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here comes the sun

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You’re sixteen and grieving when Natsu bursts into your life, warm and open and full of toothy smiles. You hate him immediately. He’s energetic and loud and vulnerable, and you can see him through your bedroom window at night, playing his stupid guitar and singing along to dumb songs that nobody likes. When he waves to you, you close your blinds. You’re not letting him in. 

You don’t let anybody in. The summer days are long and lonely and you rarely leave your room. Ur tries to get you to come out, to talk with her, to get to know Lyon, but they’re not your family. She’s just the person your parents chose to deal with you if they died. And they did.  

Your room stays dark and your computer is on nearly all the time, and all you do is scroll through stupid memes that don’t make you laugh. When you feel like crying you pinch yourself or scratch your arms until you bleed. Ur asks about the marks and you tell her you don’t remember what happened. You can tell she doesn’t believe you.  

Here comes the sun 
Here comes the sun and I say 
It’s all right 

The new school sucks. Ur tries her best but she’s not your parents, not the mom you miss and miss until your heart feels like it’s going to break. You try to push those memories away, build up taller walls to keep out thoughts of snowball fights and baking cookies and going to the fair to eat too much cotton candy. It hurts too much. You’re tired of the pain. 

“You okay?” Natsu asks one day, after the kids in gym class tease you mercilessly and you decide fuck gym class and run away to your spot at the top of the ravine. Nobody comes here. There’s a fence you have to climb and a precarious ledge you have to maneuver, and then you’re at the peak of the ravine and you can see down, down, down nearly two hundred feet to the river.  

Sometimes you want to jump. Today is one of those days.  

“Fuck off,” you reply, inching closer to the edge and crouching down by the barrier. It would be easy to climb over, to spread your arms and leap. You wonder what it would feel like to glide down through the air, then crash into the hard dirt. You think your ribs would shatter, exploding through your chest, and your face would be scraped away by rocks and dirt. You imagine it would be a painful way to die.    

You wonder if your parents died in pain.  

“Why are you angry?” Natsu asks, sitting down beside you. His jeans are torn and his face is bruised and you tell yourself you don’t care why.   

“My parents died,” you say and the words come out by accident. You want to shove them back in, force them behind the wall where they can rot and fester and hurt nobody. “It doesn’t matter.”  

“Yes it does,” Natsu says.  

You sit in silence for a while. Natsu starts to hum a song you don’t recognize and at first you tell him to shut up, but he ignores you and eventually it becomes background noise to an afternoon that maybe isn’t that bad after all.  

When the sun starts to set and you finally leave, you offer him your hand to help him over the fence. His fingers are warm and he squeezes yours before darting off toward home.  

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces 
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here 

“You’re smiling,” Ur remarks, and you immediately scowl at her, grabbing a granola bar from the counter and heading for the front door. You pretend not to hear when she adds, “Your mom would be happy to see you smile.”  

You meet Natsu at the end of the driveway and he grins at you, then heads toward the school. This has become a routine – entirely by accident, you maintain. He’s just so obnoxious that you can’t be bothered to make him leave you alone. Right?  

He talks and talks and talks and sometimes you wonder how he has the energy to make all these words. When you try to respond the syllables get stuck in your throat and you end up shrugging or shaking your head. Natsu seems to know what you mean, though. You’re not sure how he does that.  

Somehow you end up eating lunch together every day. Not in the cafeteria because fuck everyone else in this high school, but on the lawn by the football field where you can stretch out and warm yourself in the sun.  

Sometimes you do homework together – Natsu’s terrible at reading so one day you start reading out loud and the words flow and flow and eventually it becomes a thing. At first it’s just textbooks but then one day he brings you a novel you’ve never heard of and gives you a look, and you shrug and start reading like it’s a perfectly normal thing to do with someone you just hang out with occasionally.  

You still can’t talk outside of books, but it doesn’t seem to matter.  

Here comes the sun 
Here comes the sun, and I say 
It’s all right 

Somewhere along the way Natsu becomes your friend. You smile around him and he teases you about it for days, but you don’t really mind. When you go to bed at night some of the thoughts of your parents are replaced by pink hair and goofy grins and freckles.  

It hits you one day that you haven’t thought about dying in a long time. You tell Natsu over lunch and he gives you a look that you can’t quite discern. Then he reaches out and hugs you and you melt into it like this is what you’ve needed all along. He doesn't say anything when his shirt has a damp patch on it after the embrace.  

When you get home and look at the calendar, you realize it’s been a year since they died.  

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting 
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear 

You invite Natsu over for a movie one night and Lyon looks at you like you’ve grown two heads but you tell him to mind his own business. You can talk to him now, and the words don’t stick as badly.   

Natsu picks the movie but you aren’t really watching it. All you can focus on is the heat of his arm against yours and the way he leans into you when something particularly funny happens. He laughs with his whole body, head thrown back, nose wrinkled, and suddenly you can’t help it. You grab his hand in yours and he turns to you and his eyes are wide, and then he smiles that wide smile that you’ve come to love and leans in and kisses you.  

It’s the first time you’ve been kissed and it’s overwhelming, the sensations running through your stomach and making your fingers tingle. Then your fingers are in his hair and his hands are on your hips and everything is sparks and fire and soft sounds against each other’s skin.  

Here comes the sun 
Here comes the sun and I say 
It’s all right 
It’s all right 

It always hurts. You miss them every day and sometimes it hits you out of nowhere and you cry and cry until you can’t breathe. But the sharpness is dulled, the anger is tempered, and you smile more easily now. Natsu is the sun and he burns through the darkness, pushing it away and kissing you until you can’t think of anything else.  

It still hurts.  

But it’s finally all right.