The air is filled with the coppery smell of blood. Ryou knows that scent all too well. Here it is now, permeating every bit of this dark room. There’s not enough light to see so he doesn’t know where the source of the blood is. He’s almost afraid to move, afraid to put his feet anywhere because he doesn’t know if he’ll find them soaking in a puddle of blood.
Ryou closes his eyes and tries not to breathe. He doesn’t remember how he came to be in this room at all. It has all the ambiance of a dungeon, leaving him with the all-too-familiar sense of being trapped. His heart beats a little faster the more he thinks about it. Panic starts to creep in. This isn’t right. The Thief is gone, and he’s not supposed to have blackouts anymore, not supposed to feel like he’s trapped inside a room with no escape. All of that was in the past.
Ryou shivers and wraps his arms around himself to warm up. But his hands feel wet against his shirt sleeves. He holds his hands closer to his face to examine them, and that’s when he figures out the coppery smell is coming from his bleeding hands. He bites his tongue not to scream as a familiar laugh echoes out from somewhere in the darkness…
And that’s when Ryou wakes up, bolting from the couch in his apartment living room where he’d dozed off earlier. He takes a deep breath and runs his fingers through his now-tangled hair. His hands are injury-free and now that he’s more awake, he remembers that he’d simply drifted off to sleep while looking over his textbooks.
Just a nightmare. The Thief is gone, he reminds himself. Permanently gone. The only thing he has to worry about these days is passing his exams to graduate.
But still, this isn’t the first time he’s been plagued by this dream. It’s a hard adjustment, he supposes, to get used to not having an extra voice in his head all the time. He’s supposed to be happy about this—and he is—but he can’t shake this feeling that he’s not quite free. Not just yet. Still trapped by the memories.
Not for the first time, he wonders if it’s wrong to mourn someone he doesn’t really miss.
Happy new year talisa_ahn!