anyway.
Shuichi fell in love -- real love -- first, much to everyone's surprise, and then the question started to needle in Hiro's mind. Did it feel like dying? Worse? Better? Did he want to fall in love, if Shuichi was right about the feeling?
And then she had shown up.
"Maybe falling in love..."
They had a careful, plotted romance. There was too much at risk for them to do anything but be careful. They dated occasionally and talked for hours on the phone. It was a subtle thing, the feeling, and then, finally, Hiro figured it out.
"...feels like dying..."
One day, while they were out on a date, he told her what Shuichi had said about death and about love. They were sharing an ice cream sundae after getting out of a movie. It had been a horror flick, which she always enjoyed a great deal more than he did, and they were trying to calm their nerves -- Hiro's nerves -- before they left. As he told the story, she listened and silently stole the rainbow sprinkles from his side of the ice cream dish. Then, as he finished, he added his own conclusion.
"...because it's when you get your first glimpse of Heaven."
She smiled. Hiro flew.
Shuichi had been right.