If Nino concentrates hard enough, it seems like the walls are shaking and will close in at any moment, trapping him, trapping them, and it's a thought that Nino can't bear for more than a split-second, so when the storm is at its highest, Nino tries not to concentrate at all. The storm reminds him of how things used to be, of what and where they could've been if they'd stayed. The thunder is the voices that roared and cried and were broken as they asked why and how. The rain is the tears they’d left behind and the way they paved as they tread their new life.
Lightening pierces the room and he jerks, but not far, because Ohno is close.
Nino, Ohno murmurs, fingers finding fingers like a moth to a flame. It’s inevitable.
Nino lets Ohno reach out for him, and hold him with hands that have enough strength for both of them. It is inevitable that the past jerks out in his mind at times when he least expects it – it is always there, waiting, lurking, searching for weakness in Nino’s walls. It is inevitable that Ohno knows when it does – he has always always known.
Thunder rumbles over their house, so many times a symbol for the efforts that they had gone through to come this far. The sky is alight and electrified with slashes of thunder, the waves out on the border between the sea and land roar and crash against the shore.
Nino’s toes are ice-cold, and he tries to concentrate on that, concentrate on the slight numbness until the storm is a whisper at the back of his mind.
It’s not always bad, Ohno mutters into his neck and he shivers. Nino thinks that if he looks outside now, the sky and the sea would be one united symphony. He’s tired of thinking of the past, but he can’t let go completely when the most effective reminder is holding him close. But that reminder is also the key to his present. Isn’t it something wonderful if you’ve found someone who accepts your past, likes your present and believes in your future?
It’s a future that they’re building together, and no amount of relentless thunder and electric currents can change.
They huddle together, closer even if it feels like it’s not enough. Nino can’t crawl closer even if he tried. He tries anyway. Ohno chuckles and Nino feels it more than he hears it.
It’s not all bad, Ohno says again, fingers cupping the base of Nino’s neck, sliding upwards and encasing his skull. If he leaned forward now, they’d be kissing, but Ohno keeps the inches between them, breathing and letting Nino feel him.
Nino closes his eyes and feels. He feels Ohno’s hands behind his hands, feels warm breaths on the tip of his nose in the frozen air. He smells the lightning burning the clouds and Ohno, strong warm and silent holding him, all peach shampoo and rumpled blankets.
He reaches out with his hands and feels Ohno with his eyes closed, breathing Nino in so deeply his chest rises and dips under the palms of Nino’s hands. He feels his past letting go for a moment – maybe even for the span of the night, could he be so hopeful?
Ohno’s toes tickle at his ankles under the covers. Nino presses back into the pressure of Ohno’s hands against his head, and dares himself to think about the future
It’s not that bad, Nino says and closes his eyes in the dark. Ohno thinks about the past more than Nino does, he knows that, and for that alone, Nino wants to look ahead and not turn back. After all, Nino wasn’t the only one who left loved ones behind, and Ohno more than anyone suffered. When daylight chases the night away, Nino will be strong.
In the dark, Ohno protects him from the past that haunts him, and lets him see and believe in the future to come. Ohno’s strong heartbeat drumming against his own chest is reassuring and so wonderful in the blanketed night.
Tomorrow, Nino says.
Ohno hums. Tomorrow?
Yeah, Nino says, smiling because he knows Ohno will feel it. I might write a book with all the sappy things you’ve ever thought and said.
That’s a lot, Ohno says, but his grip on Nino tells Nino what he isn’t saying, and also what Nino won’t say out loud.
That’s enough thinking for late at night. Nino looks the past in the face and stares it down. He is warm with the love from another, and strong with belief in tomorrow. Ohno pulls Nino closer, closer, somehow managing to take away the small distance they had had left between them.
Nino nods into Ohno’s chest and loosens the grip of his fist in Ohno’s shirt. They feel each other in the darkness, the softening of knuckles and fingertips.
That’s enough past to last for the future.