She will see him change. Slowly, very slowly, so that the changes will appear inevitable—or unnoticeable—to any who do not know his body so intimately. She will compare him every morning to the man who fell asleep the previous night and when the first gray comes and the others follow she will be waiting for them, an enemy more dangerous and more insidious than the Reapers ever were. An enemy that is also an ally; a constant; a truth; a reality. Time.
He will ask her if he has gained weight. He will turn sideways in front of a mirror and she will tell him exactly how much weight he has gained since the night before, then exactly how much he has gained since the year before, then exactly how much he has gained since they first met. ‘Not like I can go pump some iron with Beefbags McLargeHuge or anything,’ he will grumble, a sparkle in his eye.
That sparkle is life. And age is a facet of life. Change is made of age. Literally.
She will observe the hair on his belly. She will take note of the length of his stubble. She will allow him to be stubborn until his stubbornness becomes detrimental to his well-being, and then she will supply the crutches. They will make his forearms sore. They will rub the skin until it is raw and he will cool it against her, resting his wrist upon her stomach, until they are both warmer than they were before.
Before. A nebulous concept. After. There is only one certainty.
She will not grow old with him. He will change on the outside and remain remarkably similar on the inside, whereas she will metamorphose opposite to his progression. She will still look the same, but he will change her breath by breath beneath the derma, where the truth lies. Fear is the truth.
He will die.
And he knows this; he is smarter than he pretends to look, and he knows this. Yet still, despite the knowledge, there are thousands of photographs, memories in time, of them laughing. Not without a care. With every care. His funny eyebrows. The weight he has gained. The crutches he grouchily came to accept. His arm around her. Warming each other, skin to artificial skin.
She will live. And listen to his steady heart. Love, laughter, aches, pleasures. Change.
you know my life was going pretty ok for a while and then YOU CAME ALONG ALL FINE AND DANDY LIKE “let me just leave this here” WELL SCREW YOU WE DON’T EVEN HAVE ICE CREAM IN THIS HOUSE WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?