Braille of My Soul
by D.C. Logan
I take my boots off in the hallway and stand outside our apartment in sock feet.
Work has been hell, and it's very early in the morning, yet again, before I find myself back in front of my door, blinking and somewhat surprised to find myself there. I hold my shoes against my chest with one arm, and grip keys with the other--doing my level best to minimize their jingling. I've put a strip of tape on the face of each key to minimize any noise (old habits die hard), but Heero sleeps lightly.
I promised to be home on time tonight; a promise I'd broken. The fact that I've done so wears deep ridges in my conscience, and I vowed on the way home to find some small way to make amends.
I ease into our apartment, trying hard not to drop anything. No noise, no lights. I settle my boots and keys to the floor and walk sideways down the long hall in order to minimize the noise of the floorboards, a thief's trick, but a useful one.
All I want to do is sleep. And sleep has been all that we've shared recently--one or both of us too tired for anything other than simple rest over the past few weeks.
There's only one small problem. As I gently push the bedroom door open, the soft window glow reveals an empty bed. No rumpled sheets, no Heero curled on his side with a pillow tucked against his back and another pulled against his chest--only a tidy, well ordered, completely made bed. The pillows aren't even dented. Hell.
Heero wouldn't have left if it hadn't been an emergency. That I know for truth, but the panic rises regardless. He'd seen me once, shortly after we'd become roommates, and then bedmates, when I'd thought he'd left. As irrational as I know it to be, the fear of rejection or abandonment lurks within me still. He made me accept the idea that even very strong people can have moments in their lives with they are exceptionally fragile--one of his many gifts to me. He would not intentionally push my tolerances.
I click on the light, sit on the edge of the bed, and rub weary, red-rimmed eyes. It has been a long, stressful day, now made even longer by his absence. No letter on the pillow, no notes on my end table. Very strange. My brain is running too slow to puzzle it out, exhausted with lack of sleep and the long commute home. No warm Heero to ease my sleep and to trouble my waking. The one thing I'd looked forward to all day, and now it is denied me. Damn.
He's probably left a note for me on the refrigerator. Encouraged, I lurch to my feet and retrace my steps down the hall, and stop.
Heero is home after all.
He sits slumped on the sofa by the window, throw pillow clutched to his chest in the one compulsive habit he's been unable to break. The book he's been reading rests on the seat cushions, held in a loose three-fingered grip. The light is still on, and it casts his hair into a halo of mussed tendrils about his head. I shuffle over and crouch to my heels in front of him, looking up into his closed eyes. So often I see him like this; in semi-darkness I read his moods with my fingers--the Braille of my soul. His face is scratched, and I don't know how that happened. That simple thought pauses me and makes me wonder just when I've lost touch with the small details of his life while so busy with my own. Wondering what else I might have missed.
He is flushed, he is snoring lightly--air rumbling through his compressed nasal passages, hair lightly shadows his face, he is drooling slightly from the corner of his mouth. He is beautiful. He is mine. All of him.
The taste of his breath in the morning, with no flavor to it but his own. The way his strength turns to weakness when a target is found; the pause when I push hard, and he relaxes completely as that zone is hit. The moments when I brace myself over him, hands over his wrists, and I can feel his pulse race through the veins under my palms. The way he drapes my coat over my shoulders and lifts my hair out from under the collar every morning before we say our goodbyes at the door. The way his body looks when all but imperceptibly quivering in climax. Fuck, watching him walk across the room in sock feet is a turn on, even after all these years.
I sigh, and feel the strength of it pull from deep within my chest. Love: it tickles, confuses, and overwhelms me. He centers me.
It occurs to me that it's all the unseen little things that he does, and that no one else sees, that binds his life ever tighter to mine; the quiet times late at night, the dark moments early in the morning, a murmured word against my skin that softens the lines of my face and stills my heart in awe.
I reach out and stroke a weary finger along his wrist, and he stirs, blinking wearily in the hazy light.
"You're home." He relaxes imperceptibly after reality sinks in.
"Come to bed Heero." I take the book from his fingers, shift the pillow from his grasp, and hold out my hand.
I went searching for my soul--and I found you.