Fragments of Hope
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Definition of hope comes from "Japan in Decline: Fact or Fiction?" by B. Williams and P. Jain.
Warnings: Spoilers for the end of the manga, but nothing explicit.
A/N: Feedback highly appreciated! As always, all thanks goes to my wonderful beta, Celesma.
Hope: a wish for something to come true by action.
Thus, hope consists of four elements:
It makes no sense, but the instant you see him (although his back is turned at first), the moment he speaks (softly, but firm), you know he's made his wish. It's definite.
He will stay. Maybe (you won't think probably) forever.
Your gaze doesn't flicker; your tongue doesn't betray you and ask one of the thousand questions that storm through your mind, mingle, drown, and resurface: What have you seen? Did you really have a choice? Has this just made the gap between the two of us worse?
To think that between the moment the boy suddenly ran away and the moment where he's standing here, calmly stating the conditions of his fate – to think that for you, it was mere minutes and yet for him, years could have passed, and you won't ever understand, it very nearly makes you nauseous.
It does make you angry.
An anger that burns deep, because you can't show it, much less act on it. You can blame neither of you (you hope).
He looks at you – directly, his gaze still firm, serious, entirely without doubt. Still, it's as if he's at the same time looking through you. Because there's nothing you could have done.
Even less that you can do now.
You hold the gaze of his mismatched eyes and, in silence, make a wish yourself.
One day, he'll be free again. And forget all that happened.
This is what you wait for, what is always in the back of your mind, when he's lost in thought, drowning himself in smoke and silence.
You are going to have to be patient, you know. It's not easy, but that's actually not the problem. What you fear is that it will take too long. That you yourself will be gone and your wish be forgotten. That the boy himself will forget, that he'll lose his connection to the outside world.
You wait and try to be prepared for the moment when something changes.
Strange, that this something might just be the one wish the boy can't grant.
'Coming-trueness (a way to realize)'…
You know you have the keys. If the moment comes, you will have what is necessary to protect him. Even from himself. Even from this fate to forever wait for someone who is long (and ultimately) gone.
But will you have the heart to do it? Will there be no doubts, no second-guessing? If you go straight and honest about it, you wish there'd be another way, that a third path will appear that involves no payment (you have enough of that, and you don't want him to lose anything anymore), just the coming-trueness of your wish for him.
Still, each time you feel the weight of it in your hand, this thing that has been given to you expressly to make another wish come true, you hope that it will realize itself without a decision on your part.
You hope you won't have to choose whose wish will come true in what way.
Ironic, is it not?
Later, you often think that maybe you should have used the thing the moment you got it. Dragged him away from this burden no one should have to take. You always dismiss the thought immediately (it's selfish, and yet it makes you feel guilty). Several times, you could have used it, but it never felt right. The boy doesn't want to forget, not yet (not ever?). Still, it nags and bites at the edge of your mind that she gave it to you, so that you could decide when it was time. She wanted you to decide whether or not to respect his wish. To decide what would be the right thing. What would make him happy.
Only now, you realize, it's impossible to know.
And really, is this something that should be accomplished by force? Sometimes you marvel if she only gave you this thing so that you could literally weigh the possible impact – the consequences of each of your choices – in your hands. If she never meant for you to actually act.
And maybe, you are just making excuses.
Or are you underestimating the power of your own wish?
The power of hope?
You have come this far, and by now, whatever you'll do in the end will probably be driven much more by the hope that things will come true, and less by the wish itself. By now, you have realized that sometimes, a wish is the hardest thing to make, and yet no one can refrain from doing so.