Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon

Summary: Yamaki and their relationship from Reika's POV, with references to flames and oxygen.

They say that people's faces are serene in sleep, temporarily freed of the shackles of everyday life. I wish I were able to say with certainty that this is true, but I cannot.

It maddens me that he is to have no respite even in slumber, with his brow creased and his teeth grinding together and his white knuckled fist continually searching for his trusty lighter to give him light and reassurance. Only in the depths of sheer exhaustion does he lie still and silent.

I fall prey to Hypnos early on, the tiredness evident in his dull eyes the last thing I see before I see no more. He doesn't know that I watch him, but he must infer, given my natural curiosity. It is not curiosity which keeps me watching, however.

I do not wake before him, as one might think, the pattern of work, too few hours to sleep and back to work embedded in his psyche, so much so that when I awaken to the vulgar cacophony that dares to call itself birdsong, he is either on his way to work, or in the living room where I can here the rapid tapping of keys as he frantically strives to meet the deadline of yet another overpaid bureaucrat who will never appreciate how much of himself he invests in his work.

Ironic though it may be, the children, or teenagers as they are now, are the only ones who appear to grasp the magnitude of his responsibility. Occupational hazard of being a tamer it would appear, that all of them, down to the benign Hirokazu and Kenta carried with them a sort of battle awareness. They were not overly paranoid, jumping at loud noises and such, but they were never caught off guard, as the now infrequent instances of wild ones bio-emerging had shown, where they had risen to the occasion with aplomb.

It will take years to even begin to repair the damage done to the network enough for it to be considered anything more than adequate. Janyu and the rest of the monster makers, Jenrya and Alice, they are all working alongside him, so it is not as if I am the only support he has. But he never allows them to get too close. By now, it really it is nothing personal, it is simply his way, and what he is able to live with.

I am privileged to have with him what I do. I wonder if it is because I worked with him first and he grew to respect my ability, and I his ambition.

On the bad days, the ones that all functioning couples require every now and then to clear the air, I think he regrets becoming involved with his subordinate, that I have seen him at his worst, and with his trust issues it is not difficult to imagine what he thinks I might do with such information to advance myself if I were that way inclined.

I stress that gloating has never been a major failing of mine, but awakening before he did on this particularly overcast morning lit within me a warm glow of satisfaction. It really was not fair that he should have me so unguarded in my actions without giving something in return, and the blue moon moments when I was able to observe him, even in the parody of tranquillity he found himself entrapped in, were sweet oxygen to that humble flame.

He stirs in my embrace, eyelids twitching spasmodically as he slowly claws his way up the nebulous cliffs of dreamland to greet me on the edge.

It is foolish, and so very human, to treasure the few seconds, paltry and insufficient though they are, before he comes to full awareness, and the weight of the world settles upon him again, and simply allow myself to revel in the way he curls into my warmth for a paradisiacal moment.

Someday I will see him, perhaps not quite carefree, but willing to at last to fully bridge the gap that still exists between us. He will approach, lighter in hand to illuminate his passage, and I will be waiting for him with the candle.

"I need a cigarette..."

"Good morning to you too. Amazing how your willpower to keep off those things seems nonexistent just after waking with you. What happened to those patches I got you?"

"It's times like these I really wonder why I'm married to you."

"When I try to make sure you'll live to go bald and decrepit?"

"Well when you put it like that...yes. And I won't be bald."

"Of course not..."

"Or decrepit!"

"Perish the thought."

"...you aren't paying any attention to me are you?"

"None whatsoever. Your lips however, now they have my full and unwavering attention because someone is wanting their good morning kiss right about now..."

"Subtle, Reika."

"Kiss Mitsuo. Now. Think of it as helping your oxygen starved brain."

"And they say romance is dead. I must remember to tell them they were righ-mmph!"

When you want something done the way you want, do it yourself. I smile and imagine that I am cupping that tenuous flame, and giving it the oxygen it needs to help it grow.

I am but a moth to his flame. And I wouldn't have it any other way.