Last chapter! Thank you all for your kind words and reviews. :)
Tino came back the next day, but this time he was alone. He paid his respects to Lukas and quickly came to me by the tombs. It was daytime so I was still frozen in place, unfortunately.
"Su-san!" Tino looked happy to see me at first, then his expression dropped when he realized I wasn't going to answer back. He looked up at me and sighed, then took a seat on my base with his back leaning against my legs. The mood instantly dropped with his glum expression cradled in his arms. What I would give to bend down and show him I was still alive… "I'm not sure if you're still in there or if you're not, but…I just really want to talk to someone and you are the only person I can think of. I know you aren't going to answer but it can't hurt to talk to a rock, right?"
Listening to the Finn's voice was like music to my ears. It had been months since he told me things about his day or voiced his opinions on his coworkers. I enjoyed every second of it and cherished his mere presence. It started with some filling in, his tone cheerful and the topics ever changing. Tino spoke of his job at the coffee shop and some interesting customers he's been having. A new food he ate. What he wanted to do this summer. Slowly the conversation started leaning towards home, and then he revealed the reason why he didn't come see me during the long winter night.
Mathias found out where he went when he wasn't at home or at work. He was livid for some reason and after five or six drinks he only got angrier. He made Tino stop coming to the cemetery to say hello to Lukas. That time when they made snowmen together, Tino was not supposed to be there. He was supposed to be at home but he risked it in order to give me some company and he spent a little too much time making the snowmen with me. When he got back late, Mathias struck him with something rather sharp. That is where the scar came from.
The next morning when he sobered up, Mathias was sorry about the wound but was in no way lenient on the ban from the cemetery. He said it was because he was superstitious, but Tino suspected other reasons. The Dane didn't want to accept that Lukas was gone. It was two months later that both Emil and Tino were able to convince Mathias to stop drinking. He was making progress and being less violent now, and they even convinced him to come see his late husband. Making him visit the grave was a crucial step in recovery. That day he promised never to hurt either of the boys that stuck with him through his darkest hour despite the harm he caused. They really were a close knit family of sorts to stick together through such a thing.
Then Tino became silent. I could see him at the bottom of my vision and how his shoulders drooped with the pause. He leaned more on his knees and sighed. "I have had a very long time to think things over now. This entire time I couldn't stop thinking about you and how you were still here, lonely and bored. You must have thought I hated you after the way I left that one time. I don't hate you, Su-san. I could never hate you. You have been so nice to me, a shoulder to lean on you know? You helped me out so much last year just by listening. Thank you so much."
Nothing can explain the rush of emotion I felt when Tino said these things to me. This entire time he thought about me, just as I thought of him. He even worried about me throughout the cold nights. Apparently I even helped him by just being here, which is all a statue can really do. If only I could thank him for all he has done for me! He's my sunrise in the never ending darkness, the one that made me feel like more than a hunk of rock, the one that gave me a name.
"I can only hope you didn't hate me before you turned back into stone." Tino buried his face in his arms as he crouched on the base at my stone feet. I heard a small sound like a tiny sob. "Su-san, I love you…I just didn't really understand it at the time. You must have liked me too; you were always so close to me and willing to listen to my stupid ranting no matter what. Now I can only ask for forgiveness…I'm so sorry, Su-san. I really hope you can forgive me…."
Damn it, sun! Go down faster! I was enthralled that Tino actually confessed to loving me, but he thought I hated him? I could never hate him! I had to tell him, I had to show Tino that he was everything to me! That couldn't happen no matter how hard I tried until the darkness came, and it was still minutes until the sun set. Tino was already standing up to leave and I was stuck standing here like a…like a statue!
"Goodbye, Su-san. I'll make sure to come back often, and I'll visit you each time okay? I don't know if you are still in there, but if you are…" Tino bit his bottom lip and faced me. Slowly he came closer and stood on his toes on my marble base until he was inches from my stone face. My sight was filled with soft purple eyes. "I…I love you, and I think I always will."
His eyes closed and his head came forward to close the distance between us. Just like that there were soft lips upon my hard ones, kissing me sweetly and carefully. I felt his warmth as my own surged through me. This was the most wonderful feeling…wait. Feeling? I could feel Tino kissing me? Yes, I could…I felt the sensation tingle on my lips. I suddenly felt his ungloved hands cupping my face. I could feel his eyelashes tickle my skin.
My arms began to regain their ability to move. They made sharp jerky movements and cracking sounds while the stone began to recede, but it was enough to reach forward and grab Tino's coat. The man broke the kiss with a gasp and looked into my face which was starting to turn from gray rock to pink skin. Very pink skin. The heat was radiating from my burning cheeks and almost created steam in the cold air.
"S-su-san?" Tino exclaimed when I was able to blink and focus my blue eyes on his beautiful violet ones. "You…you're…!"
I didn't give him a chance to get away and my lips went crashing over his. He squeaked when I pulled him closer and wrapped my freed arms around his smaller figure. Tino quickly relaxed when the kiss deepened and his hands gripped the wool fabric of my coat. There we stood in each other's arms until he pulled away from me delicately and short of breath. Tino's eyes were brimmed with tears and I wiped them away with my gloved thumb.
"T'no," I said his name breathlessly and his smile only got wider. He looked like he was going to burst into tears and took his arms away from around my neck and used them to pull me off my marble stand. I stepped on the ground with a soft thud and he took my hand in his.
"Su-san, I can't believe this! You are back!" he laughed and embraced me, nuzzling my chest with his cute face that already regained the tears I tried to wipe away. I smiled and nodded, gripping him back.
"Yah." It was then I realized that the sun hadn't gone down yet. I was alive again, but it wasn't night time? Was this real? Did I really feel the sun's rays on my face while I stared down at the one I loved who confessed to loving me back? It must have been the kiss! "T'no, yoo saved m'!"
"Huh?" the man looked up. "Saved you? How?"
"S'nlight," I explained and pointed to the setting sun. "It turns m' into st'ne. Yoo saved m'!"
"Oh!" Tino exclaimed. "You mean you can only be alive at night?"
"Hm, n'w m' alive in the d'y. Th'nk yoo. And I l've yoo, T'no, I alw'ys h've…"
I took him into another hug and pressed Tino to my chest. I didn't ever want to let him go again, he was the one that saved me from my stone prison. He broke whatever spell was over me and I was liberated from the rock to walk among those of the daylight. I was free!
Tino hugged me back and laughed. "I-I can't believe this, Su-San… I love you too!" We took the time to take each other in before he gently pulled away. "This is great! So now you can go anywhere? You won't become a statue again? You are human? Oh, you should come home with me! The guys will love you!"
I nodded and took a final look around the graveyard that was my home for as long as I could remember. Whatever it was that hexed me and made me come to life, I thanked it. My purpose was never to guard the tombs, it was to find and protect Tino. I would lay down my life for this mission and bring him as much happiness as he brought me and perhaps more if I could muster it. I could do anything now that I was free.
The small man in blue and white lead me by the hand to the gates and I slipped easily past them without turning back into stone. The joy I felt to be finally leaving this place was overwhelming and the first thing I did when I got in the car next to Tino was pull the man into another kiss. He didn't refuse, but he did mention that I can't do that while he's driving or we'll crash.
Tino started the car and we pulled away from the iron gates. I looked out my window to the countless graves and saw someone standing among them. That was odd, I didn't remember anyone else being there just now. There were no other cars parked here either. Who was it?
The person was a man with light blonde hair parted to the side with a small clip. He wore a blue hat and dark purple coat and his body seemed to glow in the fading light. I could see his dazzling blue eyes from here. The man stood right where Lukas' grave should have been and waved slowly to me as we pulled away. Somehow I knew this person was thanking me. Don't ask me how or why, but I just knew. Tino didn't see him, but I didn't say anything. I realized who it was when the man faded away. I thanked him back in my own thoughts with a soft smile.
We were on the road into the town close by when Tino took my hand. I squeezed it and leaned back in my seat which was very comfortable compared to the stone seats of the cemetery. I was feeling so relaxed that my eyes drifted shut, and before long I was fast asleep for the first time.
"Th'nk yoo, T'no…"
I felt a squeeze back, and before I knew it I was home.
Yeah, that part with the 'unknown' person in the cemetery is a little corny...but I had it in my head that Su-San came to life because of him. It would be appropriate to have him waving goodbye, wouldn't it? That's what I keep telling myself. I like the idea that from death comes life. I hope it wasn't too bad for an ending that could have come from a Disney movie. (The only difference: Mathias didn't fall from an incredible height.)
Thank you for reading and reviewing!