As Zephyr slept, nightmares haunted her dreams. Dreams of her seeing her family members in the distance, but no matter how far she ran, never getting to them. Dreams of Hiruma disappearing. She tossed and turned restlessly all night.
When she awoke, faint light illuminated the room. She found her cheeks wet with tears from her nightmares. Pushing away her blankets, Zephyr stretched, stood up, and headed for the door. She still felt sleepy, but at least her strength was back. As she entered the living room, she asked timidly, "Hello? Anyone up?"
"Zeph! You're awake." Hiruma had only recently been able to repossess Truth's human form again. He held up a bowl of rice and milk. "Did you want breakfast? You look starved."
Zephyr smiled. "Breakfast sounds fantastic." She said, running over and sitting down next to him. "How are you feeling this morning? You going to be ok?"
He smiled. "I've felt better. But I'll tough it out. What about you? Are you going to be okay?" He looked at her worriedly, remembering how distraught she had been the day before. He clenched his hands into fists in his lap. "Zephyr...you-you could go back home. You don't have to go through all of this."
She picked up a bowl of rice and a pair of chopsticks off of the table next to her, and began to push the rice around the bowl. "_______..... I don't have a home to go home to. It would just be me alone again." Lifting her head up, she stared into Hiruma's eyes. "You're everything I have. I'm never going to leave you."
He'd wanted to hear her say it. Just once, so that the guilt wouldn't drown him. He knew it was selfish, but he couldn't help it. "One day..." he said softly. "After we break this curse, I'll take you back to Earth. You'll have a home again." He promised.
"No." She said, shaking her head. "Not back to Earth. There's nothing good there anyway." Zephyr smiled lightly, and then leaned on Hiruma's shoulder. "We should go somewhere else."
"Where?" He asked, more to hear the hope in her voice than for anything else.
"Hmm... I don't know. Maybe to a world we haven't been yet, or that Imaginary world. Or maybe even here." She paused. "Where would you want to go?
"What a silly question." he replied affectionately. "Wherever you were, Zephyr. That's always where I'd want to go."
She smiled widely, cheeks reddening. "You're sweet, _______"
"Wow." John said in awe, turning to Sebastian. "Is that really how people talk when they're madly in love?" It wasn't a spiteful question, but Hiruma turned beet red all the same. Sebastian only shrugged with a grin. Kai made a noise in his throat.
"Yup. That would be the talk of someone head over heels for a girl." He said with a measure of disbelieving indifference.
Xavier only turned away and kept eating her breakfast.
Zephyr jumped in surprise at their voices, heat rising to her cheeks in embarrassment. Moving away from Hiruma, she ate a few bites of her breakfast, swallowed, then turned around and hurriedly asked, "W-when did you guys get up?"
"Sebastian and I stayed awake all night!" announced John with pride.
"That we did. John insisted he sit up on the roof and watch the sunrise. He nearly passed out from excitement when he came down to tell me this world has not one sun, but two. It's quite interesting."
"Two suns?" Zephyr exclaimed. She set her breakfast down on the floor, then dashed to the door, threw it open, and ran outside. Cupping her hand over her eyes, her mouth fell open in amazement as she stared at the two suns in the sky. One looked much like the one she was used to, but a slightly smaller one with a light blue tint was next to it. "Wooooooow...."
Hiruma stepped out behind her. "That's amazing..." Suddenly, he was hit by an image of the same suns. In the memory, he looked down at his hands and discovered that they were drenched in blood. The worst part about it was that he knew it wasn't his. It was the blood of the woman he'd just killed.
When he came back to his senses, he was shaking uncontrollably, cold sweat running down his face.
Zephyr turned around, and found Hiruma pale. "______! H-hey, are you ok?" She said, placing her hands on his shoulders.
He flinched under her touch, suddenly afraid that he might do something horrible. He ripped himself out of her hands and covered his face, running back into the house and closing himself inside one of the rooms, breathing hard. His heart thumped in his chest painfully.
Zephyr stared in shock at the doorway for a moment, then followed after him. "_________?" She called out, looking at one room, then the other. Silence, then she heard heaving breathing. With some apprehension, she placed a hand on the paper screen door, and said, "......_______? What happened? Are... You ok?" Even though she knew he was obviously not ok.
"Get away...!" He rasped, sliding down the wall. "...I'm sorry!" He called out to no one. "I'm sorry!! I'M SORRY!! I didn't mean what I did!! Can't you see!?"
'Zephyr, maybe you shouldn't go in' Rangokuen started. Zephyr ignored her and slid the door open. She found Hiruma with his back pressed against the wall, eyes wide.
It was all flooding in. The images. The ones he'd forgotten so long ago. His breaths rattled the air. When Zephyr opened the door, he felt as if he would suddenly lose all sense of himself and... No. He couldn't even think it. He only moaned and clenched his head in his hands.
Zephyr gave him a concerned look, and cautiously walked towards him. "_______... What's happening? What's wrong?"
He stood up, stumbling, and then pushed past her roughly. "II'm sorry
" He ran out the back of the house and into the surrounding woods, trying to lose himself in the branches and undergrowth. "I didn't do that..." He kept mumbling. "I didn't do that...!"
Her first urge was to chase after him again, but she fought it down. Even if she did, it wouldn't do either of them any good it seemed. He wanted to be alone. Silently, she walked back to the living room and returned to her meal, even though her appetite had left her.
Xavier ran into the house, a sting in her side from gasping. When she saw Zephyr, she knew something was seriously wrong. "Where is he? Is-is he okay?"
"I don't know where he went. He was in his room a minute ago, and then ran out the back door. And I know he isn't okay, but I don't know what's even going on..."
Xavier's heart sped up a bit. 'This may be my chance. Zephyr has abandoned him to whatever has happened. I could go after him and-' She shook her head in despair. She was still that selfish, was she? She clasped her hands together. She had to be better than that... Looking out the window, she thought, 'You'd better be okay, ______...'
Zephyr stirred her rice in her bowl absentmindedly, worrying about Hiruma. Was it another seizure again? After considering it for a moment, she shook her head, crossing out the idea. The seizures usually had a different effect on him. Hiruma looked... scared. 'Rangokuen... do you know what's going on?' She sighed in frustration when she got no reply.
When he finally ran out of steam, Hiruma collapsed against the trunk of a tree, gasping for breath, though he really didn't need to. Truth's form didn't need to breathe. Didn't even need to sleep.
'...You can't run away forever. One day, you will have to face your past. You knew that, didn't you? That's why you took that shard of Finnick's memory glass before it disappeared.'
Hiruma drew the sharp square of glass from his pocket, hand shaking. "I...I don't know if I can do this...I don't even remember most of my childhood; I choose not to remember it. There's something about my past that's...too dark. Too horrible. I don't want to know what I was!"
'Then you will remain ignorant until death. Is that what you want? You do realize that you may find clues connected to Raizhoa if you succeed.'
"How am I to expect the glass to even work? Finnick is dead!"
'That is true. But the glass I'll holds the same properties. Finnick's soul is merely no longer connected to it.'
Hiruma drew in a deep breath and slumped down the side of the tree, the shard clutched in his hand. Slowly, he worked up the courage to turn the flat side of the shard toward his face...