under the tree

On the first floor of a newly renovated warehouse, a single apartment out of four is in use. Its inhabitant is so quiet however that upon walking the hallway with its well spaced doors, one could almost believe that there is not a single soul within the walls of that first, ever so quiet floor though it isn’t quite so.

Armin Everhart, half-demon though this is something he isn’t aware of, is sitting near his back door. He had been given a choice of which apartment he wanted and quietly had requested the one with the view to the backyard if at all possible. It was what he was given. Armin believes he has a gift, this is true enough. This gift is born of demonhood, more than likely from his real father. This is something his mother does not discuss as she does not know. A story for another time, explaining how his real father implanted an image of the woman’s husband into her mind as he took her and filled her belly with a child.

His head leaning against the glass pane of the door leading to the backyard, Armin seems to be contemplating the past. He stares out in the distance, looking towards one of the bigger trees that remains standing before he closes his eyes and breathes out a sigh. He lifts one hand, resting it gently against the glass, as if it might speak to him, answer his own unspoken thoughts.

“What are we doing here?” Armin’s voice was quiet, a little confused, the terrain they were on was a little rough to travel for him though it wasn’t so bad. At times he felt like Andoni forgot about his disability, about his issues and how he couldn’t get around on terrain like this easily. The man standing besides him shook his head and smiled down at him, Armin felt his heart flutter sharply and merely went quiet.

He has only known Andoni for a few weeks, they met up by accident really. They had bumped into one another while Armin had been putting books back where they belonged. Armin had expected jeers and sneers but the man had helped him up, apologized as he had not been looking where he’d been going, and so absolutely to Armin’s surprise, he had been asked if they could go out for coffee.

Things had somewhat progressed from there, Armin never making the first move, as if terrified that it would break this strange sort of spell that had fallen over him. How anyone could look at him with any sort of affection was confusing to him.

“We’re almost there, I’m sorry about the terrain, I thought it would be a little smoother by now.” Armin had merely nodded at the words, feeling a bit of an ache in his bad leg. So long as he wasn’t left here on his own, it was all that really mattered to him.

Once at the top of the little hill, he came upon a setup. A blanket settled against and under a large tree, the beauty of nature down below on the other side of the hill and a small picnic basket set out. He had laughed softly and shaken his head as he’d settled down with a little bit of help from Andoni.

“At first I honestly wanted to carry you up the hill, when I realized how bad the trail was but then I told myself that you might think I wanted us to get around faster and I didn’t trust your ability to get around well enough on your own.” He paused, smiling down at Armin who returned his smile. His heart still was beating a mile a minute. Was this a date? He had never even imagined he would get this kind of outing in his life.

“So this is sort of it. I did bring you out here to ask you something though.” Armin’s heart sped up again, this time in discomfort. That was it, the guy was going to tell him he had made a mistake all those weeks ago and he didn’t want to spend any time at all with him anymore. At least he’d had the decency of telling him about it instead of simply vanishing off of the face of the earth.

“Armin?” Those startled, slightly moist eyes turned to the voice as it uttered his name. His smile was shaky and he apologized. Andoni blinked and frowned. He shook his head and reached out, wiping the wetness away from Armin’s eyes and cheeks with a tenderness that had never been bestowed upon him before.

“I don’t know what’s going on through your mind but I didn’t bring you here to do anything horrible to you, no.” There he paused and moved closer, so close Armin had to close his eyes and then there had been lips on his. That alone had taken his breath away. It hadn’t stopped the tears from coming, however. “I was hoping you would agree to go out with me. I know we don’t know one another all that much but there’s just something about you that pulls me to you. I really want to get to know you better and I think we could work out to the end of forever.”

Armin leans away from the window, wiping the wetness away from his eyes once more. His hands aren’t as tender as he remembers his lover’s own to have been when he had wiped those tears away all those years ago.

“My first kiss, under a tree on a beautiful day of spring, with a picnic that tasted like heaven and I was in a new place. I learned to better accept myself, it’s all thanks to you. I never would have become who I am if not for you. I know the chance is minimal, most people wouldn’t even notice but I know you noticed the change as the years drifted by. I miss you so much.”

As if to answer his words though Armin though it is nothing but his imagination, the tree’s limbs and leaves rustle gently in the wind. “I know I said goodbye, I’m moving on, I promise but there’s a part of you that will stay with me forever. In one of those little boxes Eoghan taught me to put in my head. That way I know that when I really need a pick me up, I can look into the box and I can think back about all you’ve taught me. You made me so much stronger.”

It doesn’t feel wrong to be talking to himself. He really sees no harm whatsoever in the action. So used to being by himself as it is, Armin knows that talking to himself helps him keep his sanity within reach. Loneliness is a demon he knows very well and one that has often threatened him more harm than anyone else ever to this very days. He does it best to keep it away just as he keeps his sanity as close as he can.

“I might never have another kiss ever in my life but I think I can live with that. I can still remember how your lips felt on mine and that just makes it all worth it. I was kissed, I was loved, I was cherished. I know I’m not all hideous and malformed but I also know that most people won’t look my way twice, I can live with that. I think this tree is where I’ll plant all of our memories, that’s a good place to let them be. Grow up surrounded by warmth and earth, nature, sun and all the rest. You’ll like it there.”

Chuckling softly, he pushes himself slowly to stand. He finds his crutch and slips it on so he can head towards his bedroom to find something a little warmer to wear. He has some digging to do, something to bury in the roots of the ever growing tree and he knows that this is where he is meant to put it.


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