- [For suffer-anon. Godspeed you strange fellow.]
- Damon rubs his hands together, trying to keep them from shaking as he walks towards the tiny café where the Motorball group can usually be found loitering. The scraggly coat he wears itches at the nape of his neck; he rolls his shoulders to manage the discomfort. It doesn’t help much. He catches sight of the group as he rounds the corner of the street block opposite the café. The usual suspects are all present: Koyomi, with her bright yellow top and braided hair; Samuel, lounging back in the beat-up couch at the front of the store, his heavy boots kicked up on a wiry box before him. Maybe half a dozen others, all of whom fade in to the background as Damon catches sight of her.
- She sits on a faded wooden chair, her cybernetic hands glinting in the dappled sun as she gestures while she speaks to the group. Her eyes are wide; animated and bright as the group laughs at a comment which is too quiet for Damon to hear. He feels the knot in his stomach grow when she sits back in to the chair, strands of jet-black hair falling over her eyes. She distractedly tucks one behind her ear as their conversation goes on. Even dressed in no more than jeans and a simple sky-blue top she’s heartachingly beautiful. He falters for a moment as the nerves threaten to get the better of him, but he knows that if he leaves now he’ll never work up the courage again. He tries his best to suppress the tremors running through him as he waves at Koyomi. She quickly spots him and gestures him over. The rest of the group turn one by one while he crosses the street to make it to the café exterior. The usual greetings and slaps on the back are exchanged, and Damon takes a seat opposite Alita’s. The conversation flows around him as he desperately tries to avoid staring as her stunning features. The minutes painstakingly drag, and just as the nerves grow unbearable news of the recent Motorball standings are released. The group finally splits apart in to smaller circles to discuss the development, and as Alita and Koyomi pair up over an FEC Console Damon spots his chance. He moves over to them, and though they make a brief noise of acknowledgement, their focus is held by the flickering screen before them. He feels his throat go dry, and he swallows painfully before speaking.
- “H-hey Alita? Could I chat to you for a second?” He cringes internally as he stammers across the first word. Alita looks up at him, confusion clear in her magical eyes. Their gaze is almost too much to bear, and Damon looks helplessly over to Koyomi, who nods once and gestures for Alita to go. Through the nerves he doesn’t notice the sympathetic edge to Koyomi’s expression as Damon and Alita walk over to a spare table. Though there are stools nearby, he finds himself shifting his weight from foot to foot before Alita breaks the tense silence.
- “So. What did you want to talk about?” Her voice ripples through the space between them, raising goose bumps on his skin. No matter what she’s talking about, her smooth lilting speech always captivates him. He swallows again and tries to prepare for the plunge. This time he finds her gaze and holds it as he speaks.
- “I- I just wanted to say that I really like you and uh…” He takes a quick breath and feels the pressure of her gaze on him, though her face is impassive. He glances away, cursing internally as he quickly rushes through the rest of his question. “Do you maybe want to go out for like a Motorball game together or something?- It doesn’t have to be that.”
- The bustle of the café is but a blurry background to the question as it hangs between them. The seconds fall like dominoes, one after the other, and as he finally dares to look at her face, the sympathetic half-smile makes his stomach drop. He’s seen this look before, but it hurts especially badly from a face as perfect as hers. Even before she speaks he knows what the words will be. Her voice is soft, and the kindness in it wrenches at his heart.
- “Oh Damon- I’m sorry. I don’t see you like that.” She reaches out to place a gentle hand on his shoulder, and he feels the self-loathing rise through his very bones as the need to lean in to it tugs at him. “You’re a good player and a good friend. I hope you’ll stay with us.”
- He finally meets her eyes for a moment, and the emotions tearing through him drag him in to the swirling storm. He thinks he manages a weak smile, but just as quickly he tears away from her and walks out in to the street. Rain has moved over the city, and with the ever-increasing drops comes the need to escape this nightmare. He runs through the streets, shaking as the chill creeps in through his clothes. The tears flow freely, and the city breathes around him, caring not for the hole in his heart. Not that he feels it should.
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