notes: Set directly after chapter 27. Written for AGENT KELL's request with the prompt "childhood dreams". Enjoy! :)
let's live this life as dreamers
He wants to marry her one day.
Ryu acknowledges this first as the silly fantasy his ten-year-old self had, one AM on the first of January as they sit down on his front porch. The memory surfaces slowly in his mind like a trickling shadow of remembrance, and a part of him feels slightly perturbed. It's still the silliest thing he's ever thought of, even to this day—partly because boys aren't supposed to think about marriage (not now, not the way he does), and mostly because the girl in question is knee-deep in obliviousness and other people's problems.
"I hope this year will be good," Chizuru's saying now, fingers curling around the meat bun they bought at the convenience store just ten minutes ago. "It'll be really great if something nice can happen between, well, Kazehaya and Sawako-chan." Turning around, she offers him a grin. "I know, I know. You told me there's no need to worry, but I just can't help it."
He shrugs. "I understand."
She nods, her head bobbing up and down. "Of course!" she says brightly, "You're best friends with Kazehaya, after all. He'll treat Sawako-chan right, won't he? Because if he doesn't, I won't—"
A firework bursts into the sky, its thunderous boom interrupting her and jolting both of them. Another soon follows in the shape of a red flower, petals stretching out before disappearing in less than a second. Chizu drops her meat bun in surprise, too absorbed to even notice, then dissolves into peals of delighted laughter.
"Look, Ryu! Look!"
It lasts for a few minutes, vivid colors after vivid colors competing, making friends with midnight. The last firework rises in a smooth, slow line before suddenly unfurling into a large explosion of golden, specked lights, and Chizu sighs contentedly as it bursts with a final bang into a thousand flowers that shudder and then finally, finally meld with the sky.
When it's over she turns towards him, pure, unadulterated excitement tugging the corners of her lips. Some of her hair has curled at her shoulders, brushing the skin at the side of her neck just so. There is something brilliant in her eyes that ignites the daylight in him, first pooling at the bottom of his stomach before banking into a warmth that both soothes and steals his breath. It is in that moment that he feels every bone and sinew in his body pull and compress into a strand of longing so unexpectedly deep and intense that he frantically looks away—quick to swallow the words that have somehow risen past his throat, ready to jump off the tip of his tongue.
"Ryu?" Chizu's grin has been replaced by a slight frown. "Is anything wrong?"
"No," he manages. "No. Nothing's wrong. I just—"
There is concern in her tone and despite himself, Ryu softens. "I hope this year will be good, too," he says, "I hope this year will be good to us."
She beams, completely missing the implications of his words. "I hope so, too!"
His laughter is quiet. "Then it's settled," he agrees, because it is settled, and more than that, it's okay. What matters is that this is Chizu and she's here and she's going to be here for a long, long time, and there is no need for him to rush things.
Sometime during the night, Chizu's head slips to his shoulder, a gentle weight that's surprisingly pleasant and oddly reassuring. In the midst of electric warmth and pages of memories waiting to be filled, what crosses Ryu's mind is a deliciously tempting thought that presses itself to the back of his head and refuses to leave:
He'll tell her this year. Definitely. And then he'll be one step closer.
notes: BECAUSE I CAN. Keely, you awesome person you, I hope you enjoyed it! To everyone else, thank you for reading. (: