It was late into the evening of (Month, Day). Your birthday.
Too bad you were no longer alive to celebrate it.
Arthur sat quietly on the couch, staring blankly at his reflection in the black screen of the TV positioned across the room from him as he listened to the gentle, rhythmic sounds of the ticking of the wall clock above it and the patter of rain falling outside and beating against the windows. The room was rather dim, lit only by a single lamp which stood on the side table next to the couch. The entire room held a feeling of emptiness and dreariness that had been lingering ever since the rain started coming down a few hours ago, but no action had been done to try and get rid of it.
Arthur let out a long, exhausted sigh as he let himself sink back into the couch. It was nearly midnight and he should've been in bed hours ago on a day like this, but he didn’t care.
He didn’t care about anything anymore.
Arthur continued to stare blankly at his reflection in the TV, aware of how bleak his eyes were, how wrinkled his clothes had gotten, and how disheveled his hair was, several strands poking out in all directions. Normally he would've straightened out his clothes or gotten a pair of new ones and made an attempt to fix his hair so that it looked slightly more presentable, but instead, he just sat there, trying to drown out the sounds of rain falling outside as his eyes felt like heavyweights. He had been sitting in that same position for the majority of the day, not even bothering to get up to eat, making his stomach let out occasional growls which he had ended up ignoring, just like he had ignored everything else going on that day.
Arthur shifted his head to the side so that he was able to look at the side table, his gaze settling on a picture placed next to the lamp. He continued to silently stare at the picture for a few moments, his gaze too blurry and unfocused to properly make out the photo inside the frame, before he finally decided to move from his current position. Slowly scooting over towards the end of the couch next to the table, he paused, his side pressed against the arm of the couch, before he extended his trembling hand and reached out to grasp the photo, gazing down at it blankly.
The photo showed a picture of Arthur and you sitting outside in the grass under one of the trees in his backyard in the late afternoon. He had his arm around you as you were pressed against him, the both of you carrying happy smiles on your face. Your (e/c) eyes seemed to sparkle and your (h/c) hair seemed to glisten under the afternoon sun, and the look that you carried on your face was one of pure contentment. Arthur let out a sigh of sadness and longing as he continued to stare at the picture. Memories flooded back into his brain as he remembered the day that it was taken. It was late in the spring, the temperature was delightfully warm, and he had invited you over to his house to spend some time together out in his backyard. He remembered the happy look on your face that you had carried when you were lying on the grass outside next to him, looking relaxingly up at the sky.
Too bad all those memories were gone now.
It had been only two months since that fateful day occurred. Two months since you had left Arthur’s house after spending the day with him, saying goodbye, saying that you would've seen him again soon. Two months since you had gotten into your car, began driving home, gotten onto the highway. Two months since another, larger car going at nearly full speed slammed into yours, instantly crushing you under its heavy material. Two months since you were taken to the hospital and almost instantly pronounced dead. Two months since Arthur felt like his whole world had been shattered.
It was two months, and yet almost every day, he felt as if he were reliving the pain of losing you as if it had occurred only yesterday.
Arthur let out a sigh as he continued to stare desolately at the photo, feeling tears start to form on the edges of his eyes. You had meant so much to him. He had known you for so long, so long that throughout all the time that passed, you were able to become a very, very close friend to him. So close that he had felt it start to grow into something more, something that had made him realize that he was falling in love with you. But he felt that he wasn't ready to tell you his feelings yet, that he needed to give it some time.
But if only he had known how little time he had left, he would have confessed to you much sooner.
Maybe you would have told him you loved him too, maybe moved in with him, maybe not have had to step out of his house and take the drive that would've ended your life.
How wonderful that would have been, to have you live with him.
Instead of sitting there, utterly miserable and alone, thinking about forgotten memories, Arthur would've been with you, expressing his love towards you, knowing that death was still far from seizing you.
After he had found out that you were dead, it took him almost a full week to completely realize what this meant for him. He never would've seen you again. He never would've seen your beautiful smile. He never would've hugged you. He never would've heard your calm, relaxing voice. He never would've further shared so many wonderful memories with you.
He never would've gotten the chance to tell you just how much he loved you.
As soon as this realization came to him, he had locked himself away in his room, drowning in his own misery. He had cried and cried until his eyes were free of tears. He absolutely refused to step outside. Nothing, not even the constant nagging of his friends, was able to drag him out of his depression. It took almost two weeks for him to finally go out for a bit, to feel the fresh air, to take in his surroundings.
But he never saw anything the same way again.
Now, two months later, Arthur was able to feel the pain of losing you slowly creep up on him again just when he thought it would've finally disappeared, when he thought that he was finally able to move on, to accept what happened and no longer grieve over it.
He let out another desolate sigh as he continued to stare at the picture of the both of you. Back then, when it was taken, you hadn’t known what fate awaited you. You hadn’t known that your life would be cut short so abruptly. You hadn’t known that you would've been separated from Arthur so quickly, so suddenly. You hadn’t known how much he loved you, how much he wanted to tell that to you.
Arthur groaned as he felt tears well up in his eyes up to the point where they started slowly falling down his face. Don’t cry, he repeatedly told himself. You’ve done enough crying. You shouldn’t cry anymore.
But despite how much he told himself otherwise, nothing was able to stop the tears from coming down his face, falling more frequently and in larger amounts until he was no longer able to hold back his grief. He let out something of a chocked sound and covered his face with his arm, falling down sideways on the couch and dropping the photo, not caring about the sound it made as it hit the floor.
His body now racked with sobs, Arthur covered his face with both hands as he cried out his misery, tears escaping his eyes and falling down his face like waterfalls, staining his hands as well as his shirt and the couch.
Oh, how much he missed you. How much he wished that things were different. How much he wanted to tell you he loved you. How much he regretted holding back until the point where it was too late. How much he wished that you were sitting right here next to him, rubbing his back affectionately, whispering into his ear, telling him that he had nothing to cry over, that you were alive. That you were safe.
Arthur lay there, sobbing miserably, for the next half hour or so. Once he finally seemed to calm himself down, letting out occasional hiccups, he got into an upright positing on trembling arms, wiping his runny nose with the back of his sleeve. He let out a sigh as he stared down at his lap in silence for the next few moments before he finally lay back down, taking one of the decorative pillows that lay on the couch and resting his head comfortably on it.
For the next few minutes he lay there on his side, staring blankly down at the photo which still lay on the floor, his cheeks stained with dry tears. Finally, he closed his eyes, which felt like heavyweights, and rolled over onto his other side.
“_____...” he murmured as he slowly drifted off to sleep, tears threatening to escape his closed eyes once again. “I...I miss you....”
The next time Arthur opened his eyes, he found himself standing in front of a large, glossy pond in the middle of a gigantic, open field, with lush grass and several trees. The sky was a vibrant shade of blue mixed with a strange lavender color, and it was filled with countless amounts of stars despite its brightness.
Am I dreaming? Arthur wondered as he continued to stand there, looking around him to take in every bit of his surroundings. Finally, he drifted his gaze back in front of him to where the pond was and slowly approached it, pausing when he was only an inch or two away from it. Its waves were calm, almost still, and it had a blue-purple color that reflected that of the sky, yet it was clearer than any other pond he had ever seen.
Arthur leaned forward just enough so that he was able to look at his reflection staring blankly back up at him, rippling slightly under the pond’s calm waves. He wasn't sure of what he was supposed to do next. Should he just stand there, staring down at his reflection in the water, or should he just wander around aimlessly to try and attempt to make the most of his time here?
At the sound of a distant, achingly familiar voice, Arthur stood upright as his eyes widened and a tiny gasp escaped his lips. Instantly, he whipped around to look toward the source of the voice, and he could've sworn he had forgotten how to breathe and his heart got caught in his throat when his eyes focused on what was in front of him. There, standing several yards away from him in the grass, smiling one of the happiest smiles he had ever seen, eyes sparkling in excitement, were you, gazing at him with such a calm expression that still managed to carry so much happiness.
Arthur took a step forward, his mouth slightly open, before he paused and rubbed both of his eyes with his hand, blinking a few times with the doubt that any of this was really happening. But as he allowed his gaze to meet yours and you gave him a tiny wave, he realized that what he was seeing was true.
After two months of being desolately separated, he was finally able to see you again.
Arthur took another step forward before he let out one of the happiest grins that he thought he was ever able to make. “_____!” he cried, feeling tears start making their way out of his eyes when he broke out into a run, his feet skimming the grass as he ran toward you with outstretched arms.
The smile on your face widened when you took a few steps forward and opened your arms just in time for Arthur to nearly slam into you. “Oof!” you grunted in surprise, taking a few steps back to prevent yourself from falling from the force of the impact. Instantly, he wrapped his arms tightly around you, nearly crushing you, and began sobbing into your shoulder.
“Oh, _-____,” Arthur gasped through his tears. “I...I never thought I would see you again...”
You let out a smile before you returned the hug a bit more softly and rested your chin on his shoulder, feeling your throat tighten with emotion and tears start to form in your eyes as well. “I didn’t think so either. Arthur, I...I missed you so much....”
Despite how reluctant he was to do so, Arthur unwillingly broke away from the hug, resting his hands on your shoulders as he looked down at you with a shocked, surprised, befuddled, amazed, content expression on his face. He gave you a weak, trembling smile as he ran a hand through your hair, forgetting how soft and smooth it felt, and you looked up at him through tear-filled eyes. “I-I missed you, too,” he choked, his voice hoarse through his crying. “_____, you don’t know how happy I am to get the chance to see you again. I...I always thought that I would never get to hear you, to see you, or hug you. you have no idea how much...how much grief I was put through after...you d-died...”
Arthur was cut off from his sentence when he felt a new wave of sobs take over him, and he let out a choked sound as he closed his eyes and bowed his head, fresh tears coming out of his eyes and falling down his face.
You gave him a soft smile as you wrapped your arms around his shoulders and leaned forward enough so that your forehead was able to press against his. “Shhh,” you soothed. “It’s okay, Arthur, it’s okay. You don’t have to cry...”
“I-I know...” Arthur murmured through his tears. “B-But it’s just that...everything has been so hard for me ever since you died, and...and I was so depressed that I didn’t know how I would've been able to manage living without you...”
“Oh, Arthur...” you said softly as you pulled him into another hug, gently massaging his back. “You know it’s not easy for me, either. Everything was so sudden that it took me a long time to finally realize that I probably never would've seen you again. I was so overcome with grief. I didn’t want this any more than you did, and I would've given anything to try and change things. But in the end, I just forced myself to accept what happened and move on, and you should, too.”
“I-I can't,” Arthur said miserably, new waves of tears replacing the old ones that were just beginning to dry. “Every time I try to move on...something comes up, a-and I just get miserable all over again. _____, I can't live without you. You mean everything to me. It’s nearly impossible for me to imagine living in a world without you.”
“Arthur,” you murmured softly. “I'm sure you can—”
But Arthur cut you off before you had the chance to finish, pulling away from the hug just enough so that he was able to meet your gaze through desperate eyes. “_____, I love you,” he gasped as he broke down into another sob. “You don’t...You don’t know how much I wanted to tell you that I loved you. More than half a year before you died, I began to think of you as someone more than just a friend, but I was too shy to admit my feelings and thought there would always be time later. But then you died, and I...I just—”
Arthur didn’t allow himself to finish his sentence before he once again pulled you into a hug, burying his face in your shirt. “I love you, _____, I love you so much,” he murmured through his tears. “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you....”
You were silent and still for a few moments, surprised by his sudden confession, before the meaning of his words finally sank into you, and you felt your knees turn weak. Tears formed on the edges of your eyes, and you made no effort to stop them as you broke down into a sob as well, wrapping your arms tightly around Arthur and pressing the side of your face against his. “Oh, Arthur, I love you too,” you said hoarsely. “I-I loved you for so long, but...but I didn’t want to tell you because I thought it would ruin our friendship. If only I had known what was going to happen to me, I-I would've told you sooner....”
The both of you continued to stand there, crying into each other’s arms, for the next few minutes, until Arthur finally seemed to calm down a bit and pulled away from you, rubbing his face with the back of his sleeve to get rid of the tears that clung to him. Once he dropped his hand back down to his side, he met your gaze through desolate eyes. You gave him a tiny, shaky smile through eyes filled with tears, and he slowly raised his trembling hand and wiped them away with the tips of his fingers.
“_____, I love you...” Arthur murmured. “I don’t want you to leave me again...”
“I won't,” you replied softly as you wrapped your arms around him. “You might not feel it, but even when you're awake, I’m always with you. It hurts me to see you so upset all the time over my death, and I want you to try and be happy. I want you to love someone else, to start a family, to put your misery over what happened behind you.”
“B-But I can't do that,” Arthur objected shakily. “Y-You mean too much to me for me to simply go out and fall in love with someone else and get rid of the pain of losing you.”
“I know it’s hard for you,” you said with a frown. “But I still want you to try and be happy even through hard times. I don’t want you to be upset anymore.” You met his gaze through expectant eyes. “Do this for me, Arthur. Please?”
Arthur stared at you in silence for a few moments, debating on what he was supposed to say next. Finally, he let out a sigh and dropped his gaze down to the ground. “I...I suppose I can. But...it’s going to take some time for me to...adjust....”
You smiled and grasped his chin with your hand, lifting it so that he was able to stare at you once again. “You can take all the time you need. I know this isn’t easy for you at all, and it isn’t easy for me, either. But remember that I'm always watching over you, even when you're awake.”
Arthur nodded, slowly lowering his gaze once again. The both of you stood there in silence for the next few moments, and his heart increased its pace when he felt his dream slowly start to fade.
“_-____...” he murmured as he looked back up to meet your gaze. “Will...Will I ever see you again?”
You nodded. “I can visit your dreams as often as I want. But I don’t want to do it every night since I still want you to live your own life when you're awake, not just when you're asleep.”
“How...How often will you visit me?” Arthur asked again, taking his trembling hands in yours.
And unsure expression came across your face. “I don’t know. I still have to think about it. But definitely more than once a year,” you said with a tiny smile.
He nodded and let out a tiny sigh. “Alright. Goodbye, _____, and happy birthday. I love you...”
You looked up at him and the smile on your face grew by only a little bit. “I love you, too. No matter how far apart we are now, I’ll always love you and I’ll always be here with you.”
Arthur stared at you in silence for a few moments, feeling himself slip further into reality. Just before he felt he was going to separate from you once again, before he could've had any other thoughts, he gently took your cheeks in his hands and leaned forward so that he was able to plant a full kiss on your lips, wrapping his arms around you and running his hand through your hair.
You were a bit taken aback at the sudden action, feeling your face heat up, until you finally returned the kiss, wrapping your arms around Arthur’s neck and closing your eyes in contentment.
Arthur finally forced himself to pull away after a few seconds, and just before his dream came to an end, he was able to look into your eyes and hear your gentle, soft voice.
“I’ll always be with you, Arthur. I promise.”
When Arthur opened his eyes again, he found himself lying in the same position on the couch that he was in before he fell asleep. Letting out a groan, he shifted over onto his other side so that he was able to get a glimpse of the time, realizing that it was a little past two in the morning. He suddenly remembered the dream that he had, and it made his throat slowly tighten just by thinking about it.
Throughout all this time, the both of you actually loved each other, and he had been unaware of it. If only he had told you he loved you, nothing would have gone wrong, and you would've still been alive.
Arthur let out a shakily sigh before he propped himself up into a sitting position, his gaze settling on the photo that still lay on the floor next to the couch. Before he could've had any other thoughts, he leaned forward and picked it up, sitting back upright and staring down at the both of you.
A desolate expression came across his face once again. You wanted him to move on, and he wanted it, too, but...it was just so hard with all these memories....
Arthur let out another sigh before he put the picture back on the side table under the lamp and stared down at his lap in silence. He was going to have to try and be happy and put your death behind him, because that was what you wanted, right? Even though he would've probably never gotten the memories that he had shared with you out of his mind, he shouldn’t let them keep him from doing the things he once loved doing.
And even though the both of you were now a whole world apart, it seemed to him that he was actually able to faintly detect your presence, sitting next to him on the couch, looking up at him with that same beautiful smile on your face.
And even though he wasn't going to see you while he was awake anymore, he was still going to see you in his dreams, right? Even if the occurrence was rare, knowing that he would've got to see you again made a smile come to his face and his grief slowly disappear.
There was still hope that Arthur would've been happy again even after all the pain he had been through over your death. He was going to find a way to move on, knowing that you were watching over him, knowing that that was what you wished.
As he stood up and began to head toward the stairs, prepared to go and get settled into bed, he was able to hear a tiny, faint, familiar voice whisper in his head...
“...I love you.”