At the end of the week Yoshiasu took Fuyuki home. He called a cab, took the papers allowing him to become Fuyuki’s legal guardian and they both left the hospital. As they stepped out under the high sky, Fuyuki stiffened and squeezed Yoshiasu’s hand.
-I’ve never seen so much sky above me since my childhood-he whispered. I’ve always dreamed about it but now, it feels so overwhelming…
Yoshiasu held him by the shoulders and squeezed him gently.
-I’m here, don’t worry. It won’t fall on our head while I’m here. Let’s get into the car and go home.
Fuyuki leaned against him confidently. They took the cab and left for home.
Fuyuki took an instant like on Yoshiasu’s flat. He wandered around the house, touched the walls, peered through the curtains and finally, exhausted fell on the bed.
-It’s so peaceful here-he sighed. I feel free…Are you sure you want me to be here with you?-he asked anxiously.
-I’m positive-came the amused answer from the kitchen. The only problem is that you have to get used with my cooking. I hope you’ll survive…
-If you’re around I don’t even need food-said Fuyuki in a muffled voice. He then curled up in bed and shortly after, he fell asleep.
Yoshiasu cooked some fresh meal for supper then came back to the room to look for Fuyuki. He saw him sleeping relaxed and peaceful just like a child. He took a blanket and covered his protégée. He gently caressed the soft cheeks and the rebellious black hair.
Fuyuki stirred and sighed. “Yoshiasu…”he mumbled in his sleep. Yoshiasu blushed and swallowed the lump in his throat. He stood up and returned to the kitchen.
Fuyuki slept for hours; he woke up relaxed and hungry. The home-cooked meal proved to be a real treat for him. He started to look livelier and there was even a shade of pink in his cheeks. A small glass of wine lifted the spirits and the two young men spent the evening laughing a lot.
Yoshiasu’s humor suited well Fuyuki as he was both bright and very perceptive. His beautiful violet eyes were sparkling while he fully enjoyed Yoshiasu’s story telling. They ended the night watching TV side by side on top of the bed and they both fell asleep during the late-night movie.
Yoshiasu woke up suddenly: Fuyuki was crying in his sleep. He was pleading with somebody and the pain in his voice was simply heartbreaking. He was writhing, trying to escape from an unseen enemy.
“Father, please! Don’t…don’t hurt me! I’ll do whatever you want! Please, don’t…Why?!”
Unable to bear his friend’s sufferance Yoshiasu shook him vigorously and shouted:
-Fuyuki! Fuyuki, wake up! It’s only a dream! Please, open your eyes Fuyuki!
The troubled young man shivered but finally woke up. It took him a few moments to realize where he was and with whom. He cuddled up in Yoshiasu’s arms looking for protection.
-Yoshiasu! Yoshiasu, don’t let him take me! Please!
Yoshiasu embraced him and wiped off his tears. He caressed Fuyuki back to sleep, holding him tight. After that they slept till morning without any more incidents. When he woke up, Yoshiasu saw Fuyuki sitting at the window, gaze lost in the ragged pattern of rain-clouds.
-Are you ok?-he asked.
-Uhm…I think so. Sorry for being such a nuisance.
-You’re not-protested Yoshiasu. Don’t you want to talk about? –he asked tentatively.
Fuyuki shook his head; his breath sped up and he braced himself. It was too early for that. He wasn’t ready to open up or to release the monsters populating his thoughts at night. Yoshiasu dropped the topic and decided to keep his friend’s mind busy with more pleasant things.
-I’m going to take a shower and fix something for breakfast until you shower to. We can then go out in the park if you’d like that. What do you say?
-It’s…fine. I’ll set the room in order. Don’t worry; I’m quite handy-said Fuyuki seeing Yoshiasu’s incredulous face.
They’ve finished the house chores quickly. After the shower Fuyuki looked much better. The large scratch from his cheek washed up entirely and physically he was getting better with each moment. The more he looked at him, the more attractive Yoshiasu found him. This was a troubling discovery for him but for the moment he decided to ignore this new feeling. He has never thought before that he could fall for another…man.
Well, Fuyuki wasn’t an ordinary man; he was a disturbing enigma, frightening yet desirable, almost untouchable yet heartbreakingly beautiful and fragile. The image of the torn butterfly kept overlapping the mental image Yoshiasu was having about him.
-Yoshiasu? Anything wrong?-came a concerned question from the sudden silence of the room.
-No. I’ve just let my mind wander a little. Tell me, Fuyuki: don’t you have any happy memories at all? From your childhood maybe…
The young man leant back on the chair and closed his eyes for a moment.
-I’m not sure what do you mean by “happy memories” but I have a few things in my mind that they weren’t able to take away from me. Do you have a pencil and a piece of paper here?
Yoshiasu fumbled through his desk for a while and then he came back with a black ink-pencil and some paper that he handed to Fuyuki. He cleaned the table to make way for him. Fuyuki leaned over the paper and started to draw; his hand was moving quickly and with ease across the paper, while the intricate drawing was slowly emerging from it. A few moments later, he handed it to Yoshiasu and watched him silently.
The young analyst was amazed; the swarm of butterflies over a pattern of wild-flowers was beautiful and highly artistic. The butterflies looked so lively that for a moment he was afraid they might take off. Butterflies…Yoshiasu looked at Fuyuki like he was seeing him for the first time: a butterfly dreaming and drawing butterflies…
-We had a wild spot in our courtyard; it was overgrown with high grass and wild-flowers. I used to hide in the grass and wait for the butterflies to come. They were so many and so beautiful…
Later, when Father locked me up in the room, all I could remember were the butterflies. I kept on drawing them day by day, afraid that I might forget them and then lose all that was mine.
Fuyuki’s voice choked and his eyes filled with tears. He stood up, pacing up and down in the room, gaze lost in the past.
-The room had a very high ceiling and for me the small window was unreachable. All I could see was the changing of light or a small piece of the sky. Then, one day father forgot to shut the window and a butterfly came into the room.
It was a new one, something even more beautiful than what I had seen before. He came close to me and sat on my shoulder. He stayed there while I stood up to take a pencil and paper to draw him. He stayed with me for days. He always hid when Father was in but came out whenever I was alone. Then one day I couldn’t find him. All my hope was that he got out safely from the prison cell…
Fuyuki resumed his pacing and sat to the table. He took another paper and began tracing a new drawing. It took him a little more but the butterfly was really beautiful.
-This is the lost butterfly. I’ve never shown him to anybody before. I want you to have it-he added, his violet-blue eyes looking deeply into the dark-brown ones.
Yoshiasu was overwhelmed.
-Why?-he asked in a restraint voice, unable to add more.
-Because when I am with you I feel that I actually EXIST.
Fuyuki’s shoulders sagged.
-I have been INVISIBLE for twenty years…-he whispered and tears were running down his face. I kept waking up each morning wondering if I was REAL, a REAL PERSON. Except for the butterflies, all I could remember was the PAIN….
Yoshiasu jumped to his feet and hugged him while Fuyuki buried his face in his shoulder. He was shaking uncontrollably.
-Yoshiasu…don’t …let…me…fade- he managed to whisper before losing consciousness.
Yoshiasu lifted him and put him in bed, tugging the young man under a warm blanket. He decided to let him sleep off the burden of the long confession. He then poured himself a glass of wine and sat in bed next to Fuyuki. He picked the drawings and a notebook. Took a sip of wine, gently stroke the sleeping man’s hair and started to write down the things told by Fuyuki. Yoshiasu prepared the notes for detective Harrows.