Thirty Six [The Race]

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It's impossible.

You know that it's absolutely, utterly impossible for the voice you've just heard to belong to your estranged lover, but the numbing sensation that consumes your heart and spreads to your fingertips begs for your reconsideration. Your breath feels icy when you inhale, the type of frigid element that is so cold it actually burns you. The single word with two syllables that's just been shouted into the darkness repeats until the volume shrinks away into obscurity and it isn't until the echoing inside of your skull stops that you can feel the brick from the wall scratching against your sweaty palm.

You whip your head over your shoulder to squint at the inky figure frozen in the shadows, the flickering strobe effect from the streetlight overhead making it difficult to focus on one aspect of his body at a time. He takes a single step forward, his boot settling into the ground and grinding against lose asphalt as he slowly reaches up to grip the helmet veiling his face and hair.

Harry gently maneuvers the sadistic armor from his head, hazelnut coffee waves tumbling all the way down to brush his shoulders and his skin having retreated back to its waxen state due to whatever conditions he's been living in. Dark circles underscore his bottom rows of lashes and fading scars litter his eyebrow and top lip. But his mouth is just as curved, plush and intoxicating. His eyes are just as piercing, "it's me. It's-" The submarine rumble of his voice is just as enticing and restoring.

It's almost as if you can feel the actual vibration of your brain moments before it blanks out and shuts down completely, each one of your limbs going numb in succession before your sight is caved in with static electricity and you're collapsing to the ground in a limp, unconscious heap.

Harry could see you losing the battle with dizziness before your balance wavered and your legs gave out completely, his helmet tossed aside before he's sprinting the final few footsteps towards you and catching you one second before your head has the chance to smack against the pavement.

He can't possibly imagine how much you're feeling or thinking in this moment; on top of undergoing the disturbing wickedness of fearing for your life, he knows that you have probably mourned his death and journeyed all the same stages of grief that he had spent years residing in. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression. Except within the realm of this civilization, there is no final scuffle with acceptance. It is impossible to accept the level of prejudice that is forced upon you by the burden of another's blindness.

He had pictured your handling of the repercussions a thousand times over, how you would lose sleep and not show up for work, how you would skip meals and cry into your pillow until it had saturated but not healed your sadness. He had done it all throughout his lifetime. He empathizes with the experience of living a nightmare and having everything you've ever loved ripped away in a split second and it feels like absolute shit. You are the strongest and most adamant person he's ever met so he knows that you will eventually be okay, but he also understands the gravitational pull and severity of the emotional turmoil you've experienced. He is prepared to hold your hand as you dig your way back out of this pit of despair you've fallen into, to relearn how to trust his presence and refurbish a semblance of consistency in your life.

Harry has the convenience of the marginal upper-hand in this blindsiding moment. As if he were a soldier drafted for and returning unexpectedly from war, he knows everything that he's seen and been through. He knows that he's been alive this entire time and he had the advantage of knowing the danger that lied ahead for you tonight, but you've been kept in the dark and driven wild with skepticism over his livelihood. You questioned yourself and your eternal bond, you questioned your strength and resilience, you questioned your own reasons for living and weighed the options of what to do with your meaningless life now that every significance had been stolen away from you.

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