Lukia Cromwell

Disclaimer: Nana, Shin, Hachi belongs to Ai Yazawa/Cookie/Whatever.

When it is cold outside, and the rain is soaking everything from the pavement to the misty apartment window, he finds himself in Hachi's warm embrace.

There is a kind of warmth in her arms, always giving and never taking. Because Shin is selfish, he takes and takes, and because Hachi loves him, she gives and gives. He loves her, really loves her, and she loves him in her own way. It is a way that is completely her own and never quite right or not entirely enough for him.

Like the ever so altruistic mother, she makes him hot chocolate, encourages him, supports him, and lets him bury his head on her shoulders. And sometimes, he finds himself lost in her sweet scent that is kind of like strawberries and cream. This makes him want to hug her tightly and never let go, but he doesn't because he is afraid of breaking her. Like a doll, her arms are soft and pale and fragile.

He loves her too much, and he thinks she loves him too, but it isn't enough because the way she sees him is different from the way he sees her. He is only sixteen, and she is already twenty-one with Takumi and a baby coming in about eight month's time.

Shin thinks there is no place for him in her heart. She treats him like her son, and it hurts, but he smiles anyway and pretends that he wants her to be the mother he's never had. There are days, however, when it's just too much for him, and he hugs her tightly, losing his control and at the same time, knowing that he's hurting her. Then, he starts to cry, and she worries about him.

"What's wrong?" she asks.

"It hurts," he replies, and it's true.

She asks him where, but he only hugs her tighter. To ease the pain, she comforts him in the only way she knows how - she kisses him. On the forehead. On the cheeks. On his shoulder. But, never where he really wants her to place it. It's cruel, and she doesn't know that she's only making it worse.

"Shin..." her voice is soft and worried. She wants to ask why he's like this, but she thinks there's nothing she could possibly do. Hachi is right, of course. But still, she doesn't know how much he wants her.

For several minutes, they remain quiet. He's crying still, his body quaking ever so slightly, and she's running her hand up and down his back to soothe him and alleviate whatever it is that's bothering him.

Finally, she asks him. "What's wrong, Shin?"

He doesn't really know what to say, so he lies. "Reira."

A girl-woman so far away from not so long ago whose love he once yearned for, and yet, it couldn't quite fill his heart unlike her, unlike Hachi.

At this, she stops stroking his back and frowns. "I'm so sorry."

"I am too," he replies.

Needless to say, he doesn't mean the same thing. He's sorry nonetheless. He's sorry that he loves and wants her in the most repulsive way, and he's sorry that Takumi exists, that there is a baby, that even Nobu exists, or Shoji, or all the other men that she has loved in a way that she has never loved him.

"I want to hurry and grow up," he says. And take you.

Hachi is quiet for a moment, with her lips pursed and eyebrows furrowed.

"Just wait, Shin. I know she'll wait for you too."

But, you didn't. He smiles bitterly causing her frown to deepen.

"Oh, Shin! I wish I could make you feel better," she says quietly as she takes his chin and looks him in the eyes.

He looks away, feeling bitter and ashamed. There are so many things he wants her to do, and so many things she could never do, and still a million things he could never do.

In the middle of all this, in the abandoned Room 707, on the table Nana built, he wants nothing more than to take her away to some place far, somewhere long ago, somewhere different. A place where there's no Shoji or Nobu or Takumi. A place where Hachi loves him only, and he is older and smarter. He knows that he would never run away the way Nobu did, he would never seek other girls like Takumi and Shoji, and he would never...

"I would never hurt you, you know," admits silently, like a prayer, believing that he's the only boy- no, man- in the world who actually means it.

She smiles, albeit a little confused. "I know."

"I would never run away."

"I know."

"I can protect you..."

Hachi laughs, and he knows that she's probably thinking of him as a little boy who wants to protect his mother. Then, she gives him a little kiss on the forehead, leaning up a bit because even though they're sitting down, he's still taller than she is.

Slowly, he closes his eyes as her kiss lasts a few seconds longer than it probably should, and he takes in her scent and presence, wishing that the kiss were placed somewhere else.

Finally, she pulls away.

"Oh, Shin, I love you so much," she says.

Her words are loving, and they hold the purest of truth in them. But, he knows what she means, and he hates knowing that she never says it quite the way he wants her to or means it the way he wants it to mean. He can't do anything though, so he forces a smile.

"I love you too," he says, and he means it in every single way he wants her words to mean. She, on the other hand, interprets it differently, and her loving and ever-so-fucking motherly smile only confirms this.

"I want to be with you forever," he admits. Without him or the baby or any other guy.

Their words could never quite collide. He says words of love and promises and even dissolute want, and she takes them in and infers other things. She says the same things, and he soaks them in and wishes they meant other things.

There's only so much he could take from her, and there's only so much she could give. He knows he could never have her, but that doesn't stop him from wanting. And if this is the only kind of relationship that they can share, well, then he'll just take what he fucking gets and deal with it.

Even though it hurts sometimes, it's worth everything just to be near her. So, he takes her hand, squeezes it, and rests his head on her shoulder as they resume staring out the window.

As he drifts off to sleep, bathing in her warmth, overwhelmed by the smell of the sweetest strawberries, he wishes that the rain would never stop. He knows she doesn't belong to him, but he belongs to her because he believes that he deserves to be with her more than anyone else. And, as long as the rain never stops, she would never leave. Then he can just play "make-believe" like other children, pretending that she, even just for a little bit, belongs to him.

He is, after all, still a child.

In his sleep, he smiles, and she looks at his pale face, so peaceful and delicate as though he found a home within her. She too smiles. "What silly game could you possibly be dreaming of now, Shin?"

A/N: This was a spontaneous stream of consciousness thing. Instead of doing my Psychology homework, I wrote this. LOL. Ah, but Shin is a sweet, sweet boy...too bad I was so mean to him. Haha. Unbeta-d, I read over it a couple of times. I'm too lazy right now, but I'll improve it tomorrow.