Photographs We Never TookAuthor:
AU, drama, romanceDisclaimer:
As Kazuya lays drifting in and out of conciousness, he begins to experience several flashbacks from his early childhood all leading up to the present. After reliving the last moment he can remember, he awakes to an unknown room only to discover that what was once always by his side has left him; yet, at the same time will reside with him forever. A/N:
For Kurii, my other half. ♥
We first met when I was out hiding behind my garage. It felt like it was just yesterday, but in reality, it was such a long time ago.
I was crouched down near the fence as I tried to steady my breathing. "Keep quiet... just keep quiet..." I told myself over and over. I began to calm down, but when I saw a dark red pool of blood forming at my knee, I panicked. I stared as gravity pulled the liquid down the front of my shin marking a path. I didn't know what to do; there was no place that I could go to for help. I brought my knees up to my chest and began to tremble in fear. As tears started to form in my eyes, I saw your curious face from the other side of the fence.
Your hair was a couple inches shy of reaching your shoulders, curling upwards ever so slightly. It was brown, just like your eyes.
Without hesitation, you took hold of the fence and easily pulled yourself over it and sat down beside me. Your image was blurred, as my eyes were clouded with tears I refused to let fall while another watched.
"My name's Jin," you simply stated with an innocent smile on your face. "What's yours?"
I didn't answer, or rather, I couldn't. I had a huge knot in my throat from resisting the urge to cry. It was a wasted effort. You lifted your hand to my eye, watching as my tears fell onto your finger. That movement triggered it. I started to cry, tears pouring from my eyes as I tried to make them stop. They wouldn't stop, though. No matter what I tried, they just kept coming.
You took hold of my wrist and pulled my hand away from my eye. "Don't do that..." you spoke with a sullen expression. "Tears are pretty. They come from the heart. Let everything out, you'll feel better," you assured me with a line that sounded so practiced you had to have heard it from some motherly figure a number of times. "What are you doing out here?"
As if answering in response, the harsh voice of my mother came. She was calling for me again, asking where I was and ordering me to come back inside the house. This happened regularly, our little game of hide and seek.
I immediately shrunk back and covered my ears, but you reached out your hand and brought me up to my feet. There was a small walkway between the fence and the garage that you led me through.
"No, she's..." I tried to pull back, but you held my hand and wouldn't let me go.
You poked your head out from the side of the garage and saw my mother in a drunken stupor. She had finally snapped.
Her voice could pierce anything. I was fully convinced that had I been on the opposite side of the world, I would be able to hear her just as well as I could standing right beside her. She had one of those voices that made you quiver the second her lips parted, though it wasn’t always like that.
The memories are vague, but whenever I think of her, I want to portray her as the loving woman that she was, to preserve the kindness she emitted before her essence was shattered. I want to see her as the warm and caring figure that cradled me in her arms, waiting until I fell asleep when I couldn’t stop crying after a nightmare. I want to see her as the angel smiling down at me as she sung me to sleep. Yet, right now, there was no trace of that woman.
Not waiting to hear what she might say next, you tightened the grip you still had on my hand, turning as fast as you could to lead me back to my spot behind the garage. Apparently you forgot about my injured knee in the rush however, and I stumbled a bit in the narrow walkway.
It hurt, all the physical pain I had to endure. But it never hurt as much as the ache that seared in my heart. With every beat, I was reminded of the one who had given me this so-called heart. The heart, a symbol of love, yet whenever I felt it throb against my chest I was reminded of the hate. Sometimes I wished to myself that it would just stop beating and take the hate along with it.
"You were a mistake Kazuya," I heard her say. "My biggest mistake, my biggest regret."
I froze at hearing those words. It wasn't the usual ramble; she had never said that to me before. I wanted to run. Run as far as I was able to, run as far as my body would allow me to. But even now I was trapped. My stupid knee. Why couldn't I just ignore the pain? Too weak to even stand. I just wanted to fall, fall so far down that no one could find me. So far that I would disappear from sight. So far that I would be forgotten. I didn't choose to live.
You didn’t let me stay in that state of mind for long. My thoughts were interrupted when you quickly pulled me up from the ground and guided me toward the back of the yard, this time giving more attention to my knee. There was a gap where two sides of the fence should’ve met to form a corner. We easily slid through it, passing into your yard. I heard you mumble something about how you moved in next door a few days ago as you led me into your house through the backdoor. I was directed straight to your bathroom and seated on the toilet.
Apparently your father was worn out that day, sleeping on the couch. He used to always play with you until your mother came home from work, then he would leave to start his shift. Your mother always worked nights, and when she returned home would sleep until work again. Sometimes she would stay up with us; at times I wished she were my mother as well. She was so caring. You could see it in the way she held you when you welcomed her back home. It was the same caring trait that she passed on to you.
I silently watched you soak a hand towel in warm water. You began to wipe the dirt and blood away from some of the smaller cuts I had before bringing it to my bloodstained knee. When I twitched from the sudden contact, you immediately backed away with widened eyes.
"Did I hurt you?"
I shook my head. You seemed to sigh in relief, and I wondered why a complete stranger would even help a kid like me. You were just a kid back then, too. Seven years old. I was five. Wouldn't most kids run away at the sight of blood? Why didn't you? The warmth of your hand never left me.
I licked a cut on my bottom lip, the metallic taste lingering in my mouth that still bled from the abuse I endured earlier. The action didn't go unnoticed, and you brought the towel up to my lips, ridding them of the blood. As you pulled the towel away, you brought yourself closer and placed a quick, simple kiss over the cut. I just blinked, sitting perfectly still.
"Whenever I get cut," you explained, "my mommy kisses it to make it all better."
You were like that for a long time, naïve and ignorant. Your innocence made you virtually blameless for every situation you got yourself into. But that part of you amused me. Actions always spoke louder than words to you, and you always acted before you thought.
You continued cleaning away the dirt and blood. I watched, and moments later realized I wasn't crying anymore.
"Kazuya," you playfully called my name for the first time, as if testing the sound of it.
I lifted my gaze from the tiled bathroom floor to your warm brown eyes. Another smile. I somehow found it in me to return it. Maybe it was because I was as ignorant as you were back then. Because I thought everything would be okay again.
You never asked about that day.