Since he'd actually seen the rose, seen how many petals had already fallen and how quickly, it wouldn't leave his mind. Even reading with Hanana wasn't the same anymore; he wasn't fully there, his mind was divided between her and the story, and his situation.
It wasn't very easy or pleasant to think about. Firstly, there was himself...rather, what he was now. He couldn't say he hated it, not really. It took getting used to, and he couldn't say he completely didn't mind it...but it was alright. A few years of solitude and he felt fine being alone. And it had its benefits, he supposed...he usually didn't feel pain, not til yesterday, he healed quickly, he could go anywhere during a snowstorm and be fine (heatwaves were another story, but it was merely unpleasant, not deadly, which was another plus). And while he didn't always use them--actually, he rarely used them at all in the past few years, but the odd freezing powers were nice. Even if he didn't freeze people to death, at least it meant no one would hurt him. Heck, Yukiki figured he could be walking through the worst town in the world, with all the worst criminals, and he'd be fine. No one would dare mug him or attack him, and even if they did, he'd be fine!
Why would he want to become a human?
On the other hand, there was a nagging guilt over those thoughts. The apprentice enchantress had been so upset over the situation, had given him extra years to try and turn back, that it almost felt like he was slapping her in the face to just give in. Again, he didn't particularly want to change back, but he didn't like taking someone's expectations for him and just crushing them like that.
So...it was almost like he should be obligated to at least try to change back.
Get Hanana to care for him like that.
Which only brought up another problem: Hanana. Say he did make an attempt to break the enchantment. That would just be using her. She'd be a pawn, not a friend. And then--and his stomach twisted at this thought--if she found out, what would she think of him? She'd question if he really care for her at all. She might cry. She might go away and never come back.
He couldn't do that to her. She didn't deserve to be a pawn for his own gain. He respected her, cared for her, too much for that.
And say he decided to explain what had happened to him, say he used to be a human like she was. Say he told her what the enchantress told him. Then she'd feel obligated to him, she'd pity him, not love him. And that'd be horrible--he'd rather have her offer nothing but friendship and common courtesy than her feel pity for him.
Really, it was beginning to give him a headache.
"Are you alright?"
"Mm?" Yukiki looked up from the table to see Hanana peering anxiously at him, the book closed.
"You didn't try to turn the page before I was done," she explained. "Or tell me to try and read faster. You weren't really focused, were you?" she asked, not accusingly.
He looked away.
Hanana smiled a little, putting her hand on his arm. It made his chest feel weird. "It's okay if you don't want to today. Sometimes we're just not in a right mood for things. I won't be upset if you don't want to read with me."
"I like being--reading with you. I like reading with you," he said hastily. Ugh, where'd that come from? "I'm just...thinking."
"Must be something important," Hanana said, sounding like she understood. She probably did, he told himself. She was...just like that. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not particularly," he said before he could stop himself. He winced a little, rubbing a hand over his eyes, suddenly feeling very tired. "I'm sorry, that came out wrong--"
"N-No, it's okay," she interrupted. Clearly seeing they weren't going to get any further in the book, she got up to return it to the shelf. "We'll continue later...Do you want to be alone to think?" she asked.
"That'd...that'd be nice," he muttered, shoulders slumping as he hid his face in his hands. He didn't feel right, thinking about the situation, her, with her in the same room. It just made him feel guilty.
"I'll leave you alone then." He could hear the soft smile in her voice. Damn, why'd she have to be so...nice? He felt her pat his shoulder before she walked away--probably to the garden. He inhaled a shuddering breath. "Hanana, wait."
"Yes?" She stopped, turned to look at him. He didn't look back. When he spoke again, his voice sounded distant.
"I...the storm's going to stop soon," he answered at last. "I can feel it. When it does...when it does I'll take you home. To the edge of the forest."
"O-Oh...okay," she said, feeling strangely disappointed. "Thank you in advance."
He could only nod weakly. As she went outside, shutting the door behind her, he let his head drop to the table, smacking his forehead again. You idiot, he thought bitterly.
Hanana didn't walk idly around this time.
She went straight along the path, marching towards that blue rose, the only one with its petals missing. She'd seen it the first time she was out here, but had kept silent about it. It seemed rude to point out what could be perceived as a flaw about one's garden, especially if the owner was being nice enough to grant her access as well.
But something was definitely odd about it.
"Of all the flowers in here," she asked in a hushed tone, dropping to a crouch before it. "Why are you the only one dying?" She reached out for it, as if to touch it, but a petal shuddered and fell before she even made contact.
Inside the house, Yukiki felt his heart stutter a little.