He stands outside her door, wondering if she's already asleep. The room is still lighted, albeit dimly, and he guiltily wonders if she's still up, waiting for him. It's already past midnight . . . no, it actually is much closer to dawn. He stares at the door, debating with himself.
The mission had been successful, but it had been a close call. He had found himself thinking that life is short, and he'd better find his courage fast, before everything passes by. He shakes his head, berating himself for making that promise to meet her tonight. They had arrived at Balamb much later than expected, and he could feel his exhaustion slowly creeping upon him. Admittedly, he had something important to tell her, but surely it could've waited. But he hadn't wanted to wait. Not then. Certainly not even now.
He looks down at his muddy leather boots and hesitates. He could just go back to his room, get some rest, find a clean pair of boots and come by see her tomorrow except he really wants to see her. Needs to see her.
He fiddles with the single rose he's holding, the velvety red flower he had bought on impulse. He holds it, half-hidden behind his back, trying to overcome an irrational fear of her suddenly coming out and seeing it.
He makes up his mind to just enter and surprise her. He pulls out his key-card and swipes it, and the door parts with a quiet whoosh.
The room is illuminated only by the lamp by the study table and the moonlight streaming through the window. His eyes adjust to the muted light, and he's slightly disappointed to see her sprawled on her bed, already asleep.
But he couldn't leave, now that he's already here. He stares at her, and a slight smile creeps upon his usually solemn features. She is asleep, yes, but apparently it was not something she had planned to do.
She is still clad in a casual outfit a pale blue t-shirt and shorts; certainly not what she usually wears to bed. Her glasses are skewed but still resting on the bridge of her nose. She's a vain one, his little sorceress. He didn't think that she had ever worn those glasses outside her room, though he privately thinks that she looks cute wearing them. A book rests half-open on her chest, rising and falling with her steady breathing, and her hair is tied in an untidy ponytail, with wisps of her ebony tresses clinging to her face.
He leans on the already closed door, unable to look away.
After what seems like an eternity, he finally steps closer to her bed, half-hoping she would wake, half-hoping that she wouldn't. She seems like a child after an exhausting day of play; to tired even to change her clothes. He has half a mind to tickle her nose with the rose, but he finds himself unable to do that. She looks too innocent in her slumber to wake.
He stares, again, at her sleeping form, suddenly thankful that he had made it back alive. It has given him another chance to watch her sleep, to know that she is indeed safe, still there for him. And for her to know that he will be there for her.
She couldn't be comfortable with those glasses on, however oblivious she seems to them now. He rests the flower he is holding at the edge of her bed, idly wondering what had possessed him to buy it in the first place. Gently, with a tenderness that not many have seen, he pulls her glasses off, neatly folding them and places them on her study table. She stirs, but doesn't awaken. He looks with slight amusement at the red ridges crossing her fair cheeks, and without thinking, he gently smoothes them with a calloused finger. She murmurs something, and he then realises that it was his name. It startles him, and he pulls back his hand, only to watch her fall back into her peaceful dreams.
Her dreams. She dreams of him while she is asleep, and the revelation touches him.
She tugs at her worn teddy bear the one with only one glass eye and no tail and the book she was reading almost slips from her limp grasp. He pulls it away, carefully marking her place with a bookmark that falls from it. Glancing at the book, he notes with some irony that it's entitled Dreams and Divination.
He pulls her quilted blanket, and gently drapes it over her sleeping body. She snuggles into her pillow, a hand almost instinctively gripping at the edge of the quilt. He still stares at her, before he slowly sits at the edge of her bed, gently brushing her loose strands of hair from her face. She doesn't awaken; in fact it seems to him that she had fallen even into a deeper slumber, perhaps comforted by his touch.
He looks down at her, worried, wondering whether she was ill or just exhausted. Perhaps she had been working too hard, trying to acquire control over her new-found powers. Perhaps she had been busy, studying all she could about magic. Perhaps she had been worrying too much about him.
He struggles to find something to say, even though he realises that she is asleep and she probably doesn't even know that he's there at the moment. She is everything to him, everything, yet he couldn't find a way to convey it to her.
He searches her tranquil face, wondering what she sees in him. To him, her soul seems to soar high in the heavens, while he is still searching for his wings. She possesses everything he wishes, and more.
Innocence. Wit. Courage.
He stands and picks up his rose, not wanting to disturb her rest any longer. Shafts of moonlight stream into the room, and he heads towards the window, pulling close her thin gauze curtains. He notices the elegant vase that stands empty by her window sill. Often he would see a white lily adorning the vase, but not today. He slips the slender stem of the rose into it, knowing that it'll be the first thing she'll see when she awakens, and she will know who had placed it there.
The silvery light casts his shadow upon her sleeping form. He wonders if he'll still have the nerve to do what he was planning to when morning comes.
He hesitates, before he pulls out a small box from his jacket, something he had been carrying around for quite a while. He glances at his sleeping sorceress before gently snapping open the velvet-coated box with a smooth motion. He could barely believe he is doing this.
An ethereal glow emanates from the delicate golden ring as the moonlight is reflected off the smooth metal. Almost magical, like most things are. Sunrise and sunset. Shooting stars at night. Waves crashing upon the shore.