All he can see is red. Not, mind you, that the scene in his mind is tinted scarlet; rather, the world is monochrome save the brilliant reds: the tiny wildflowers in the field nearby, the trim of his sensei’s outfit, the blood spattered all over the ground.

Kotetsu is already holding him when he wakes, stroking his hair and whispering the practiced litany born of countless nights just like this. “It’s all over, Izumo, that happened such a long time ago, I know it’s hard but everything’s okay now, no one’s dying, everyone’s fine…”

“He had your face.” Izumo clings to his best friend in the dark, hides from that blood-drenched world of his nightmares and sobs. “He had your face!”

Kotetsu could reassure him, but both know the scenario is an all-too-real possibility. He tightens the embrace and just rocks, as though Izumo is a child, until the other man’s sobs die down.

“You’re not going to get yourself killed, right?” He shouldn’t ask it, but he can’t help himself.

“I promise you that I’ll fight to my last breath to come back to you. You know that.”

Kotetsu kisses him, warm and reassuring, and Izumo dreams in Technicolor.

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