There had been a time where, with the therapy, he had gotten better. Not whole again, but the pieces had been glued together again, and he had seemed…reminiscent of his former self. He had begun to laugh and smile more, and as he adjusted to his shiny, new arm and to civilian life, things had started to improve. That wasn’t to say that there weren’t times when she’d think of him. Sometimes when she took a sip of the wine they used to share, or when she sat in the room and folded laundry, she thought of him and ached for him. But always she’d try to push the thought of him out. There was no point in crying; she’d done that in excess when he’d left and there was nothing there anymore but an empty desk to remind her of all the times when she only had had to glance over and see him to feel so, incredibly happy and lightheaded.
Besides. She had Suzaku back now. What kind of a person would be ungrateful for a second chance? Her husband had come back from the dead, just for her. How dare she not revel in her newfound happiness?
So she had done her best to try and adjust, to forget about the old and relive the older. She went back to work. She picked him up from his therapy. They had dinner together and slept in the same bed. She helped him when he needed help, smiled for him when he asked her to smile, kissed him when he wanted her to kiss him. Not all was done out of force; there were times when she wanted to go back to the way things had been. Suzaku had been good to her, and though there were things about him that they could never take back no matter the amount of money and time they poured into recuperation, he obviously wanted to continue being good to her, and that made her want to fall in love with him all over again.
So one rainy night, she fell in love with him all over again, even if it was just for a few hours and even if it was just a way to forget about him. She tried to distract herself from the memories, so she busied herself with her husband, but as she lay in bed afterwards, the memories returned all the more stronger until she sat in bed, wearing his old college shirt (Suzaku had asked no questions; they had coincidentally attended the same college, though were apart in class with him being slightly younger, allowing her to salvage it from all the rest she had returned), and phone in hand as she stared at the 10 digits glowing at her.
It was just so easy, wasn’t it? A simple press of a button, and she could hear that voice she missed so much. And yet… That was as far as she ever got. Maybe because it felt like betrayal. It couldn’t have amounted to anything. Just a chat between two people. But the mere thought made her guilty as if the simple act of consideration made her into a cheater, so she kept her silence and ignored him for both her sake and her husband’s.
And yet, even as she told herself this, she sat in the backseat of the other’s car and watched the rain stream down the window. They said nothing to each other after her brief confession – didn’t even look at each other – until he said her name because the moment he spoke and she glanced up from her lap, she saw and heard how even with a year since the last he had spoken her name, nothing had changed for either of them, and so broke down.
He held her close as she wept and told him without even speaking of all she’d had to endure through because that had been the right thing to do and that had been what had been expected of her. He listened carefully, his heart bowing under the weight of her pain. Moving her into his lap, he enveloped her to protect her from the outside world and all its duties and obligations until she was strong enough to resume her position as its unwilling vassal.
“I don’t know what to do,” she mumbled a while later. Tired, she leaned against him. “…I don’t… I’m not ready. And neither is Suzaku.”
“Does he know?”
He sat quietly as he absentmindedly rubbed her back.
“Well, there are several options you can take,” he finally said in a soft voice. “I can offer my opinion and guidance, but that’s all I can offer you: guidance. I can’t give you direction.”
“…What are the options?”
Exhausted, she listened to him half-heartedly as he detailed the three or four choices she had before her. Instead of paying attention, she focused on his hand as it held hers. With an arm curled around her and his quiet, soothing voice, he cradled her hand as he gently rubbed the pad of his thumb on her hand. She opened her eyes slowly as he tucked her hair behind her ear and stared at him as he waited for an answer to his question.
“…Why did you agree to see me?” she asked. “Even though you knew Suzaku would try to kill you if he found out.”
He looked away, but she touched his cheek so he had no other choice but to look at her. Sitting up, she looked at him as properly as she could through her swollen, tear-stained eyes.
“…Why me?” It almost sounded like a plea. “Of all people, why me? What do I have that you want?”
“Then why do you love me?”
She couldn’t even find the heart to lie to herself or to him. She already had been for a year, and it had been one of the most taxing years of her life. It was true; she did love him. She had loved him, and she still did now even with her resurrected husband. But even with how much she wanted to, she didn’t kiss him. Even though he was right, she constrained herself to being held by him.
“Will it really be alright?”
“I promised you, didn’t I?”
There was a brief pause.
“Stay with me,” she whispered.
And that was, perhaps, the beginning of the end of it all.