The world was wrong! His own existence was wrong!
It had to be. How else could he explain how such a great poet as Saisei would come into his life, only to then turn his back on the world of poetry they’d both loved and put his talent for writing and prowess with words to use for novels instead?
Ah, that’s not right.
He knows that now.
Saisei had come to tell him so himself.
“You really are selfish. That’s just like you though.”
Sakutarou’s head was swimming.
In the movie theater of his mind, one by one his memories of the past were replaying (discovering his love for poetry, befriending up and coming poets through letters, walks around his hometown of Maebashi with someone who he’d had the worst first impression of that he’d quickly come to hold so dear), jumbled up with memories of his time inside Howling At The Moon (the all-consuming feeling of loneliness and despair, a sharp-eyed bird who promised to help him with his wish, pointing a gun at his old friends to accomplish that end).
“Ughhhh.” Sakutarou groaned as he opened his eyes. He didn’t recognize the room he was in. The white sheets and fluffy pillow of the bed he was laying in were as completely unfamiliar to him as the faint smell of antiseptic in the air.
Slowly, he turned his head to see more of the room. And there, beside the bed, he found Saisei fast asleep in a chair.
“Sai....” Sakutarou didn’t have time to dwell on it earlier, but now that he’s able to take a good look he can’t help thinking it’s quite strange.... Saisei’s current appearance and style of clothing are very different from the Saisei he’d known in life - in fact, it seems the only thing that had remained unchanged was his short stature. Yet, when the burnet had appeared behind Akutagawa inside his collection of poems, Sakutarou’s heart had known exactly who he was.
Tears welled up in Sakutarou’s eyes as he recalled all that had happened and soon turned into a full on sob.
Saisei stirred at the noise, lifting his head up from where it had been resting on the back of the chair to glance over in its direction. “Saku. You’re finally up.”
“Sai..... Sai! I’m so sorry! I really made a mess of things,” Sakutarou sobbed.
“Hey, c’mon now, it’s alright,” Saisei said in the firm yet gentle tone he often used when Sakutarou was having a moment. “It’s over now, your works are safe and so are you. There’s no need to cry.”
Sakutarou hiccuped and clumsily wiped at the tears streaming down his face. That’s right, he finally wasn’t alone anymore, with only taints and memories to keep him and his sorrow company. He was with the very person he’d wished so badly to meet again, even as he tried so hard to erase the very thing that brought them together in the first place.
Tears of regret and shame turned into tears of relief and just wouldn’t stop.
Saisei gave an exasperated smile as he stood up and walked over to the side of the bed. The poet-turned-novelist brought his lifelong companion into his arms once more. “I’m happy to see you again Saku,” Saisei said, pressing a kiss to the top of his head.
Saisei’s warmth had a calming effect on Sakutarou. He clung to the smaller man, resting his head on his shoulder as his tears dried.
And so the two stayed like that for a good while, holding each other in comfortable silence.
The exhaustion that comes with a sudden return to physical existence inevitably caught up with Sakutarou and he let out a yawn.
“Guess I should let you finish resting huh? You must be tired,” Saisei said with a chuckle. “I heard from Akutagawa you put up quite the fight before I got there.”
Disappointment was written all over Sakutarou’s face as the brunet let go. He reached out to grab Saisei’s hand, hurriedly tugging it before he could turn to move away. “No...! Don’t leave me alone. Please.”
He half-expected to be chided for his desperate plea for attention, but the look in Saisei’s eyes was far too fond to suggest that he begrudged the poet for his selfish wish.
“Oh well, looks like there’s no helping it. Scoot over.”
It was cramped.
The infirmary beds clearly weren’t designed to hold more than one person in them at a time, but they made it work as best they could.
Sakutarou was generally used to being the one to try to cling and hold onto others in an attempt to feel secure. But being in Saisei‘s arms, feeling the steady weight of Saisei’s head against the crook of his neck and the warmth from his hand intertwined with Sakutarou’s own over his chest brought with it its own sense of safety.
“Thank you, Sai. For coming to me.”
“Of course I did. You were calling me.”
Sakutarou closed his eyes with a small smile. He was glad that Saisei had come to stop him, that somewhere deep down inside he’d known what it was that he really wanted to make happen through attempting to destroy his literary legacy.
And now, as they lay here together, Sakutarou knew that their place in each other’s hearts still remained as unchanging as their love and respect for each other’s poetry. He was reminded of one particular poem from long ago and, as he drifted off to sleep, the words flowed from memory to his lips with practiced ease.
“You know of the kind of sincerity which is sought but not found,” he began.
(I love you.)
“It’s as you say, we are two souls one body,” his other half finished.
(I love you too.)
It was as simple as that.