Guts and All.
"I don't hate your guts," Harry tells me, lying beside me on the too-small bed. "They actually fascinate me."
"Weirdo," I say, turn my head to look at him.
"I can't deny it," he says.
"Then don't," I smirk and go to looking at the ceiling. "Can we turn out the lights yet?"
"Not yet," Harry shakes his head. "A few more minutes."
I sigh and close my eyes. "It's too bright."
"You're just not used to it," he says, "and you're ruining your eyes."
"Right now?" I ask, opening my eyes again and blinking rapidly in the too bright fluorescents.
"No," he smiles, shakes his head, "you never work in the proper light. Everytime you read in the dark—"
"I do not," I protest.
"Nearly so," he amends. "Every time you read in very, very dim lighting—"
"I get a headache," I interject.
"That is your eyes telling you that you are ruining them," he says. "You should be listening."
"I am listening," I mumble, "it's just not telling me what I want to hear."
He moves his hand down to grasp mine against the sheets. "That is because your ears are mad at your eyes because sometimes they see things they shouldn't and—"
"And what?" I interrupt.
"And they are jealous," he finishes. "Don't interrupt."
"Sorry," I say, feel duly chastised even though his tone hadn't changed.
"Don't go like that," Harry says, squeezes our fingers together. I can feel his neat fingernails in my palm.
"Sorry," I say again, but mean it this time and don't feel bad. "Can we turn out the lights yet?"
"Yes," Harry says, reaching beside the bed for the lights. Instantly the room goes to dark and I turn my eyes up to the ceiling. What seems like a million little lights is actually just a hundred or so glow-in-the-dark stars pressed securely against the gypsum tile ceiling.
I squeeze his hand and he squeezes back, and for the first time I can remember since being in here I am actually happy for something that we did together.
"It's…" I trail off, not sure how to finish.
"It's what?" Harry presses, his socked feet touching my bare ones.
"It's perfect," I say, smile up at the stars even as they aren't as bright as they were before.
"Hold on," he says, puts his hand over my eyes.
"Harry?" I ask, but don't try to move.
"I'm fixing something," he fumbles noisily and then I can see light in the cracks between his fingers.
I wait, and then I hear the light go out and he takes away his hand. The stars are still bright, now, it's like they will never go out as long as Harry keeps recharging them for me.
"Harry?" I ask, softly.
"Yes?" he replies, equally soft.
"I don't want you to go," I say.
"I know," he says, "I don't want to go either."
"Don't go?" I ask, knowing I am needing and won't get what I am wanting either.
I can hear the sad look on his face in his voice but he pretends to be bright anyway. "Won't go yet."
"Never," I say to myself.
"Sometime," he says, startles me. "Have to."
I can't think of anything to say so I sigh.
It seems to say enough because he squeezes my hand again and leans his head on my shoulder. I feel a trickle of wetness through my thin tee shirt and realize that Harry is crying.
I take my free hand, the one not tangled in his and try to wipe the tear. It ends up into his eye instead but I can feel his smiling cheek against my palm.
"I really do love your guts, you know," he says.
"I know," I say, smooth his hair.
"All of them, including your spleen," he continues.
"I know that too," I say, "even if the spleen is a decidedly worthless organ."
"It is not useless," he protests, "it is responsible for purifying abnormal blood cells."
I snort. "Your heart can do that too."
"Your heart has a lot of other responsibilities," Harry points out, logically, as always. "Like moving that blood around. It doesn't have the time to filter through the bad stuff. The spleen has an important job."
"Any organ that looks like the lovechild of a potato and an egg has a lot to make up for," I finally decide.
Harry rolls his eyes, then rolls over on top of me to press at a spot just underneath my ribs. "This is an important spot."
I swat at his hand but I am effectively pinned in place by his legs and his arms and the fact I don't really want to get away.
"So is this," Harry goes up higher, presses down on my sternum. "This protects your insides."
"I know this," I tell him, "you tell me this everyday to be pray and be thankful for my ribs because they protect my softness."
Harry stops, then smiles. "I am glad you take my word to heart."
"That," I point out, "is not an organ."
He opens his mouth to speak but changes his mind and traces a finger down my cold clavicle. "I should watch what I say."
"You should," I agree. "One of these times you're going to regret it."
"I already do," he says, pushes back to look me in the face. "God, you're so—"
A woman knocks at the door and tells Harry softly that visiting hours are up. He sighs, presses a short kiss to my lips. My hands are trailing on his skin anxious for some way to keep him.
He pulls his shoes on, looks back at me. "I'll see you tomorrow?"
I smile. "Guts and all."
The door shuts behind him with finality.
I flip out the lights again, watching as the stars glow brightly for a while, then they die into nothing.