It takes some time to put them up at home, and they have to go on the ceiling because his room doesn’t have beams to accommodate them, but Akira stretches up on his tiptoes and presses another little star onto the ceiling above his bed.
There are two quick knocks against his bedroom door, and then his mother is peering in. “We’re going out to–” She stops, looks at the stars on the ceiling as Akira carefully climbs down from where he’s standing on the mattress. “Akira. Don’t put those up. They’ll leave residue when you take them down.”
“Sorry.” He sits down on the edge of the bed and looks up at her, hand curling around the remaining stars lying on his bed.
Her lips are pinched into a frown, and she sighs before continuing. “We’re going out. We won’t be back until late, so don’t wait up.”
Akira nods. “Have a good time.”
She leaves the door open when she leaves, and Akira waits until he hears the car start outside before he goes to close it. She doesn’t do it on purpose, he’s sure. She just hasn’t lived with him for a year. She doesn’t know what he’s been through. She never will.
He looks across the room, looks at the stars scattered about his ceiling. He has no intention of taking them down.
He finishes putting them up instead, and turns the light off when he’s finished. They’ve been collecting just enough light that they glow faintly in the almost darkness. It reminds him of Leblanc. It reminds him of the planetarium. It reminds him of the place that has come to feel like home itself, and the people that have come to feel like family, and more.
Why is it, he wonders, that that almost feels better than what he has here?
He misses them, that’s all. He had missed his parents and friends here at first, too. The hollow feeling in his chest will soothe over in time.
Besides, it’s not as though they’re gone forever or anything.
Akira reaches for his phone off the desk and snaps a picture. It’s of him, in that almost darkness, with the stars barely visible in the picture. He tests out some filters and decides against it, sending the photo as is. It’s imperfect, but honest. No more masks. Of any kind.
He’s barely settled back into bed to gaze up at the stars before his phone chirps. He picks it up from the bed and pushes his glasses up his nose to read it better.
Now that IS a true work of art.
He only just stifles his laugh.
No, they aren’t gone forever. They are still with him, even after the end. Even after they have no reason to be, they are still there. He is still there.
Akira smiles, closes his eyes. Rests his phone on his chest and places his hands over it protectively.