“Hey…” he says, taking his last few steps for the night before collapsing in the warm embrace of the wooden summer air.
“Kiri… you’re really gonna poison yourself one of these nights, if you keep pushing yourself like that…”
“What doesn’t kill me… hicc… makes meeewronger~…” he rolls onto his back with a faux merry look on his face, that last about as long as it needs to for the spirit nearby to draw it in.
He turns his head, the corners of his lips dropping fast, and a rueful look setting in upon those deep-set garnet orbs.
“Kiri…” the spirit says. It lowers downward until it’s resting right before the kitsune’s face, setting sparkles in his eyes and onyx nose. “You’re never gonna find her if you keep acting like this.”
He turns away.
The spirit draws near again, then stops.
“I know. I know that.” He mumbles, to himself more than anything. The points of his ears descend, toward the ground, far away from his proud snout.
“Then why?” The spirit’s voice echos, far too innocent to understand.
“Because,” he finally says. “Only I can put an end to this trail.”
The dagger at his side beckons his paw. His tail lifts a twitch, then settles back down.
No amount of toxin or goon can spell my end. The pen is in my hand. That is my blessing. And my curse.”
The spirit wavers, still not quite getting it. “Then why do you act like you want to die?”
“Because I do. But I can’t. I’m not ready yet. So I give myself this little pain, to forget the greater one. The one that’ll never go away until I reach the end.”
“Oh…” the spirit says, understanding finally setting in. It drifts forward, then settles into the space made by the kitsune’s two bent elbows and his drifting chest. “I’m sorry, Kiri…”
A sad smile sprouts upon his muzzle, and a watery twinkle sets in upon his eyes. His paw drifts down to comfort the little wisp. “You’ve done nothing but comfort me; don’t apologize now.”
With his paw he sweeps the light inward closer, and the two hold each other there that night, until the next dawn comes.