Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story. At all.
Warning: Shounen-ai, homosexual relationships, etc, etc.
Author's Note: Oh wow, another one-shot. Is anyone honestly surprised?
I have to say that this one-shot was inspired by the song 'I Will Follow You into the Dark' by Death Cab for Cutie.
I Love You This Much
This story practically wrote itself when Sora happened upon a box one night when driving home from work. He claimed it had been one of those days – you know, the kind of day where nothing goes right? And he had claimed that finding the box on the road was one of the better things that could've happened.
He had found two rabbits in that box.
A brown one and a white one and he took them to my place. To my place because I didn't work anymore – because I didn't go to school anymore. Because I decided to let my life work itself down the tubes.
My mom paid my rent.
My dad shot me dirty looks across the table when I went to dinner.
In short: life was good.
It had been 11:11 PM when the frantic pounding startled me from the couch and I, drunkenly, walked over to the front door to find him nursing the box against his chest. I didn't understand why until he set the box on the table and I noted the two, barely moving white and brown rabbits.
The brown one's nose was twitching and he would look up, fearfully, every now and again, but the white one had blood matted against the fur and I had to wonder if it was even breathing. If there was any life even left in that little body and I glanced over at Sora, raising a brow at him and wondering what in the world he was thinking.
"Do you have a cage? Something to put them in? Anything? We need a towel and… and something to help the white rabbit…" he dodged away from the table and to the laundry room, grabbing a red towel and thrusting it at me. "What about a cage?" he was damn near frantic. "We need to get them out of the box…"
Yea. I had a rabbit cage lying about.
Because that sounded just like me, right?
"Riku…" his voice was pleading.
"I don't, but we can… We can put them in the bathtub. We'll shred some newspaper and just… put them in there…" I scratched the back of my head and Sora grasped the box and walked to the bathroom, yelling about needing paper to shred for the bottom of the tub.
So I grabbed the newspapers I had laying around, some magazines, some regular paper, and we sat in my bathroom for nearly half an hour, shredding the paper and arranging it on the bottom of the white, hard tub. The white rabbit, by now, had opened its eyes and I wondered if it had been playing dead in fear.
Sora's hesitant hands reached in the box for the brown rabbit and he grasped it with ease, setting it into the bathtub without much trouble. It had to have been someone's pet once before… It had to have been because it wasn't very scared of us. Nor did it seem like it wanted to run away.
But it did want the white rabbit in the back.
Judging by the way it was trying to frantically get out of the bathtub and back to the box, I muttered that they must be lovers. Jokingly, of course.
But leave it to Sora to take everything so damn seriously.
I laid the red towel out on the counter and Sora set the white rabbit on top of it, eyeing the bloodied wound on its side. It looked bad – deep and still oozing with blood and I bit my lower lip. This thing wasn't going to make it. It needed a veterinarian and we had… We had a computer engineer and a guy who had dropped out of college to do nothing with his life.
This little rabbit didn't have a chance.
"Let's clean it. Or try…" Sora looked under my sink for the peroxide and as he pulled it out, I grabbed his wrist.
"That's human stuff, Sora, come on… Besides, it's just a rabbit. Who cares about a rabbit? There are millions of them."
A pout suddenly lined my boyfriend's lips and he elbowed me slightly, grabbing some tissue and opening the peroxide. He rubbed a bit onto the tissue and then onto the wound, causing the little rabbit to wiggle and squirm. I bit my lower lip and watched, frowning as Sora tried for the next hour to get the bleeding to stop.
Eventually, he did.
Eventually, he covered the wound with a cloth and some medical tape to keep it in place.
Eventually, he laid that poor thing in the tub next to the brown rabbit with a few carrots and a semi-old tomato I had lying around the house.
But they didn't seem interested in the food.
The brown rabbit was lying next to the white rabbit, his glass eyes wide and alert. His chest rose and fell with each breath and I swallowed.
I hated animals.
They couldn't possibly feel the way humans felt.
They couldn't possibly perceive emotion the way humans did.
How could that brown rabbit feel anything for the white one? All animals knew where to mate. They didn't understand love and they never would. Nor did they understand death.
But leave it to Sora to get all pouty when I just lay out the truth.
Leave it to Sora to get all pissy and prissy when I lay it on real thick.
He didn't go home that night. He slept in my bed and I wrapped him up tight, kissing along the shell of his ear and whispering how much I loved him. How I adored him. How I would die without him.
And he laid there, a bit emotionless, muttering the same things back. My own little echo. My own little parrot to mirror back the words I say.
I awake the next morning to find Sora has already left for work. I stumble into the bathroom to use the commode and when I walk in, I glance over the side of the tub and I see the white rabbit lying there with its eyes closed, not breathing, and the brown rabbit lying on top of it.
Its eyes were wide open.
Not alert wide, but… Sad.
Glassy and sad and I swallow hard, the sudden need to cry overwhelming me. But I don't. Because it's Sora's job to be sad about that kind of shit, not me. I'm the rock. I'm the hard, practically emotionless rock.
I am the one who isn't afraid to tread in dark waters.
I am the one who doesn't care for life.
I am the one who knows animals do not feel emotion the way we do.
But when I glanced back at the rabbit, to see it still lying there over the white one, I feel the lump come back into my throat.
The thing I said about them being lovers was a joke, but I suddenly feel like a jerk for even saying something like that. The brown rabbit is draped completely over the white one and I leave the bathroom, scrambling for the phone to tell my boyfriend that the little white rabbit is dead.
And leave it to Sora to come rushing home.
We bury the white rabbit in my backyard, next to the single rose bush that grew without my help. It had been here since I had gotten here and I neglected it like crazy, but it died and grew, died and grew. I had fresh roses every year, but I never cared for them. Sora did – he would cut them and put them in a vase and be proud of them.
But I doubt he'd ever look at the roses the same.
Not with the little white rabbit lying underneath the dirt.
He cries and I cuddle him close and this only makes him cry more. We go inside and we sit down on my couch and I use my thumbs to wipe away his tears, muttering about how the rabbit didn't even matter. How it was nothing more than a little mass of bones and fur and there are others out there just like it.
This doesn't make him feel better and I should've known it wouldn't. He abandons me from the couch and he makes his way to the bathroom, going inside and locking the door and he stays there for the rest of the night.
Leave it to me to open my big, stupid mouth.
Leave it to me to totally crush my already crushed boyfriend.
I awake the next morning to see Sora in the backyard with the brown rabbit. He's clutching it close and the brown rabbit isn't moving, just sort of lying there in his arms and I make my way outside, fearing that the brown rabbit is dead, too.
"No," Sora says when I ask. "I think he's sad. I'm just showing him where the other rabbit is…"
Like that rabbit even understands.
For the next two or three days, the rabbit sits outside near the grave. It sits perched next to it or it lies on top of it, but he doesn't go away. It never, ever just leaves and though Sora leaves it carrots and tomatoes, it hardly touches the vegetables. It nibbles a little and then it will leave the rest next to the grave.
As if leaving it for the white rabbit.
On the fourth day, the rabbit is gone. The rabbit is completely gone and Sora worries and worries about it. It wasn't even our rabbit. It wasn't even our pet. It was just something he happened upon and I don't understand why this is so upsetting to him.
But sure enough, on the fifth day, Sora is ready to call the chief of police to send out an Amber Alert for the stupid brown rabbit.
I convince him that the rabbit will be back. I convince him to just lie down and nap a little since he hasn't been sleeping well. I convince him that I'll look for the rabbit and I do, but I never find him.
It isn't until the sixth day that he wonders back into the yard. Stumbling like a drunk, much like I usually do, with something white between his teeth.
It's 11:11 AM when I see the brown rabbit in the yard and I see him step over to the place where we buried the white rabbit. I go to open the door, but I wait and I notice that the brown rabbit is beaten up. He's lined with wounds that are freely bleeding and I swallow hard, opening up the door and stepping outside.
But it doesn't matter.
By the time I get over there, the little brown rabbit has laid itself next to the grave and his breathing has stopped. His breathing has stopped and I don't know if I should tell Sora or if I should try and help it or what.
But something tells me not to.
Something tells me I wouldn't be doing this little guy any favors by trying to bring him back to life.
I grab the white paper that he had previously held between sharp teeth and I unfold the little note, goose bumps lining my skin when I read in elegant, but shaky handwriting:
"I love you this much."
Immediately, I fold the note back up and for reasons I still don't understand, I begin to cry. I begin to silently cry and I clutch the note, knowing that it is impossible for rabbits to actually write – to feel human emotion – to know the absence that death causes and to know the pain of lost love, but I cry anyway because even though I know it's impossible…
I start to believe it true.
Sora comes home at eight and he asks about the brown rabbit. I've already buried him in the backyard next to the white rabbit and I buried a red rose between them. I tell him what happened and I show him the note and all over again, I start to cry.
I start to cry and I swallow and Sora is staring at me, holding the note tightly and then suddenly hugging me close against his chest. Hugging me and soothing me. Over two dumb dead rabbits.
Two dumb dead rabbits that are gone from this world, but not gone from me. Two rabbits I barely knew that have made some sort of lasting effect on me.
As Sora holds me, I squeeze him and I tell him about how the brown rabbit wounded himself to the point of death and how about I think he somehow wrote the note and how silly it all seems, but how horribly… sad it seems.
How awful and terrible.
How in love he must've been with that white rabbit.
I lick my lips and take a breath, shuddering slightly and I pull away from Sora who's offering the smallest of smiles. At the time, I don't understand, but it occured to me later that he was happy because I finally understand why he was so sad. Why he had been crying.. He reaches up and cups my cheek, pressing a kiss to my lips and using a thumb to wipe away some of the tears that are still flowing down my cheeks.
I take in a breath and say "yea?"
And Sora, in his eminent wisdom, holds out his arms as wide as they'll go and says:
"I love you this much."
Author's Note: I rarely get emotional during stories.