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09 September 2011 @ 01:35 pm
[Durarara!!] Falling in Increments  
Title: Falling in Increments
Rating: PG
Character/Pairing: Celty/Shinra
Word Count: 1600+
Summary: Celty doesn't want anything to hold on to. Shinra wants to make things otherwise.


Falling in Increments

From what little she knows of humans, Celty knows love isn't supposed to be like this. Not how it starts, or ends, not even how it progresses – you don't fall in love with the little boy who grew up while you watched; you don't fall in love with the crazy person who cut you open just to see if there was anything inside. You deal with him, because you have to, and you jab at him because that's as far as affection goes – a fist to his ribs, a knock to his head when he's joking again about how he likes you so much, and Celty – knows love is a thing out of fairytales. Knows she can't have it, for maybe a thousand reasons, starting with the obvious: she doesn't even have a heart.

Which doesn't explain why Shinra's gaze suddenly unnerves her. It was never like this before. Even half-obscured by his glasses, his eyes seem to be – communicating things, and that doesn't feel safe. Words are better. Words have more clarity. Because she might be reading things wrong, and he might be expecting something different from her, and Celty isn't fond of letting people down.

"Hey, Shinra. What are you looking at?"

"You," is not the answer she expects. This is not the first time Celty has wondered if she has any reason to be afraid, but she is starting to suspect it is the worst time.

---


She isn't going to worry. Things might still go according to plan. She believes this because sometimes she dreams of forests, and the scent of leaves, carrying the soft melody of flutes. Gentle voices, pale moonlight, doors shutting. The weight of a bucket in her hand, swinging unforgivingly, as she does what she must do. Hoofbeats like heartbeats. A dirt road beneath her, endless, and nobody else, and nothing else. Nothing that might hurt her. The land of her dreams is the land of her heart, a page ripped out of a fairytale. So remote from Tokyo, with its concrete, noise, bustle. The world grinding its daily existence into one's face. They're not becoming the same to her, but some nights she finds herself thinking: she dreams about what she knows, and wakes up to what she can't possibly love.

---


Japanese is hard. Celty remembers how difficult communication was, how she learned her characters side-by-side with Shinra, way back when he only came up to her thigh and watched Anpanman on television. Shingen, who was occasionally home then, brought her Minna no Nihongo and an Irish-English-Japanese dictionary with half its pages falling out, which she would thumb through, disconsolately, during the long hours she spent alone. She earned her keep doing the odd transportation jobs, but Shinra couldn't coordinate the work for her then, and she was pretty much shut out from the rest of the world.

"Celty, I can teach you kanji," Shinra said one day, scrambling up the kitchen counter chair. She watched with interest as he pulled out a clean sheet of paper and wrote a series of strokes on it. He did the work carefully, wetting his lips with his tongue as he concentrated. Celty usually made him sandwiches for his afternoon snack, then; she didn't worry too much about her cooking skills yet. "This is what we learned in school today." He held up the paper proudly. "This means name and if you write it like that it means famous and if you write it with this it means friend." A big smile. "Celty, you're my special friend, right?"

Special. Yes. In a way. Maybe. But she had no way of saying that – only her fumbling script as she scratched onto another sheet of paper – yes.

"Good," Shinra answered. He seemed satisfied with that reply. Then.

---


"I want to know what your voice is like." The declaration is random, spoken with some semblance of hesitation. She spins around in her chair to look at him. The laptop he bought her as a present last Christmas buzzes, almost ominously, as she watches him sip his cup of coffee. He's graduating in a few weeks, and with Shingen out of the country so frequently, they've been on their own in this apartment for longer than she initially suspects.

"I have no way of telling you that," Celty answers, by typing in big font on her computer screen. She doesn't add the sudden surfacing thought: but I wish I could.

Shinra finishes his coffee and sets the empty cup down on her table. For a moment he seems stiff, like he's deciding on something, then he turns to her abruptly and says, "I guess it doesn't matter. I can almost guess what it sounds like, anyway. The most beautiful voice in the world."

If she had eyes she would roll them. As it is, she simply folds her arms over her chest.

"Will you kiss me?"

Those next words are totally uncalled for, and she is stunned into not reacting for a few seconds. Until she remembers: he is seventeen. And kind of an idiot. She knows what sort of body she possesses, and it's not too hard to imagine how kids his age must be feeling. Alone like this. Girls would find Shinra weird, because he is wholly absorbed in his science and theories, and anyway it isn't really like he can bring any girls home when he's living with Celty. This makes her feel a teensy bit guilty, so she puckers her fingers into a pair of lips and pushes them against his cheek. Lightly smacking, like a kiss should feel like.

But she's barely lifted her hand away from his face when he grabs it and turns her wrist towards him, pressing his lips against it in a way that is entirely too gentle. Painful. Celty feels her whole body go rigid.

"I meant that," is all he says.

---


They move out of Shingen's apartment the minute Shinra gets a stable job. No questions asked, just – "It's time for us to go, Celty." She helps him pack – she has nothing to bring that her own shadows can't contain – and when they leave, it's on her motorbike, quietly roaring down a few streets to what she thinks she might now call home. They take most meals together; he fixes her delivery jobs; sometimes she attempts to cook for him, and wonders when cheese and ham sandwiches made her feel embarrassed.

She can live like this. Maybe. She can get used to this –

But she shouldn't.

Sometimes his laughter hurts her, a little. Sometimes when she comes back from dealing with Izaya, or they show aliens on television, and he hugs her and tells her it's gonna be okay, I'm here, she thinks she might suddenly fall to pieces. Turn into nothing. It's the disconnection, maybe, from whatever used to give her rational thought, a finite purpose. She's been floating for all these years, and she doesn't want the one thing she cares about to be her only tie; the peg that weighs her down. Because if the wind blows and she has to go, they'll be torn up together.

It's the same sickly feeling she got when Shinra first needed to shave; when he stepped onto the platform to receive his diploma for graduation; when he wore his first professional lab coat and said, "Hey, don't I look great?" and she thought about how talented he was, how surely some other girl could see that now. It didn't even matter that she knew, had always known, that he only wanted her.

"You look like a doctor, that's all," she said then, because she couldn't think of anything wittier.

It was around that time he started being able to complete, finish, or begin half her sentences.

Around that time, too, that Celty began to think, for long moments, about how nothing lasts.

---


The forest melts away and she wakes up shaking, but Shinra already has a hand on her knee. It's relief that keeps her from swatting it away by instinct – his fingers liked to creep, nowadays – but the hand slides up over her shoulders, pulls her in close, and the motion relaxes her. Soothes away some of the bloodstained leaves, the emptiness. She fumbles for her phone on the nightstand.

"I had a dream you couldn't understand me," and the cold words don't convey her panic at all, they don't tell him anything. "You could never know what I was thinking. I couldn't understand myself –" fingers trembling, the last words she punches in are wrong and she has to do it over.

He closes his hand over hers, keeps her from shaking any longer. She turns towards him, instinctively, leans her neck against his shoulder. He makes quieting noises, moves his hands up and down against her back.

"Hey, it's okay, it was just a nightmare." She shudders. That isn't enough. He gets it, adds, quickly, "You're awake now, right? I'm here, Celty. I won't leave you." He embraces her tightly. "I'll never leave you, okay? Don't worry." He moves his cheek against her neck and she tries to believe him, but she knows that things might not go according to plan, and that would mean – so many things she doesn't even want to think about.

I don't want to lose you, she tries to tell him.

I can't, she thinks, and remembers how he taught her how to write the kanji for love; how he knocked the helmet off her head and told her she was perfect and he didn't need anything else.

"You're not going to," he whispers. "You're not going to lose me."

She clutches him tighter, and wishes things didn't have to be like this. Falling is even worse than she thought it would be. This life is a new page ripped out of the fairytale. The boy in her arms is the new piece of herself she cannot be parted from.


Old story is untimely. But up at last!
 
 
 
cherry1608cherry1608 on September 10th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
I loved it!
mellishscratchmist on September 11th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
Thank you!
pruwealty on February 17th, 2013 01:17 am (UTC)
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