Chapter 35:

The End of a Dream

Grace Dances Upon the Clouds

Haru leapt upward. Grace dove downward. Far from a gentle embrace, the two of them crashed into each other. The pain from it was a wake-up call, a realization that they both existed, here and now.

A girl – colorful but shattering at the seams.

A boy – gray but weathering the harshness of expectations.

Once they came together, it didn’t seem like any of that mattered. Haru held the pieces of Grace together. Grace nursed the weariness of Haru’s soul.

Their existences melted into each other. Color leaked back into the world. For a moment, everything was fine, a bliss that was unimaginably sweet between them.

But then, Haru’s hands trembled. Tears erupted from his eyes.

“Please, I don’t want you to go….”

“I have to. I know now that this isn’t where I belong.”

“Then, where?! What do you mean by that?! Aren’t you, aren’t you-”

A finger pressing on Haru’s lips quieted him. Grace shook her head.

“I just came to a realization. That’s all.”

Haru stared into Grace’s eyes. They did not show the fear from before. Only sadness from an eventual parting.

“What did you recall?” Haru finally asked.

Grace smiled, tender and bright. And then she said, “that I can now dream once again.”

Haru’s jaw hung for a moment, trying to understand what that meant. And then, it hit him.

Fairies can’t dream!

How Haru’s face shifted was everything Grace needed to know. She bent over and kissed him on the forehead. She wiped the tears from his face. She gave him one last hug. And then, she pushed him away.

Haru started to reach back, but several arms reached over and caught him. Looking over both shoulders, he saw several silhouettes. They were warm and familiar, ones that stood by his side.

A bard with a lute in one hand, blowing a kiss with the other.

A warrior hoisting a pair of bombs over his shoulder, flexing his stoutness for all to see.

And a magical maid with all smiles, tricks up her sleeve and surprises in store.

“You have quite the party following you. Rather full, wouldn’t you say?” Grace beamed, glad to see that he was no longer alone.

Haru looked down, finding himself in a hero’s garb, sword in hand, ready to start a different journey.

“You know that I’m too greedy to say yes to that, right?”

“Then, be greedy in other ways. You’re certainly capable of doing anything you put your mind to.”

“Will I ever see you again?”

“That, I can’t say.”

“I’ll stop touching grass if I have to.”

Grace giggled but turned away. She let out a sigh and turned back, tears running down her face.

“It was fun, Haru. It really was.”

And with that, her body started fading away. Like sparkles whenever she transformed, but this time into thin air. The legs that danced across the clouds, the arms that held him, the chest full of excitement, and the face he loved so much – gone before his eyes.

Haru watched until only her wings were left, falling to the ground. Without any hesitation, Haru dove forward, scooping them up midair. He spread them out, laughing at what he found.

“So these were fake all along…”

For some reason, he couldn’t stop laughing and crying at the same time. Even as he continued to fall, he cradled those wings against his chest. He would keep them safe in his dreams, if only as something to remember Grace by.

“Ah, this feels familiar…”

Just like the day we met.


Haru woke up with a stir. His face was smushed against something soft and moving. The sound of breathing caused him to look up at a face that was as endearing as a dream. Kasumi had fallen asleep, back against the wall, Haru’s head cradled against her.

The color of the sky told him it was dusk. He had been out for a while. But as soon as he got up, a hand went up to Kasumi’s sleepy eyes. And then, she shook in surprise.

“Ah! I fell asleep too!”

“Feels good, doesn’t it? To sleep,” Haru said.

“I take it that you’re feeling better?” Kasumi stroked his hair. “The rings around your eyes are gone now.”

“In some ways, yes.”

“Care to share the other bit?”

Haru stared at Kasumi’s face for a while. Enough to make her self-conscious. Almost enough to make her drop the question.

“My dream finally ended.”

Silence came over Kasumi. It took a minute for her to realize what he meant. A grin curled on her cheeks when she formed a guess.

“Does that mean I have you all to myself now?”

“Depends. Do you want me to dream about you?”

“Hmm… maybe not, now that I think of it. You’ll probably just think of perverted things.”

Haru popped up from her lap. He scrunched his face at her. “I’ll have you know that my dreams are all ages appropriate!”

Kasumi got up and playfully covered herself with the sheets.

“I’m rather skeptical what you consider to be appropriate. Examples or you’re lying through your teeth.”

Haru thought about it for a moment before an idea hit him.

“Would you dress up as a nurse for me? Maybe a fairy would do too….”

“I wonder if there’s something still wrong with your head.”

Kasumi zipped past him and darted for the door. Wondering if he said too much, Haru chased after her, down the stairs and out the front entrance. As he popped outside, Kasumi grabbed him by the neck, having hid to the side.

She brought her lips to his ear, kissed it, and said, “maybe if you try a little bit harder, then we’ll see.”

Haru pulled back to see her smiling face. There was only one thing he could say to that.

“I love you, Kasumi.”

“I-” Kasumi paused, surprising herself, but then, her smile returned. “Maybe after you spill everything.”

She danced on the pathway and into the street, looking back once to wave goodbye. With a sigh, Haru retreated inside, unable to follow since he was still in his pajamas. But before he did, he looked up once more at the sky, wondering if he’d see an umbrella fly by.

Ha! he thought with a smile.

A first love only struck once.
Taylor J
Dhamas Tri (dmz)
Mario Nakano 64
F.C Fondness
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