He had nightmares sometimes, the kind that pillaged your mind and made you scream. The kinds that made you want to claw out your eyes and pull at your hair. Scrape your ragged nails on charred walls and set fire to your memories. Set fire to it all. Burn everything, everything that ever reminded you of that one little nightmare that plagued your thoughts on those few nights where you forget what's good. Where the sun doesn't rise and all you see is the huge wave of horror and pain and you want to fall and crawl away somewhere safe. But its dreams like those that make you realize that nowhere is safe. Nowhere is home. And the worst part of it all, the absolute worst part wasn't that it actually made him cry, wasn't that they came one thousand times too much. No, what hurt the most was that he bore this weight alone. No one could ever know. No one.
Darkness had fallen and I was still out on my balcony, staring at the hundreds of constellations that hung in the sky. My light pink hair twirled in the wind and tickled my cheeks. Brushing the stray strands away casually, I sighed into my hands as I leaned my cheeks onto my palm. Glancing backwards to my room, I sighed again, louder this time. I didn't feel like going back in there. I knew that the moment I walked in there, I'd be bombarded with my problems and reality would slap me in the face again. For the second time this week Ikuto had decided to crash in my room for the night. Gahhh, he was so frustrating sometimes, always coming and going whenever he pleased, honestly! Did he think my room was a 24/7, always open hotel or something? I just didn't understand why he always came by here.
Always knocking on my door in the dead of the night, a haunted look in his eye and a shiver running down his chest. Ikuto was never vulnerable, but on the few nights he arrived at my balcony, his lips drawn back in a misery of a smile and his hair hanging over his eyes, he reminded me of a fallen angel, torn feathers still fluttering to the floor. Sighing again, I would have continued with my musings had it not been for the cry of pain that pierced through my mind like a bullet. Twisting around quickly, I flung open the balcony door and had to remind myself not to slam it impulsively. Rushing into my room, I spun around hurriedly, not locking onto anything suspicious. Confused, I turned toward my bed and gasped.
My pink sheets were tossed to the floor and the little bit that remained was entwined in-between Ikuto's legs. Sweat dripped down his forehead, following the contours of his face to fall into his clenched eyes and drop into his open mouth. Ikuto's arms were wrapped tightly around my pillow and his body lay curled up like a tortured cat. Stepping closer to the boy I could hear the low moans coming from his mouth and caught sight of the agonized flash of pain that appeared on his face. "Ikuto." I murmured.
Tightening my hands into a fist, I lurched forward and jumped onto the bed. Placing my hands on either side of his face, I turned it towards me and bent down low. "Ikuto…Ikuto, wake up. It's alright, everything's fine. Just wake up. All you have to do is wake up." I shook his sides gently, increasing my intensity until I couldn't shake him anymore.
Throwing my hands up in frustration I grabbed at his face again only to end up in his hair. Stroking his cat-like locks, I watched in amazed curiosity as his breathing slowed to a normal pace and his muscles loosened themselves one by one. The look of intense pain and anguish slowly eased back into a comforted sleep and I watched in sad fascination as a single tear dripped down his face. Smoothing his hair down with my hand, I kept on stroking it until I was satisfied that he was well immersed in his dreams. Leaning back, I smiled down at his figure and had the strangest urge to embrace him.
Before I had a chance to even question that statement, Ikuto shivered and brought his arms around himself in an effort to warm himself. Jumping from the bed, I hurriedly grabbed the blanket from the floor and threw it onto his still form. Tucking him in nicely, I contented myself to just watching him for a while, still stroking his hair, his head now on my lap. I figured it would be more comfortable that way. Looking down at his calm face, he looked rather beautiful in the moonlight. Beautiful despite the tear tracks and the cracked lips. "What are you hiding from me Ikuto?" I whispered into the nothingness.
"You know, this is why he comes here-nya." Yoru's soft voice startled me.
"Yoru! What are you doing awake?" I asked, my heart still beating erratically.
"I sensed Ikuto having another nightmare-nya. I had to do something- nya." He responded sadly.
I tilted my head curiously. "Another? You mean he gets them a lot?"
He nodded despondently. "That's why he comes here-nya. Whenever he's here, he never gets any nightmares-nya." He smiled slightly then and I could feel my heartbeat quicken again.
"But…he had one just now." I protested weakly.
Yoru shrugged, "You weren't there I guess-nya."
A large blush covered my cheeks. I wasn't there? So what? I made his nightmares disappear? "Yoru? How often does he get these nightmares?"
Floating down to Ikuto's face, he snuggled into his neck. "A lot-nya. They got better after he started coming here, but they still come. But he won't come here anymore-nya. He said he won't."
Startled, I looked down at him sharply. "What! Why?" my eyes were panicked and I knew that I probably looked like an overprotective mother hen right now but the worry I felt inside welled up in my throat.
I mean, I guess I had just gotten used to Ikuto being around that he NOT being here was just…off.
"He said that he's a burden-nya. He doesn't want to trouble you with his problems-nya."
Anger blossomed in my chest and I grabbed Yoru from his comfy position. " You listen here Yoru, tomorrow morning you're going to tell that stupid cat-like idiot that it's my decision who's burdening me and right now I say that I like him being a burden so he's allowed to stay…I…I want to help him Yoru. I just don't know how." I finished sadly.
Smiling Yoru hugged my cheek before floating off to his egg. "You've already helped way more than you know Amu-nya." He said with a grin.
He disappeared before I had a chance to answer. Looking back down at the boy in my lap I grinned melancholically. "You know Ikuto; you don't have to bear the world on your shoulders. Why won't you let me help you?" glancing at the clock, I had a mini heart-attack when I saw the time.
I was SO going to be late for school tomorrow. But, let's just be honest here, it was worth it. Placing his head back down onto the pillow, I tiptoed to my desk and quickly scrawled a few words down on a paper before taping it to the balcony. Rushing back to bed, I lifted up the covers and wriggled in next to him. Closing my eyes, I fell asleep to the sound of Ikuto's deep breaths.
He woke up to find a cold gap where Amu's body had been. Stretching his arms, he grimaced as he felt his skin pulling at his face. Reaching up, he lightly touched his cheek and frowned. Great, he had had another nightmare last night…but why didn't he remember it? Looking around confusedly he suddenly remembered what today was. Today was his last night here, he was leaving. He couldn't stay here anymore. Looking to the egg basket he called out his chara's name.
Yoru popped out with a big smile on his face. "Ikutooo-nya!" he called out cheerfully.
Raising one perfect eyebrow, Ikuto stared. "And what are you so happy about?"
"Something happened while you were asleep-nya!" he trilled happily.
Smirking, Ikuto grabbed him by the tail. "Did Miki finally give you a kiss?" he teased.
Blushing, the little cat chara squirmed out of his grasp before doing a flip in the air. "Nope! Me and Amu had a talk-nya." He grinned mischievously as he saw a jealous spark awaken in Ikuto's eyes.
"Oh? What about?" he asked, trying to be nonchalant.
"Look for yourself-nya." He responded playfully, pointing to the balcony.
There, on the glass door, was a piece of white stationary with Amu's loopy handwriting.
Now it's my turn to protect you.