The first time Sho convinces Nino to let him hear his voice, it’s like a croak, raspy from misuse, and it’s also very very quiet. All the while Nino is playing with his cards and doesn’t look up until Sho taps his shoulder to catch his attention and signs: I like your voice
Nino has never been able to hear, which doesn’t mean that the idea of sound doesn’t intrigue him. He doesn’t miss it, obviously, because you can’t miss what you’ve never had. He does wonder how it would feel like to hear when Sho lets him press his fingers against his throat while he speaks.
The vibrations under his fingertips are similar to the ones he feels when he tries to use his own voice. He does it when he is alone, locked in the bathroom, his fingers on his own throat.
He imagines that words are like shapes and that everyone has a unique way of coloring them with their voices. Ohno would definitively be blue and Sho something warm but not bright and maybe a bit boring, like brown.
Once, he tells his theory to Aiba. Aiba seems to think about it for a while before he replies. If words can be signs or marks on a paper, they could be colors too. Then he wonders whether they could make a machine that would transform sounds into drawings. He knows there is one that transforms screams into paper cups; he read it on the internet once. Nino nods even though it’s not exactly what he meant but he is not sure what he means anyway.
My voice would have been yellow or green maybe, Aiba signs. I wonder about yours?
Nino shakes his head at the suggestion and it reminds him that Aiba used to talk. He always looks so sad, though, when he is thinking about voices and speaking or the past that Nino has never asked why he ever stopped. Aiba tells everyone about everything all the time; if there’s one thing he would rather keep for himself, Nino will let him.
Sho is another story, but after all he has just met Aiba so he doesn’t know like Nino knows. Nino doesn’t need to hear to guess what Sho has just asked Aiba when he watches Aiba tense.
He is surprised, however, when he sees Aiba reply on a piece of paper.
there was a fire and my parents died. i got my awesome grand-parents though!!!!! but it’s like the words have gotten stuck to my throat somehow. :O
Aiba tells him later, when Sho is gone, that if Nino thinks voices are like watercolors then Aiba’s is probably grey after all, like dirt and smoke and ruins. It’s like the memories are burning his throat until only ashes are left. Nino doesn’t know what to reply so he hugs Aiba and shows him a new magic trick.
It’s not the same with Jun because Sho has learnt to just wait like Ohno does. They are all here when Jun tells them about the accident, his father falling asleep at the wheel, and how he had moved around a lot, his parents searching for a way to recover his sight.
Unlike Nino, he does miss it, seeing people’s face, the landscapes or just where the next wall is.
Jun seems to regret those last words because he awkwardly adds that he might get a guide dog but he isn’t sure because animals don’t usually like him.
Aiba excitedly makes Sho tell Jun that he should ask for a monkey instead and Sho has to ask Aiba to write it down because he is not sure he understands everything. Because they are better to help fetch stuff than dogs!!!!
Nino signs that maybe Aiba can be Jun’s monkey. Aiba nods approvingly but Sho flatly refuses to report it to Jun.
Nino asks Aiba which color Jun’s voice is to distract Aiba from the new idea, not because he feels responsible for it but because he is genuinely curious. Sho looks at Nino weirdly but Aiba replies almost immediately purple.
Nino thinks it’s a weird color for a voice.
They are sitting on Nino’s bed with the lights on. Nino is cross-legged and bored because Sho is leaning on pillows and finishing one of his readings for a lecture the day after. He decides on making hand shadows to pass the time. A rabbit. A bird. A dog. A dog that tries to bite Sho.
The dog reminds him of Jun, which reminds him of Aiba’s purple and grey but also of his simple question.
I wonder about yours?
Nino also wonders. It’s fun to imagine Sho’s or Ohno’s but he has never been able to think about his own.
He taps on Sho’s shoulder. Sho signs him one more second but Nino feels restless so he doesn’t stop poking until Sho sighs and puts his book down on the nightstand. He straightens, pushes his glasses back up his nose and looks at Nino.
Nino makes another dog that also tries to bite Sho. Sho lets out a small smile but Nino can see he is slightly annoyed too because instead of waiting for Nino to talk he asks ‘what’s wrong?’
You’ve heard my voice, right?
Sho pushes his glasses up again as he nods.
Then what color do you think it is?
Nino plays with his fingers before he signs, I imagine that words are like shapes, and voices like colors.
‘Oh,’ Sho says. One of his hands comes to rest on his mouth. He is looking up and away as he thinks so Nino can’t tell him that it’s a silly idea after all, so he just waits, watching Sho’s finger gently tap against his lip.
Light blue maybe? Sho finally signs. It’s not that Nino has a clear idea of what he expected but that’s probably not it.
Yeah, I don’t know. Don’t you like it?
Isn’t Ohno’s blue?
Ah, really? I don’t know. Sho scratched the back of his head before he goes on: I’m not good at those things.
Then what would be Ohno’s?
Ohno would probably be green. Nino is surprised at the rapidity of Sho’s answer but Sho continues. But I wonder about Aiba’s. Sho laughs suddenly. Jun is definitively purple.
That’s what Aiba said.
Really? Maybe it’s because Jun wears a lot of purple.
Now that he thinks about it, Nino wonders how Jun choses his clothes. Does someone help him? Maybe he keeps his clothes in a color coded order?
Sho taps his shoulder and Nino looks at him. What did he say about mine?
We didn’t talk about yours, Mr Flying.
Sho is only slightly scowling but it’s enough for Nino to laugh because he ends up looking like a middle-aged professor.
Mine would be red or—
Sho’s scowling deepens and Nino isn’t sure if it’s because of the color itself or because Sho hasn’t recognized the sign so he grabs the notebook and pen on the bedside table and writes brown like that disgusting coffee you drink. like that worn-out coat you stubbornly wear. like that chocolate you gobble at the library. lik——
Sho has snatched the notebook and there is a long line across the page. Sho’s frown starts by deepening even further, if that’s even possible, but then it slowly smoothens over until Sho’s lips quirk upward. He pinches his lips to stop the smile from spreading but Nino sees it anyway.
Why light blue then? Nino can't help himself but ask.
Sho hesitates for a few seconds. Because it’s soft.