Lingering

A/n: Something laying around, I'd love to hear your theories.

Dedication: To Jeni, for teaching me to open my mind to what may or may not be there. And for laughing at my jokes that aren't funny.


She felt his arms around her waist and laid her head back against his chest, breathing in his sent.

"What do you think, Yumi? Party sound fun?" The smell lingered for a moment, and then it was gone. She glanced back from the rain-pelted window to the dark haired boy across from her.

"Sure William." She settled back into her chair. "It should be fun." Her attention wasn't on him, it was on the rain outside. She felt his fingers run through her hair, and then heard his light laughter in her ears. Yumi stared out the window with purpose. She'd see him any second, any second running.

"When's you're next class?" William returned to his textbook.

"I'm finished for the week," Yumi murmured. She lightly touched her hair where she felt his touch, but there was no longer the sensation, just the ghost of a memory. Memory of touch. Out of the corner of her eye white light flickered, her senses screamed in joy, but it was only lightning. He whispered her name and kissed her temple. Her head snapped away from the window, but he wasn't there. William looked up.

"Something wrong?" Very wrong.

"No, just thought I heard someone say my name, they must have been talking to someone else." How many Yumi's were at Paris University? She could smell him again. His soap. She tried to hold the sent in her lungs, memorize it, persevere it in her memory. It slipped away, gone again. She couldn't take it anymore.

"I have to go." She startled him, slamming her book and running out of the library. She dropped her bag at the door and rain out into the rain. The pain returned, she could feel it in her legs, in her sides, in her heart. Her head pounded. She could feel it pierce her flesh with every raindrop and the memories replayed. She left. After all of it, she had left. He was everywhere in this rain. Everywhere. She could smell him again, mixed in with the smell of the rain. Feel him. Feel him on her skin, hair matted to her face, tears pouring down her cheeks. Hear him, too. Hear him screaming her name pleading, begging, her to come back, begging her to stop. Her black tank top stuck to her body, hugging her every curve, soaked to the bone, as were her light jeans. She closed her eyes, throwing her hands over them as she screamed, throwing her head back. She couldn't stand it. She pulled at her hair, clawed at her skin. The feeling wouldn't stop. The voice, his voice, wouldn't stop. He laughed in her ear and she could feel his breath on her face. The rain wouldn't wash it away. Nothing would wash it away. The memories replayed. Her body ached; She shook in the cold.

"Please," she begged the dark silently. She fell to her knees of the muddy, wet earth. She couldn't get back up. She wrapped her arms around herself, shutting her eyes to the dark night. So much, so much she missed. If she could go back. If she could… but .. She couldn't. The thunder crackled and she screamed.

"Yumi? Yumi!" He was running to her, and then it was William. She closed her eyes. Not his smell, it was William. "What are you doing?" She pushed him away, and then she fell to the earth, and then it was black. No sound. No sight. No smell. Just the rain. Just the cold.

"Wake up." That was his voice. His demand. No more rain, no more cold. Noise filled her senses.

"Wake up!" The command was louder, her body found itself and responded. Her legs jerked as if she had fallen. She was wet. Her chest felt heavy.

"You're ok." Arms pulled her close. Someone else was wet, someone else was cold. His smell, his arms. She was so tired. She felt as if the ground was holding her. She opened her eyes.

His face.

She coughed and he smiled.

"You're not real." She had this nightmare before. This beautiful taunting.

"I'm very real," he laughed.

His laughter.

"Where are we?" Her eyes closed, oh how she longed for sleep. He pulled her into his lap, she felt something warm and dry wrapped around them.

"In the middle of the street. Do you realize the scare you gave us? Running like that?"

Not real. He called, real. She left, not real. She never made it. She couldn't.

"Yumi that car almost hit you, you passed out." He brushed her matted hair from her face.

Not real. Paris University. She never made it.

"They couldn't see you in the rain."

The rain. So cold.

He held her close as the noise started to filter. People talking, a lot. Maybe ten or eleven. Her friends voices in the background. Odd was the closest. A siren. Two sirens. Ambulances. Maybe a police car. Had the rain stopped? Yes, but the thunder continued.

He even smelled good in the rain. He was solid against her skin, real. Not a memory. Not what lingered. Real. Like the rain, like the-

She never heard the scene unfold around her. She never saw that car. She never knew what he was screaming. She couldn't remember why she was running; and when she woke up, in his arms, in that hospital bed, she cried.

She couldn't remember the pain. Part of her was glad.

She breathed him in; she didn't let it linger. She drew another breath.