Chapter 48:


Red is the Color of You

     They made their way back to his room without incident and Izumi couldn’t tell if it was fortune smiling upon them or if Wraith had done some measures via magic to prevent it and quite frankly he believed himself to be better off not knowing. Either case would upset him in their own right. For a second they almost continued on return but he stopped Wraith, the big question still irritating him. So now, they were both sitting on the bed facing each other at a distance. At this point, Wraith was in his normal human appearance one again, likely due to the stimulant's effects wearing off.

“What is it..?” A little worried that he went overboard, his hairs stood on edge.

“Why…did you..” Izumi wasn’t even sure where to start, so he tried again, knowing full well it would diminish the mood but it bothered him too greatly.. “...why did you avoid me..? Why did you refuse to do anything even remotely close to sex before..? Why did you stay over for so long but kept your distance? Why…-?”

The words scraped his throat as they left. Conversations like this weren’t his expertise and he hated being confrontational but when there’s a problem in a relationship the best thing to do was to confront it head on rather than let it fester and worsen. Despite his lack of experience, he at least knew this.

“I started to think that maybe you just didn’t like my body or something-..”

“No!” Immediately Wraith perished the thought. “I would never I-...I still like you, your body I-”

“Then what?! I-”

“Izumi.” The moon seemed to be shining brighter that night as it peered through the open blinds and sparkled Wraith’s skin. Even though he no longer felt the effects of the stimulant, the sweat from his fever still lingered. Izumi couldn’t remember the last time he was afraid of Wraith’s once terrifying glow in his eyes. It felt so long ago, especially now that he could only see sincerity reflected in them. So, he gave Wraith a chance to speak.

If Izumi’s nervous tick was grabbing his clothes, Wraith’s seemed to be scratching the nape of his neck or fiddling with his hair in some way as he did a variety of both as he spoke. “I…honestly...I…didn’t know…” Wraith had never been so anxious in all his life and the heartbeat that rang in his ears just made him choke as he spoke more. It felt suffocating. But, it would feel more suffocating if he didn’t get them out. Like when trying to fit something large through a tight space, getting it in wasn’t a problem. Then came pushing it through. Eventually, it would pop out. One just had to push it past that point. “I stayed at your house because I wanted to talk to you. I…needed–need to tell you something. I just…couldn’t figure out the right time. I never knew that words could feel so….so important and I couldn’t figure out how to go about it and I couldn’t bring myself to just say it to just….” Pauses for a breath were littered throughout his speech and Wraith struggled to meet his eyes with Izumi’s. “I…couldn’t touch…you…because it…reminded me of the hotel…when I realized what I’m trying to tell you and…I….I couldn’t handle it. It’s…better I just get it out…I realize that.” From his cheeks to his ears a soft red was dyed though the burn reached every inch of his body. He knew it wasn’t the aphrodisiac still lingering. It was his nerves. And now, he made sure his eye contact was firm. “Izumi I....” Finally, it burst. “Izumi I love you. I love you, your laugh, your smile, your hair, your eyes, your touch, your voice, anything that’s you I love. I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone and I don’t know if that’s an achievement or not because I only really liked one person before and I don’t even love myself despite my massive ego but I love you. When I saw you in the hotel room that day, something just clicked in my head. For whatever reason at that moment I knew that I fell for you but I feel like it’s been longer than that honestly, maybe even back in Hodaira I felt that way and just didn’t realize it. Or maybe I did and just pretended like I couldn’t. When I confessed to you originally I thought it felt right but then I started to feel tight, saying that I only liked you didn’t fit. Neither did saying I like you a lot. But…I know now that I love you and just couldn’t figure out how to say it. I thought maybe I needed to be theatrical but I didn’t know how and I didn’t know if it was that big of a deal or not because…because I know you love me too.”

During the entirety of his second confession Izumi had remained still and quiet as though if he made the slightest noise or inch that he’d shatter. He wanted to ask how but couldn’t bring himself to interrupt.

“I don’t even feel like I deserve your love or I have a right to love you with all the things I’ve done, with you not any better. I feel…so so guilty but….at the party that night when everyone had left you told me and it’s all my fault. If…someone knows how they can read someone’s soul and the easiest way is in their eyes and…as I was holding you I just felt the words slip and I tried to take them back but by the time I did you told me and I couldn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to know I didn’t want you to treat me differently or for things to get awkward because of it so I tried to forget about it but I’m sorry and I’m-begging you to stay with me. I love you so much that it hurts and I feel crazy for saying it but I feel like I’d lose my mind if I didn’t have you but I knew that you were out there so please-”

Unable to bear his self-deprecation any longer, Izumi recovered his lost speech. Though, he didn't focus on the actual weight of the confession. It would likely hit him at a later date, but for now his mind was preoccupied with the need to console his partner. “Wraith, it’s alright.” He pulled him into a hug, petting his wavy hair. Against his chest Izumi felt Wraith’s blaring beat and it quickened before starting to slow. “Who said anything about leaving you? You said it yourself, I love you. I’d have been more upset if you never told me and let me say it again under the impression it was the first time. So, don’t beat on yourself so much.”

Now forehead to forehead, Izumi held Wraith’s burning cheek in his palm, Wraith’s hand over his own. He thought he was mistaken, maybe just being sweat, but he could feel it clearly now. A tear, albeit only a single, had streamed down his face from his sapphire eye. Izumi smeared the line until it faded.

Almost in a whimper, Wraith’s voice quivered. “Can…can I say I love you…?”

Izumi nearly laughed at the strange request. Although a little funny, it was a little sad watching him walk on eggshells when he didn’t have to. “You didn’t ask me before, so why are you asking me now?”

Not really knowing why he asked either, Wraith merely burrowed his face further into Izumi’s delicate hold. “Then…I love you, Izumi.”

Replacing his laugh with a tender smile, he replied, “I love you too, Wraith.”