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It’s been a normal day. But all the other times were on normal days. So Nico doesn’t expect this one.
They’re never expected. This time, he’s alone again. Maybe that’s when they happen. When he’s alone.
He’s making lunch. For two, because she’s coming home from work. But she isn’t supposed to be home for another two hours.
It’s her birthday, and Nico hums happily as he sets the two candles on the table.
He’s about to open the door to go outside when it starts. At first his vision gets a little fuzzy, but then it returns to normal. Nico, though, has experienced this enough times to know the signs.
He sighs, closing the door. Maybe it’ll come and go before she comes home for lunch. But he can already tell that probably won’t happen.
Nico squeezes his eyes shut as his vision blurs again. Everything’s getting dark.
Swirling, swirling, swirling. At least it’s not colorful, like that one time, because he got so nauseous he puked. But its dark, like usual, and he can’t see. He sits down on the tiled kitchen floor, against the back door, and hopes to get it over with.
It’s so overwhelming. He can see glimpses of the kitchen as the dark shapes haunt his eyes. They’re like rain, dark and getting heavier.
He’s so alone.
How long has it been? He has to wonder. Only a few minutes, probably, with many more to go. Every second is agony.
Nico hates this. He feels so powerless against this—this terrible rain. He can’t hide from it, he can’t drive it away. He can only hold on, barely clinging to what is reality in the confusion. It’s like a strange, massive headache that only he can see.
Nico cringes as his stomach hurls. He feels like a weakling, curled up under the door, huddled in the corner where the counter meets the wall.
He wants to scream at his hallucination, the terrible storm keeping him from his life. He tries what she has told him. Stay strong. Just a little more to go, he tells himself. It feels like a lie.
He can’t bear it. He feels like he’s drowning, and there is no one here to save him.
There is a thud. Nico grimaces and lets out a groan. Go away, he wants to say.
“Nico?” He can barely hear it, can barely feel the slight vibrations her shoes make in the floor.
“Taylor?” he struggles. He can see her face, distorted but worried.
“Nico!” she says, and he thinks she kneels down beside him. She speaks, but he can’t hear all of it. “Are you—Do . . . . . need water?”
“Water?” Nico blinks, trying to find her face. He must hold on. For her. For Taylor, the one who loves him. “No water.” He’s had enough of that in this crazy, stupid rain.
Taylor keeps looking at him, worried. He doesn’t see her. She can tell. His eyes are looking, but not at her. They stop short at something only he can see.
She feels terrible. Her Nico has to suffer through this. She can’t help him. “Nico,” she says, holding his hands tightly. “Hold on.”
He will hold on. He must hold on for her.
He’s still alone in this storm, but he’s glad Taylor is here. Glad that someone is willing to put up with this for him.
Taylor is patient, though. She feels as if this brings them closer. They go through this together. She grips his hands firmly, keeping him in reality.
“Come on,” she says. She hopes Nico can hear her. “Almost over. It’s okay, Nico . . . I’m right here.”
“Taylor,” Nico says, barely audible.
He shudders, and she winces. She doesn’t want him to go through this. Why couldn’t it be her instead? Nico doesn’t deserve this.
“Nico,” she says, praying that he can hear her voice. He stills for a moment, which she takes as a good sign. She continues. “Nico. I love you.”
“Taylor,” he whispers. He still can’t see her. “I love you too.”
He stops. He’s not moving. Then he blinks and looks up at Taylor. At Taylor. Not through her or in front of her. He looks at her and smiles. The monsoon is gone.