Timeframe: Waaaaaay back at the beginning, probably about the third ficlet in the arc.

Squaresoft owns all, naturally, except for the actual plot of this little angst bunny from hell.

Afraid to Love: No Words

By Black Rose

It's amazing, the tiny things you notice when you actually look.

There are small red marks to either side of his nose when he slips his glasses off. He needs to have the fit adjusted; small wonder he complains they give him headaches. When he rubs at them he leaves grey smudges from the ink stains on his fingertips; no matter what pen he picks up they always seem to leak.

The sun is setting outside. The sunlight filtering in through the shades is all in shades of red and gold; the windows behind him tinge his hair like a corona of fire and against it all of the rest is dark, the streaks of silver invisible. When he raises his hand to brush the loose strands of hair out of his eyes the sunlight glints off of the gold band on his finger, bright and white. The pen cap has found its way into his mouth, already pitted with toothmarks from less then an hour of use.

I would keep moments like this, frozen in amber, for all eternity if I could. Safe from change, or age, or the encroaching creep of the forces junctioned to my mind as they shove my memories aside to make room for themselves. I would keep them where I could always take them out and recall them, as perfect as the moment they were created.

The coffee in the mug beside his laptop has gone cold, half drunk and leaving damp brown rings on the edges of the nearest pieces of paper. He's still drinking it, mouthfuls at a time; he probably hasn't even realized it's stone cold. He takes it with cream, two sugars; cold, the cream seperates into pale shaded circles across the surface.

Coffee leaves a bitter aftertaste on the tongue, acid and heavy, hours after you've drunk it. I've never tried it with cream or sugar.

Is it sweeter? Smoother? What is the aftertaste like?

My own report has sat in front of me, unchanged, for over two hours. I've typed a few words, a sentance, corrected and re-corrected my punctuation. Every so often I scroll up or down, enough to insert the tap of my own keys between the more constant click of his. My eyes are not on the screen before me; they are on him.

He has eyes only for his work, for the papers spread before him, for the reports and files. Twice he has put the pen down and lost it beneath a folder. I have a pocket full of cheap spares, from which I take one and hand it to him each time he begins to search for the pen he has lost. His response is a brief thanks, the cap already between his teeth as he pulls it off. Other then those instances we have hardly spoken a word, and not a one outside of work - "Can you hand me...?" "Here." "Where is...?" "Over there."

I haven't spoken his name in hours, but the syllables of it form endlessly on my tongue, unbreathed, the forms of those sounds shaped and reshaped, only to be discarded, unused.

The report blurs before my eyes inbetween blinks, black type wavering on a white screen. His own is green on black; archaic, but he claims it is easier on his eyes. I don't dare blink often. The images flashed against the inside of my eyelids in those fractional heartbeats, whether I will it or no, are damning.

His eyes are a bright grass green, tinged with the blue of the ocean in the sunlight. I could imagine so many instance when they might be darker, though, the color of sunlight through the leaves of a forest.

I've heard him, once, with a touch of winter cough rough in his throat. It makes it that much easier to imagine his voice dropped low and husky.

Every blink gives me the image of his skin, tanned golden from the summer sun, and the loose fall of soft strands of dark hair.

I want to know what the coffee tastes like, the flavor lingering invisible on his mouth. I want to know what the small chapped spot on his lower lip, which he chews at when he is not gnawing at his pen, would feel like under my tongue.

I want to know the feel of his hands on me.

He does not know. He has no idea why I keep returning, when we share so little in common and nothing of what he wants. I sit across from him now, only an arm's reach away, and I do not say a word. Words are his province, not mine. and really... there are no words for this.

Or maybe there is one. 'Forbidden'. That's the only word for it that I know.

It doesn't stop the wanting.

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