I was four years old when I first saw him. Even back then, I knew he was the most beautiful thing on the planet, and that he would be the person I loved for the rest of my life. Love at first sight.
And then my father was pulling me past the marionette shop that stood on the corner and leading me towards our goal; the shoe shop.
We lived in a small town, only a few miles from the coast. It was so small it took, I was told by my grandfather one day, six years for it to be put on the road atlas. There was one of every type of shop in our town; one clothes shop. One music shop. One shoe shop. One butchers. One greengrocers.
And one toy shop. But no-one ever went into it. The man who ran it was strange... He always covered his face in purple war paint and spent all his time making puppets and putting them on display. He only made money because he was famous in certain circles and could get over a thousand for one, well made puppet.
My father always pulled me past so quickly that I'd never had a chance to look into it. But that day...that fateful day...
It had been nothing. Just a friend stopping briefly to shake his hand and say hello, but that was all it took. I turned my head, and there he was. Just standing there...looking beautiful.
He had hair like the darkest arterial blood, deep and flaming and artfully spiked up in every direction, with a few spikes gracefully falling over his forehead. His skin was alabaster smooth, white as fresh fallen snow, and looked to be just as cold to the touch.
His eyes looked to be a beautiful mixture between sky blue and mint green...like a tropical ocean just flowing over a colourful reef. They were surrounded by a shadow of black, dark as coal, which only made the colours more extreme. He was short, and slender, and looked so very delicate...
But what truly drew my gaze was a symbol on his forehead, where the spikes parted. 愛
I had no idea, at the time, what it meant, but I loved it! I loved him! At the tender age of four, I was totally in rapture over a man I only managed to glance at.
I wasn't able to see him again for years. Father forbid me from going near the shop, insisted I walked on the other side of the road. I craned my neck to see my love, but still...nothing. He seemed to have disappeared.
But one day, one week before my fourteenth birthday, a full ten years after I'd first seen him, I spotted him. He was there, just there! Inside the shop! My eyes were glued to him and I found myself crossing the road, heading towards the shop.
I pressed my fingers against the glass, looking at him hungrily, and seeing him look back with those beautiful eyes. He hadn't aged a day. As beautiful as ever...
I only got that quick look though, because then my father was there, grabbing my arm and yanking me away from the shop, cursing under his breath and promising me a thrashing when I got home.
But I kept my eyes on him until the very end.
It was another three years before I saw him again. By now, I lived alone. My father had died just one year before, after a long battle with cancer. I was sad, but life went on as much as it ever did. I had a steady job in the leisure centre, was studying online to get enough qualifications to go to university. Getting on with life.
I always looked at the shop, but I never saw him. It made me so sad...
And then, one day, there he was! As beautiful as always, as still as always, as sudden as always.
And this time...this time there was no-one to stop me!
I crossed the road and once again pressed my fingers to the glass. He was so beautiful...I had to have him! There was no choice in the matter! He'd been mine since I was four years old and now I could finally take him for my own. Forever and ever...
I pushed the door open, surprised that there was no tingling bell. I was so used to it in the other shops...
The owner was there, as always, and he looked up in surprise, face twisting into a beaming smirk. "Well hello there! I know you, don't I? Seen you looking in here more than once. Never come in though. What can I do for you?"
I turned and pointed at the red head with a shaking hand. "Who...who is he?" I whispered.
"That? Oh, that's Gaara. Kinda gorgeous, isn't he? My 'little brother'," he cackled manically. "I would love for him to get out there and belong to someone, but...you know. People get a little freaked out by the staring." He rolled his eyes and tilted his head. "You want him?"
"Oh yes..." I could barely hear my own answer, but he seemed to. Perfectly well.
"Then he's yours."
I turned to stare at him in shock. "What? But-"
"No. I've wanted him out of here for years now. And I remember you...you're always staring at him. He's yours. Now get him out of here."
I couldn't breathe! He was...mine? For real? Forever?
I couldn't even begin to thank the man enough, shaking his hand and, hell, hugging him!
And he's been mine ever since. I'm old now, and he's been a loyal companion for all these years. He never ages, never smiles, and never says a word. But how can I honestly expect him to?
And yet, last night, I swore I heard him speak. I heard the sweetest voice, deep and confident, telling me that I didn't have to suffer any longer. That we could die together, and be together once again in heaven.
And so here I am, writing our story and sending it to you, my dearest friend. I know you will be angry with me when you learn how I've departed this world, but don't worry. I'll already be asleep when the flames start to destroy this old body. He'll stay in my arms while the drugs take their effect, and I know we'll be together in our next life. Know that I love you, and that I am happy. Wish me the best in my next life.
Lee and Gaara.
Author's Note: Wikipedia defines Agalmatohphilia as a paraphilia concerned with the sexual attraction to a statue, doll,mannequin or other similar figurative object. The attraction may include the desire for actual sexual contact with the objects, a fantasy of having sexual (or non-sexual) encounters with the animate or inanimate instances of the preferred objects, the act of watching encounters between the objects themselves, or sexual pleasure gained from thoughts of being transformed or transforming another into the preferred object.
I chose to include love in this.