Chapter 1:

The Flowers Are No Longer in Bloom - Part Two

My Fantasy is Just a Mirror

Two cognized eyes opened themselves against their lethargy, slowly breathing life into a lifeless form.Bookmark here

He gradually came to, unsure what was real and what wasn’t. He wasn’t sure of anything. Returning from such strong emotions…Bookmark here

Only then did he realize he had been dreaming.Bookmark here

—Or, rather, had been in some type of dreamlike state.Bookmark here

Everything had been so vivid. Everything had felt so real. To call that just a dream… It didn’t feel right.Bookmark here

All of those emotions, all of those experiences—were all things he had felt before, lived through before.Bookmark here

So now, lying half awake on a comfortable surface, bundled tightly in cool beddings, his subconscious eyes slowly coursed around the room.Bookmark here

That figure, a disillusioned boy nineteen years of age, thoughtlessly sat up against the force of his lethargy.Bookmark here

After a period of time had passed, his mind picked up where it left off before the inevitable collapse of his Abyss. His inner voice showed a semblance of concern, having escaped from his own torpor.Bookmark here

I need fresh air…Bookmark here

A collage of thoughts seemed to follow in tandem, ranging from intrusive to ambiguously intrusive. Bookmark here

You have to remember.Bookmark here

How can you keep going if you don’t?Bookmark here

If you don’t remember, you’re making her hurt alone.Bookmark here

If you don’t remember for her, who will?Bookmark here

If you don’t remember…Bookmark here

That’s right… In that dreamlike state, he had forced himself to forget about everything, the world, and life itself.Bookmark here

But deep down he knew—he wasn’t allowed to do that.Bookmark here

Shut up…Bookmark here

His hand pulled at the prussian-blue hair at the back of his head, stretching his arm against the pull at his scalp. That sudden pull had even cracked his neck, and feeling the rush of pliability it had added to it, his mind awoke itself against the languor, and following blindly the first thought he had after kindling his consciousness, he rolled himself out of bed, catching himself on two socked feet. Bookmark here

He took a couple haphazard steps away from his bed, until his previously attentive mind collapsed into a blurry and dizzy haziness…Bookmark here

That girl fluttered in and out of his mind…Bookmark here

Wilting and rotten flowers fluttered in and out as well…Bookmark here

Followed by flashes of his own smile…Bookmark here

A field of chalky ash…Bookmark here

And a red ribbon that seemingly connected the two silhouettes.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Hearing a loud thud, he forced himself out of those thoughts as his half-asleep mind screamed at him.Bookmark here

Where was he again?Bookmark here

He groaned against the sudden force, putting extra pressure against his slipping feet to support his falling body, as well as his falling mind.Bookmark here

Careful, Cobalt… Think. Think. Think. Don’t faint again. Don’t lose consciousness. Keep thinking, thinking, thinking…Bookmark here

The previously self-referred “it” Cobalt Aspire maintained control of his slipping feet, prostrating himself up against the wall, slowly, regaining his vision.Bookmark here

He may have almost collapsed, falling unconsciously into the wall, but in terms of his ongoing war with hypotension, he got lucky enough to win this battle.Bookmark here

The room was dark and nearly soundless, save the continuous humming of appliances. Bookmark here

Seeking the sole source of light in his room, he turned around to face a digital clock he kept facing the wall. 22:35. A walk this late would be pointless, but nevertheless, he pushed onwards. Shuffling his feet awkwardly to avoid stumbling again, he kicked a few pieces of trash before his hand reached out for the doorknob.Bookmark here

His footsteps slowed, and reaching for the door he took a deep breath before shoving his racing mind as far down as he could, enjoying the split second of silence that granted him before he opened the door.Bookmark here

Maybe he was just being dramatic.Bookmark here

Maybe he was just forcing himself to give up hope. Bookmark here

Maybe it was the only way to feel genuine after what happened.Bookmark here

Or maybe Bismuth would laugh at him.Bookmark here

With that name escaping his thoughts, he winced while opening the door. His face showed genuine pain as he exited his room for the first time in several days. The lights on the floor were surprisingly bright, beaming parallel to the nearly endless claustrophobic unpigmented halls, which churlishly screamed at him the undeniable message that he wasn’t welcome within them. Bookmark here

His eyes were sunken in and drowsy, peering hopelessly into the one simple exercise he had tasked himself with. His mind had told him “I need fresh air…”, but he knew well that that was a wish wasted on these halls.Bookmark here

In other words, no matter where his autonomous feet took him, there was no where left to turn that would deliver to him that wish.Bookmark here

Blindly seeking the next best thing, his feet moved one after another, catching themselves on the metal flooring as he went. They drug and nearly clung to the floor in resistance. But still, he moved them. Bookmark here

It was impossible not to feel like herded cattle. The walls around him were a constant prison - one which inexorably confined him within them. Bookmark here

So what now? Was he just herding himself? Without anyone else to make him feel like he was stuck in hell, was he now the one keeping himself contained?Bookmark here

All these constant questions made his head throb. Bookmark here

Truthfully, that was why he’d rather be in that Abyss.Bookmark here

That Abyss made him forget all about the questions he doesn’t have answers to.Bookmark here

Now, absent of that comforting dark presence around his shoulders, he just felt defeated and pathetic. Walking these mundane hueless halls at 10:30 at night… Was this how he was supposed to overcome himself? Was this how he was supposed to feel okay again? A trivial nighttime stroll in the place that took everything from him? How was he ever supposed to—Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

His socked foot dragged against the floor and stopped on a dime. Maybe it was his feet that processed it first, but as his eyes felt the weight of the image they held, they too stopped all contact with his brain, opening wide against seeing a familiar silhouette he saw turning the corner.Bookmark here

A far, far too familiar shape.Bookmark here

He had no idea how to process it at first. The beating of his heart blew through his own ears, and every part of his shaking body had an entirely different reaction to that sensation…Bookmark here

Heating, trembling, fearing…Bookmark here

Those words could come the closest to describing his body’s detrimental reactions, which ignited all parts of himself into an otherworldly warmness - an unwelcomed flame.Bookmark here

But as his ears affirmed what his eyes had seen, what his feet had stopped for, and what his heart beated for, it all clicked into his mind.Bookmark here

Hearing those quiet subtle footsteps approach him from the other side, and seeing those multiple pigments come into view, all he could think was…Bookmark here

Why… Bookmark here

The pain of seeing something you’ve lost. Hearing something you’ve lost. Feeling the weight of your own powerlessness face to face with what you’ve caused.Bookmark here

She seemed so close, but Cobalt knew…Bookmark here

That it was far, far too late to go back.Bookmark here

She was already too far.Bookmark here

No matter how fast he ran, or how hard he yelled, his words would never reach her again.Bookmark here

Those sentiments he wished to share echoed tormentingly through his clouded mind, having no where else to go. Bookmark here

Even his own feet could no longer support his body, and as that all slipped away from him, so did he, barely catching himself against the wall.Bookmark here

HypotensionBookmark here

Was that all it was?Bookmark here

No…Bookmark here

This felt like more than that.Bookmark here

It hurt so much more.Bookmark here

As if the scene plaguing him had been selected personally.Bookmark here

And feeling that torment, his thoughts had no where left to go.Bookmark here

Even his feet trembled under the weight of those thoughts.Bookmark here

Every part of him pathetically shook in place.Bookmark here

All the doubt… All the hatred…Bookmark here

Slowly, yet racing, sporadic, and almost deranged, the words repeated.Bookmark here

Why… Why… Why…?!Bookmark here

Were the words he wanted to scream to her.Bookmark here

But seeing the two eyes in front of him—Bookmark here

No—rather, forcing himself away from them.Bookmark here

All of those pigments and hues were gone.Bookmark here

All of the colors were melted away from her irises.Bookmark here

Not even cognition in her pupils could be recognized…Bookmark here

Not a thought - not an action.Bookmark here

He was slipping. He was falling. Just like in that dream, he couldn’t hold his feet on solid ground.Bookmark here

He blinked, but the image remained.Bookmark here

He winced away, forcing his eyelids shut, but the monochrome of lifeless eyes were already burned into them…Bookmark here

The world was spiraling away from him now. However, passing right before the slipping boy, the girl felt nothing.Bookmark here

No smile, nor frown.Bookmark here

No look of tension in her eyes nor brows…Bookmark here

Nothing which could possibly mirror the strained and extremely painful expression Cobalt wore.Bookmark here

Why… Why… Whywhywhywhy-?!Bookmark here

His throat was clammed up.Bookmark here

And the words he wished to scream couldn’t even form themselves on his quaking tongue.Bookmark here

Feeling a wave of darkness settle around him, the passing party disappeared from his peripherals…Bookmark here

However, the colorless hues that accompanied her, couldn’t leave his sight so easily…Bookmark here

Was this the Abyss he loved…?Bookmark here

No… This overwhelming pain shared no love for him.Bookmark here

After all the propping himself up he had done. After all the confidence he had falsely tried to instill in himself just to do a simple chore like this. After all of that preparation and hope… He completely failed to even utter a coherent thought.Bookmark here

He was a failure, in absolutely every single way…Bookmark here

Completely pathetic.Bookmark here

From her eyes, which distanced themselves from him. Her eyes which saw right past him as if he wasn’t even there. Those eyes… Once more beautiful than even her hair. Once more beautiful than the entire world. Once sparkling with every single color imaginable, reflecting his own dumb smile into them like a mirror. He had seen himself in those eyes. But more than that - he had seen his entire world within them… Bookmark here

And those eyes… Now dripping like a wet canvas sullied in grey. Two opaque marbles whose cloudy expressions reflected their own despair. Did those eyes wish to be kept alive? Or did those eyes not have a choice anymore? Those eyes…Bookmark here

『Those eyes…』Bookmark here

* * * * * * * *Bookmark here

Her hair shined in every single color of the rainbow. It was remarkable—truly. In seeing these locks in his past, spiraling from blue to violet to pink to gold in a beautiful display of twisting pigtails which fell past her shoulders, it was the purest showcase imaginable of beauty and innocence. He could still remember them blowing in the wind. He could still remember the field. Her beautiful white dress. The cloudless sky. Her smile.Bookmark here

Her eyes…Bookmark here

Catching his own, she smiled to him, putting a hand against her summer hat to keep it from blowing away. She beamed before tilting her head towards him, moving her lips.Bookmark here

██████████Bookmark here

No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t understand her. Her lips moved, but what they said was…Bookmark here

██████████Bookmark here

He felt the stings of reality lash out at him, digging into his back and beckoning him to return. Return to the world whose doomed path was caused by none other than himself. But he fought against it.Bookmark here

Fought against the world that he was born into.Bookmark here

Fought against assimilation and subjugation.Bookmark here

Fought against his past, present, and future.Bookmark here

Fought against the memories he never got to have.Bookmark here

And against the memories he’ll never get to have after what he’s done.Bookmark here

I know you feel it too, Bismuth.Bookmark here

This world… This awful, awful world that kept us caged in like rats.Bookmark here

I know you want to break free.Bookmark here

I know you want to love this world.Bookmark here

I know you don’t want to fight this war.Bookmark here

And I know you never want to be alone again… Bookmark here

I know all of that… But why…Bookmark here

Hey, Cobalt…Bookmark here

『Let’s… Run away together… Okay?』Bookmark here

* * * * * * * *Bookmark here

The stings of an inescapable truth had brought him to his knees. He couldn’t let her see him cry, and he had almost failed at that, too…Bookmark here

If those eyes had noticed him… Those eyes which saw past him as if his distanced and shaky silhouette just simply faded into the black and white canvas behind him… If they had seen his own eyes now…Bookmark here

He wished that they could.Bookmark here

He wished that they could recognize him now.Bookmark here

And for her own dried lips to finally expose him for the coward and fraud he was.Bookmark here

Why… Bookmark here

Was all he could think.Bookmark here

Those wet terrified eyes which streamed themselves with tears had just as much coherence to the ones which had walked right past him.Bookmark here

He didn’t know who to hate.Bookmark here

He didn’t know who to fear.Bookmark here

He didn’t know who to blame.Bookmark here

Who…?Bookmark here

Who could be blamed for imposing that suffering onto the two…?Bookmark here

And as he writhed on the floor of that filthy place which he despised…Bookmark here

Wishing for nothing, nothing else in the entire world, than to be able to leave…Bookmark here

Wishing with everything he had, to be anywhere—Anywhere else… Anywhere else… Anywhere else...Bookmark here

He realized the answer, to all of his questions.Bookmark here

Oh right.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

『That would be me..』Bookmark here

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