Cold seeped into my bones from the window, almost convincing me to move away and turn on a light, but I was unable to tear my eyes away from the plot, ignoring the ache of sitting in such an odd position for so long. I squinted heavily in the dim light, slightly turning to allow more of the weak winter sun to illuminate the pages before me.
“You know, you should turn a light on, you’re going to damage your eyes.”
I jerked my head up, forcing my eyes to focus on the figure that had suddenly appeared in my room. The book fell to the floor, the boards creaking as I stood up from the window seat. He was so thin, his height causing him to look more like a stick than he used to. Delicate blonde fuzz covered his purplish bruised scalp, the lack of the long golden locks I had grown up knowing enhancing the gaunt look of his face. Deep purple bags hung from his eyes, which I expected to look just as dead as the rest of him, but the deep blue glittered brightly to match the smirk that pulled up one corner of his mouth. Tears blurred my vision as I opened my mouth to say something, but a sob tore through me unexpectedly as I fell to the floor. I must have looked pathetic, crying in a heap on the ground, and I forced myself to calm down.
I picked my head up, roughly wiping my sleeves across my eyes, noticing that he had moved to sit on my bed. Piercing cerulean eyes followed my actions as I stood up, and slowly walked over to sit on the bed next to him. His whole body tensed when I accidentally brushed up against him, but he muttered an apology and tried his best to relax. I moved over a little to give him more space, feeling anger bubble up in my stomach as he seemed to cower every time I moved.
“I-I heard what you did to Elise.” His voice was too rough, and it looked like it pained him to talk. Despite my growing anger, I smiled as heat rose to my cheeks, remembering what I had done to the girl who had gotten Detlef on the pink list in the first place. I hadn’t liked the friendship we had had to begin with, but I accepted her since Detlef seemed to like her, so when she reported Detlef’s sexuality to the officers in town and he was ripped away from us, my anger got the better of me.
“I didn’t mean to do that, I just got so angry and I wasn’t thinking and all of a sudden I was screaming at her and we were fighting. I did fix the bump in her nose that she hated so much though, it’s just a little crooked now.” An airy laugh fell from his lips, and I blushed at the sound, finally glad that I had my best friend back, despite all that had changed. Silence filled the room, both of us with so much to say, but neither of us sure how to. I let out a sigh, my body falling to rest on my bed as I exhaled, and Detlef simply did the same, though he was on his back while I was on my side. Deep blue eyes stared at the ceiling, his chest rising and falling with the steady rhythm of his breathing. Several scars peppered his skin, accompanied by healing bruises that matched his scalp. I forced myself to not think about how he got those, feeling the fire rekindle in my stomach and tears prick at my eyes, and instead simply stared at him, relishing in the presence that I had been denied for almost a year.
His head turned to face me, the new angle showing his extremely prominent collar bone, and as his eyes scanned my face, a heated blush rose to my cheeks once again. I dropped my gaze quickly, my embarrassment deepening as I realised my gaze had fallen to his lips. A large smile stretched his lips, followed by a breathy laugh as I covered my face with my hands. Suddenly, rough, thin fingers were weaving their way in between mine, pulling my hands away. Oddly, pride swelled in my chest at his actions, knowing his newfound aversion to touching due to the cruelties he had faced in the camp. He traced gentle circles onto the backs of my hands, seeming to grow comfortable with the contact, and we slowly moved closer together. I felt a small smile tug at my lips, relishing in our closeness and the fact that he smelled the same as he did when I last saw him.
We lay there in eachothers arms, our faces only an inch apart, and a powerful swell of emotions suddenly rose up and choked me, the familiar pricks of tears forming once more at the back of my eyes. They fell in steady streams, falling to the blankets beneath us in gentle drops, his grip on my hands moving to encircle me in a comforting hug. I felt almost guilty for crying, as though I shouldn’t be the one so upset by all that had happened, but that only encouraged the hot, salty tears to flow down my face with renewed fervor. I had shoved my face into his neck, shaking sobs turning to weak sighs as I curled against him. Warm, soft lips pressed a firm kiss to my forehead, a gentle heat blushing up from the spot, and his rough voice hummed comfortingly into my ear. I knew there were things we had to talk about, things we had to get done, but his touch was intoxicating and I had no intentions of letting him go ever again.