:The Way Home:

- o2, Mid July-

Your shadow is my light, your hollow heart is my soul.

.Fabia x Shun.

(the girl who learned how to live

the boy who learned how to love.)

i try and i try and i try

but i still can't fathom this feeling.

\

Sometimes she was scared of the solar life, energy and nitrogenoxygencarbonhydrogen, because those things were living and breathing.

Her sister's palace was built on statistics, the measure of cruelty and blood trails and thousands of lifetimes' worth of currency that disappeared en route to well-being. Real life, the pain and misery and the warmth of a steady heartbeat, was so new and surprising that Shun might as well have been a ghost, something supernatural and nonsensical.

She remembered that he was the first person she let herself truly smile in front of. It was the kind of smile that belonged to happiness, toothy and lopsided and ugly and beautiful. She remembered, too, that he was the first person who made her realized that she was living and not just existing - not because of the dirt on her skin and the sharp sting of sprains, brute training was not her unfamiliar, but because of the fluttering in her pulse and the swell of light in her heart.

There were theories but no answers, daydreams but no resolutions, and the shadows on the eastern walls grew longer and longer as the sun's orange plasma stretched out further and further.

And she lived.

/

Sometimes he was scared of warm hues, feelings and emotions and claustrophobia-inducing pursuits of happiness.

He didn't function like other people did, on a steady income of human interactions.

And he really didn't have much to say until she smiled for the first time and her smile wasn't even that stunning, not like Miss' shy sentimental one or the pink ghost's sultry inviting grin, but to him it was the most beautiful thing; and suddenly his noncommittal breezy thoughts were tied down with a common weight: the warm sense of serenity that overcame him whenever he saw her face.

The first emotion he felt in full (that wasn't loneliness or resentment or fear) was love.

\\\

That day she was covered in dirt and bruises but her eyes were vibrant and he felt so dull, so dull in comparison.

She popped open a soda can with purposeful loudness - she did that ever since he showed her how - and looked at him with flowery eyes, like she had so many times before, and it struck him like it always did.

Settling on the ground legs akimbo, a crooked princess, she brought the soda to her lips for a brief moment before offering it to him.

He hardly considered drinking from the same cup to imply any sort of…romance, but she made him feel like such a fumbling adolescent, that girl.

The lacy moral compass had been a lady. The vapid showstopper had been a woman.

She was, heritage aside, just a girl.

And it comforted him, because he was merely a boy.

He took the soda and drank, the urge to grimace at the coarse fizzy texture forgotten in light of the ghost of her kiss on the metal can.

/

He was used to looking before leaping, to calculating, and it's all wrong, all wrong when the words tumble forth like a butchered script: "I love you."

She didn't even blink; just twisted to face him fully, face all lit up as she uttered the standard expression of gratitude.

He wondered if maybe the phrase was used differently, more easily, more casually on her planet, so when she leaned forward and kissed him, chastely and royally, shock traveled through him like panic. His heart clenched painfully from happiness that he wasn't used to feeling.

His hand clumsily took hers, and even if they weren't star-crossed or even beautiful, he'd leave anyone in either of their whole wide worlds for her. A warning cautious voice in his head nagged over this newfound weakness and he ignored it studiously, pulling her closer with the strong awkward sense of inexperience that euphoric adolescent embraces induce.

And for a moment, time lagged for his desperate hope that this would be their forever.