10.—1000 kelvin tonight

As the months pass away, you find yourself always going back to Pallet, standing at the edge of the beach where you can the see the best how the sea and the horizon meet. (And perhaps, you think, a ship will be there, too, one day.)

You don't return to Veilstone for too long because the city is thick and heavy and your flat so much smaller without him.

It's funny. You'd think it would be the other way around.

He comes back on Christmas Eve.

It's night, eleven or so, and you're on your way back to the hotel. From afar you can make out a figure slowly coming your way. You'll never figure out how but it figures you know at once who it is.

"What are you doing here?" he asks. His cheeks are glowing scarlet red and his breath is forming little puffs of white.

"Nothing," you say.

"But it's Christmas," he says and on a twisted, emotional kind of level, you have to admit, he's making sense.

And then he has the temerity to take of his glove and stroke your cheek, like you're some sort of lonely woman. So you kiss him. For payment.

A moment later you cannot help to (almost) regret that you've wasted your time with eating, sleeping, breathing and fighting when you could have been doing this.

Mouths still at each other, you make your way to his house and proceed to spend the rest of the night with eating unhealthy amounts of turkey and fucking in his way too small bed that may have fit him when he was twelve. You've been thinking about doing that with him for a while now and he, as well, from time to time looked like he at least considered it.

For both of you it's the first time doing it this way, but it turns out decent enough.

"Damn, Heartnet," he says afterwards and grins broadly. It's been a while since you've seen him do that. "Didn't know you cared."

You didn't, either. It's certainly something to think about.

Another thing to think about would be the question just when he has managed to become such a significant part of your life. It's strange for you to have this ubiquitous 'he' everywhere in your mind; to have to care enough to take the initiative for once and still be yourself somehow. (Whatever that means.)

It's unfamiliar but you feel yourself getting used to it over the years.

Living, and dreaming of a large tanker emerging from the fringe of the ocean, as the sun sets behind it. The jet-black water sparkles with thousands of different patterns of colours, as does his hair, and when you see him waving you feel something tug at your lips and—

"Let's go home, moron."