Red is the Color of You
In the meantime, Wraith was in an alleyway with Neio fighting off spirits as Izumi had suspected. It didn’t take much effort and really didn’t require both of them to do but it killed time and that’s all that really mattered. Afterall, they usually spent their days loitering around, drinking and eating, just waiting for something to happen. So, Wraith was a little excited when the stone called him, although simultaneously a little worried and then disappointed that Izumi chose Lavina over him. Sighing, he shoved the phone back in his pocket as Neio loudly stomped over.
The big blue orc wiped the blood off his scimitars and onto the nearby cadavers. “So? How is the little boss?”
“Alright I guess, said he was gonna ask Lavina for help.” Wraith was equally covered in blood so he was a little grateful Izumi didn’t ask him to come. Despite the fact that he could always get rid of the blood with magic, it still gave him a gritty feeling and the stench still lingered. Shortly after the call ended, Dahlia and Faelan arrived, having finished on their end as well.
Dahlia, being the most perceptive of the three, noticed something was off immediately. “Are you alright Wraith?”
The specter’s contrasting eyes jumped then settled with an uncertain knead. “Just...have something on my mind.”
Glances exchanged between the spirits who turmoiled on whether to pry, their deep care for their leader ultimately taking over.
Faelan was the first to speak albeit in a low and hesitant tone. “...What is it?”
“The only thing that really has ever been on my mind lately. More like person.” Wraith’s sigh was solemn and confused, the same reflecting in the nervous scratching of his nape.
“Did something happen?” Neio rubbed his bloody hands on his clothes and sheathed his weapons. “When you went out the other day I mean.”
As much as Wraith wanted to smoke, he couldn't bring himself to do so. Maybe he was too anxious. “Not really, it's just…” Mumbling a curse to himself, Wraith tried to affirm the certainty of his thoughts before releasing them. “I…I think I um…I…more that I know I guess…that I…fell for him…It’s a little embarrassing to say out loud but….hahhh…that’s what it is! And here I am trying to get my mind off of things because I don’t know if I want to see him or not. On one end I’m dying to see him despite just doing so just yesterday and on the other I have no idea what to say to him. I don’t feel like I can act like myself because I’ll just be getting all mushy about every little thing.”
They were a little surprised, to say the least. More than anything though they somewhat expected this to occur eventually, although they didn’t really prepare a proper reaction.
Faelan was the first to ask what was on their minds, “Are you…going to tell him?”
“I mean I have to don’t I? I just don’t know when. It feels like just yesterday I wrote it off as just liking him a bit, but…ugh….I’ll see how it goes I suppose. I work better on instinct so I’ll just hope it works out for me.” Wraith weakly smiled but his words spoke true. His most trusted allies wished they could help, though deep down, they knew it was better to leave things in Wraith’s hands.
By the end of the day Izumi had returned home, ready to collapse onto his bed and sink into tomorrow. He was a little partially glad that Wraith had let Lavina take over for him, since he most definitely wouldn’t have let him talk to Vahan, or it would’ve taken a hefty amount of convincing. The two still kept in touch, on the other hand. It was a little funny watching Wraith get used to how phones work, unsure about certain abbreviations in texts and the like. Occasionally they sent each other pictures of where they were, Izumi usually at work or home while Wraith seemed to always be up and about typically on top of roofs. This only lasted a little over a week though, as it didn’t take long for Wraith to realize the value in physical interactions. The one time Izumi forgot to put his phone on silent before going to bed, it buzzed on his nightstand nearly to the point of falling to the floor.
Without even looking at the contact name, he answered with a groan and nearly inaudible words. “...Hello..?”
“Were you sleeping?”
Instantly recognizing the voice, Izumi quickly propped himself up and rubbed the sleep away. “It’s three in the morning so yes, I was. It’s alright though, did you need something?”
A low, raspy breath paused and he could almost feel the air warm his ear.
“I just wanted to hear your voice.”
An eternal silence filled the gap after. Even so, it wasn’t uncomfortable, nor awkward. Rather, the silence was one of a mutual understanding.
“....You mind if I sleep over?” Wraith wanted to say that he remembered how lonely the large bed could be yet refrained.
“No, not at all. I have work in the morning though so we can’t go out.”
Before he knew it, Izumi heard a knock on the door. Thinking to himself that it took no time at all to arrive, he leapt out of bed to let him in. The moonlight amplified the soft glow of his yearning eyes. There was a strong urge in his heart to pet the specter and it took everything Izumi had to quell it.
“I told you I’d use the front door next time.”
“I suppose you can break habits as well. I’d talk but I kind of wanna get back to my bed so…” Izumi gestured for him to come in and he obliged, leaving his shoes at the entryway.
It had been awhile since Izumi saw the red robe in its natural appearance. Lately, Wraith had it in more casual forms, like a blazer or jacket. The robe extended to the floor when draped across Izumi’s small office chair. Weirdly enough Wraith seemed like he was more exhausted than Izumi was–his mind occupied. If it wasn’t so late at night he’d ask what was bothering him, but it was a conversation that would have to wait. They both nearly immediately were under the covers once more, Wraith’s face buried into his chest. This was the first time that they slept in this position. Usually it was the reverse. Anyone who saw Wraith now wouldn’t believe that he was the same supposedly morbid killer whose name alone would invoke fear in the hearts of others. In Izumi’s arms he seemed so harmless, so gentle, so delicate. No one could tell that he wasn’t human like this. That he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or maybe…that’s how he really was. His inability to express himself was genuine and anything he did express was heartfelt. The months he spent with Wraith somehow cleared misconceptions he’s had and only deepened the mystery. At the same time, Izumi slowly started not to think much about it. As much as he loved to learn more about Wraith, he’d grow out of his shell at his own rate and Izumi was in no rush.
Kanae was thoroughly surprised to see Wraith descend the stairs with her son in the morning and she nearly offered him breakfast as well before remembering he doesn't eat, so she prepared a drink instead. Lala always seemed to enjoy Wraith's company, consistently getting incredibly excited to see him. He pointed this to Wraith's ability to communicate with animals, but Wraith said that Lala actually didn't talk at all and her emotions displayed one-to-one with her actions. In reality, Wraith just loved dogs and they all seemed to love him. After breakfast Wraith walked Izumi to work and strangely enough walked him after the fact as well, even staying the night again. This pattern ended up recurring for the next month: Wraith would walk Izumi to and from work and even spend the night in the same position. Since he began to essentially live with Izumi and his mother during that month, Kanae also started to grow fond of Wraith as she believed him to have a charming and vibrant personality–mainly it was because he helped with housework. On their days off the couple went to pretty simple date spots to hang out. A park, cafe, beach, others as well and sometimes they'd just stay home. Izumi had asked what was wrong after a few days, though Wraith only said he was bored and just wanted to hang out. This didn't reflect in his actions though. Not even once did he make an advance on Izumi aside from a light kiss, cuddle, or holding hands. And everytime time that Izumi attempted instead, Wraith pushed him away with the sentiment that he wasn't feeling it. It didn't seem like that was the case. Whatever was on Wraith's mind was evidently eating him alive and it started to get under Izumi’s skin that he was so closed off. Wraith was right there, with him every day, and yet still seemed so far away.
The month ended with Kanae’s temporary departure for only a few days based on the premise of work. With Kanae and Lala out of the house, it would've been the perfect time for the couple to have some to themselves. To Izumi's dismay the usual posse was there with them, minus Faelan who couldn't fit in the house due to his height. His patience running thin, Izumi dragged Lavina to his room to talk.
“Did you try asking why he won’t touch you?” As badly as Lavina wanted to, she didn’t smoke considering she could tell that no one in his family did and it’d therefore stink up their house.
“I did but he just gave some weird excuse about not wanting to but he’d get really flustered..? Like it was his first time or something.”
“Oh.” Is what she responded with, but her face had dropped and she knew the exact meaning and cause of the problem from that alone. She was inherently a Wraith-Encyclopedia with all the years she spent with him, both in and out of their relationship. Disclosing this information though would be putting her business where she shouldn’t. “I’ve got an idea and you’re either gonna like it or hate it.”
A pair of footsteps descended the stairs and Wraith noticed Neio’s cartoonish shock before he saw the cause. Lavina was wearing more casual clothing and Izumi was in a dress albeit casual as well.
The moment Wraith opened his mouth to ask, Izumi interrupted his inhale. “We’re going out, I’ll be back later.”
Mouth dropped wide, Wraith wasn’t sure where to direct his question first. The attire or the intention and his body had to unconsciously choose for him.“Wheerree…?”
“Yea I uh got that but–”
Without another exchange the pair left, leaving the three with no more information than they already started with.
Time seemed to pass in slow motion as minutes turned into hours with Izumi and Lavina still absent. During this time Wraith’s anxieties grew to its peak. Of all people to be with, Lavina was the worst choice. Truthfully he would’ve preferred if he went out with Eiji even because there was nothing Eiji could do. Lavina though? She had her way with words and always had these insane ideas. Worst of all Lavina could easily tip their relationship one way or the other, although he knew she wouldn’t do anything to impede it. Just as easily though she could do something with the prospect to help that Wraith won’t particularly like. He couldn’t do anything now so it was pointless to dwell on it any longer. The two came back around sunset, a few shopping bags in hand. Izumi never told Wraith where they went or what they bought and he didn’t really pry either, since he didn’t really know if he wanted to know or not. They went out again the day Izumi’s mom was supposed to come home and he eventually learned the inevitable idea that Lavina force fed into his once innocent partner’s mind.
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