Note: the tittle means Old Love - or so says Google. Merry Christmas and Happy new year! 3

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Mukashi no Koi

.

"i knew you
before
i met you.
i've known you my whole life."

nafsi, nayyirah waheed

.

He will accept your hand and thank you politely with a small nod. Then you will help him walk around the house and look brood longer over the fukuma panels; the end of his white, pearly eyes wrinkled and squeezed, trying to see as well as he used to.

He will seat at the veranda and watch the trees. He will remain hours in that same position he used to meditate, until his old bones start hurting and he would try to get up alone, but you will - as always - take him under the armpits and help him up, against his will.

He will turn around, look you in the eyes, ask you to do not do that again, but will accept your hand and walk slowly into the small sanctuary room. He will kneel and pray, like you saw him doing every day of the year in a repetitive and beautiful way.

Contemplative, serious, wistful and sad.

He will murmur your name, his parents' names, his cousins and uncle's names. He will clap his hands twice and open his eyes. Then he will accept your help without commotions and go back to the room you still share in the same old traditional Japanese house you've been living for almost fifty five years.

He will let you brush his hair after you telling him your name three times, and only because he looked very deep in your eyes and recognised you under the tired and old lids. His hair is clear grey, almost snow white, and you tell him he need a haircut, but he only laughs at your comment and start murmuring about a young man he knew when he was only a joyful fresh shinobi.

He will talk about you without letting it slip that you two were a couple, because he likes to preserve your privacy. He will let you help him get into bed and will murmur a small prayer. He is not that old, but age got great part of his memory away. Then he will open his eyes, stare right into yours and say:

"Shikamaru, I need a haircut."

He will have this serious tone and you will smile, nodding and kissing his lips goodnight as softly as you can. Then you will walk into the bathroom, stare your old frame with greyish hair on your not that spiky ponytail. You will have a bath, have a jasmine tea watching the shadows moving inside the house in a calming and lazy rhythm, murmur a prayer for the night and go back to bed.

He will wake up in the middle of the night to have a glass of water and will whisper your name against your hair before falling asleep again without waking you up. The morning will start with you calling his name quietly:

"Neji, it's time to wake up."

Somedays he will smile broadly and say good morning, calling you by the name and asking you why do you look so old, so tired, so lazy and why, oh why, are you still so handsome?

And you will feel glad for having him by your side, will take him by the hand, kiss his old wrinkled knuckles and start another day.