You should be happy like this. You should be happy that you are alive, that no one is hurting your sister, that no one is making you kill. You do not like killing. Killing is wrong. You know that. You have not always known that. You killed hundreds of people before you met him. You killed a few after you met him too. You do not like thinking about these people. You do not like remembering the time you tore out a man’s beating heart in front of him and his friends. His friends were horrified. He was not.
You told him the truth just days after you met him. He wasn’t scared of you. Few people were. Only the ones who believed you were frightened. It was hard to believe, after all. People laughed at the twelve year old boy claiming to be a professional assassin. Few lived to regret it. You do not like thinking about them either. He did not fit into either category. He knew you were telling the truth, and he didn’t care.
You stabbed your mother in the face and your brother in the side before running away from home. It was never a real home. There, the only people who loved you were the butlers and your sister. You went back for your sister. You rarely miss the butlers.
Your favorite butler was Canary, the girl who should have been your first friend. She wasn’t your friend. She wasn’t allowed to love you, and you weren’t allowed to have friends. Your mother nearly killed her for standing up for you. You had just broken your rule. She had broken hers years before. She was like a sister to you. You were never friends. You do like thinking about her.
He was your first friend. You have lots of friends now, but not like him. You love all of them dearly, but not like him. You will never love anyone else the way you love him. You have never missed anyone the way you miss him.
He will come back. He promised he would come back. He always keeps his promises. He is impulsive and unpredictable and self destructive and beautiful, and he always keeps his promises as long as he is still alive. He is still alive. You ask your sister how he’s doing sometimes. You do not ask her to bring him back to you, even though you know she could. He promised to come back. He wouldn’t break a promise.
You love your sister, even if calling her your sister isn’t entirely accurate. You have two sisters who share a body. You tried not to love them both. It was impossible. They both hold so much love in them, more than you thought possible. They loved each other despite everything. You didn’t think she could do that. You were wrong. You do not like thinking about this. You do not like thinking about being wrong. You do not like thinking about the times your wrongness hurt her. She has forgiven you many times over. Her capacity for forgiveness is as great as her capacity for love.
You love her capacity to love. Your parents thought of that capacity as weakness. They thought they had succeeded in crushing it out of you. They knew they would never succeed with her. They hated her for who she was even more than they hated her for what she could do. She could easily have killed them all if she’d felt like it. You do not know why she didn’t. Part of you is glad. Part of you is not.
You are the only person she would never kill. This has never mattered. You would die for her in a heartbeat. The difference is that she would never ask you to.
Many people have died for her. The difference is that she asked them to. She has not asked anyone to die for her in a long time. She would not kill her family. They were not her family. They were not yours, either. She has always been your only family.
He is not family. You would not feel this way about family.
He comes back to you in the spring. He’s taller than you are now, and all your fantasies of him laughing your name into your ear are dashed as he laughs into your hair instead. You bury your face in his chest and hope he can’t hear the relief in your voice as you greet him. You know he can. Part of you doesn’t mind. The other part just hopes he won’t ask about it so that you don’t have to move your head from beneath his chin to answer. You like this scenario more than any of the ones you envisioned while he was gone.
He slides effortlessly into your daily routines as though he’s trying to make up for the time he was gone. He doesn’t apologize for leaving, and you don’t ask him to. You don’t want him to. You learned more about yourself in the time he was gone, and you are thankful for it. You both needed the time apart.
You still are not quite happy.
He grabs your hand one day and kisses you softly. You are a seventeen year old boy who is being kissed for the first time. You are the happiest you have been in a long time. A voice in the back of your head tells you that this will never last, but you ignore it.
You cannot ignore it forever. You cannot ignore it forever, and so the only thing you can do is tell him about it. He listens like he always does before telling you what you already knew.
“That’s stupid,” he says, nose scrunched in an expression you haven’t seen on him in years. He holds you for hours afterwards as you laugh elatedly into his chest. Of course it’s stupid.
You don’t always believe that it’s stupid. Of course you don’t. You do not like yourself nearly enough to believe that someone as illuminated as he is would spend any more time than absolutely necessary with you. You can’t believe it, but he does. He has for years.
You start liking yourself a bit more. You think you like liking yourself. You still don’t know what he sees in you, but he must see something.
You think that if he loves you as much as he does, he must have a good reason.