"Wow, real pretty."
"Isn't it? Did you know that the light you're seeing comes mostly from stars that are already dead?"
"Yes. What reaches us is the light that is still travelling through space. I wonder if it is like that with people as well. If something remains of them even after they are gone."
"I'm sure it is."
Izaya had put on the jacket and wore nothing else. His smile was sad.
"But we can't be sure. If the stars I see are the same as the stars you see or if I am just imagining them."
Shizuo wrapped an arm around him. Izaya was still warm from sex.
"Then we'll go through them all and confirm, I guess."
"That would take a lifetime."
"Fine by me."
"You know, Mairu and Kururi thought that you were too good for me."
It was with some difficulty that Izaya shifted to the past tense when speaking about his sisters.
"They'd be happy to see us together, I think."
"Not too sure about that. But I'd like to think so. I really would. Say, Shizu-chan…if I get you a chicken suit do you suppose you could wear it and flap about some?"
"If you like."
Izaya smiled beautifully. Shizuo kissed him.
"Want to go the beach one of these days?"
Izaya seemed to consider it.
"Hmm…you just want to see me prance about almost naked. I'm all for."
This playfulness was a good sign that their relationship was progressing. At first Izaya had been very coy and even shy, asking permission to do as much as kiss and acting not too confident about his status as a lover. As a result he adopted a kind of modesty that was ill-suited to someone as Izaya and it was only by degrees that it gave way to this bubbly attitude.
"Heh, there's that too. Just thought it'd be fun."
"I bet! You're swimming as well, Shizu-chan. Just so you know."
"And now it is time for…a tickling attack!"
Izaya jumped on him and proceeded to tickle Shizuo to the ground.
"No way. I'm having fun here!"
Izaya laughed as if he was the one being tickled. They rolled around until they became entangled limbs. The transition from playing to fondling was a natural one. Shizuo and Izaya relished this exchange of touches. Accepting vulnerability. Building a complex network of mutual trust. This was the possible happiness allotted to them by whatever gods there were or by some blind chance. Surrounded by fearful dangers they drew a circle of safety within which Izaya could breathe outside the crushing pressure that threatened to blot him out of existence.
Shizuo carried him to the bed they shared. Izaya could not sleep alone at night without the comfort of Shizuo's warm body close to him like a living shelter.
"Sing me a lullaby!"
"I don't know any."
"Then hum something."
Shizuo tried. Izaya giggled.
"That was dreadful."
"I can't sing."
"That's okay. There's always tomorrow. Until there isn't. But even if I know that it is a delusion I'll believe that there'll always be a tomorrow where you're there with me."
Shizuo smiled as he watched sleep claim him. A familiar sight by now but not any less moving. The future was by its very nature unpredictable. Izaya could relapse. But whatever may happen Shizuo knew that he would be there for Izaya, for whatever remained of Izaya, even if it was only to tend to this brokenness. Such reflections abandoned him presently. Because for the time being Izaya was calmly breathing in and out with a faint smile on his full lips. And everything felt right.
"See you tomorrow, Izaya."