How long had it been?
His finger twitched as Ichise stirred, eyes vaguely opening into narrowed slits.
The flower was still twirling near his hand, projected from his arm, as it had been when he went to sleep.
He has been asleep then.
How did he know that though? Maybe he was dead. Maybe this was death - consigned to one spot in the darkness. Left with useless feelings and dreams.
"His" fingers twitched. Yes, it was his hand. It had proved that. It was Doc's hand too. He couldn't even fully possess his body parts now.
He continued to lay there, curling up just a bit tighter now, drawing knees to his chest. What good would it do to get up?
He looked away from the flower, towards the darkened and silent city. The streets were deathly quiet, the constant hum of machinery and voices now silenced for good. But, on the landscape, the white beacon of the Obelisk still stood like a pale reproachful finger, mocking something within the darkened sky above.
"His" fingers twitched once more and he drew the hand with a slow, grating scrape against the ground closer to his body.
Would the flower leave him too? He assumed it would eventually.
Everything left eventually, didn't it? Constant things are only for wishes.
His eyes snapped wider, his expression remaining the same.
His eyes relaxed, lids lowering halfway over their brightness. "Am I?" came the soft, low flow of his words. His voice was already so alien to him.
"I wanted to die."
The words stung, even now. He pressed his lips together a long moment before murmuring, "I know."
And then the silence returned. Thick and heavy in it's unnatural quality. But the voice that had broke it before and now broke it again was just as unnatural, the quiet tone of a girl.
"They wanted a guardian." The voice sounded withdrawn, despondent and gently informative. "I could only see, I could not prevent." And then the voice dipped, softer than he had ever heard it in life. "You came back for me."
There didn't seem to be any need for response. Ichise curled "his" hand into a light fist, gazing at it. "Yes." He pressed his lips together quickly and swallowed, feeling the tickle of tears in his eyes.
Slowly Ichise flattened "his" hand against the ground, using it to slowly raise into a sitting position, back leaned against the nearby column once more. He gazed out over the city, his voice melodic and wistful, "It's beautiful there, Ran. I had never seen the sky. It's quiet. I thought we could be happy there."
His skin prickled, as if someone were standing close. He didn't turn his face though until the warm, full weight of a hand touched his shoulder.
She looked alive enough. She stood next to him, the off-white edge of her sleeve against his shoulder. "I told you what I saw. It was a futile effort."
He directed his gaze to her face, tears standing and expression mild. "I know." He cautiously began to raise his own hand - his real hand, the true piece of himself. The girl didn't move and soon his palm cupped her cheek, tips of fingers brushing locks of red hair.
His voice was mild, "After my father died, I learned anger. I was angry at him for leaving me. And for helping kill my mother." He paused. "I looked alive. But... Ran .... with you, I was alive."
The girl said nothing to this and Ichise couldn't help but dissolve into his fearful tone, "Let me come with you."
Her lids slowly lowered and her expression softened by degrees. "I'm dead."
His lips curved very slightly at their edges. "I know."
There was a long silence ... and then Ran's face slowly crumbled into a sorrowful expression, the girl dropping her hand and dropping to her knees beside Ichise. "Ichise."
Ichise's hand pulled back from her face as she went to her knees, quickly catching her around the waist. He pulled her quickly into him, pressing his face into her shoulder. Tears slowly tipped down his cheeks as he tightened his arms around the slim girl's waist.
Slowly, a pale hand came to rest against his cheek.
"I'll follow you anywhere."
And so, Ichise closed his eyes and a final hush stole over the former city of Lux, now laid to waste and ruin with only the echo of one last, determined voice remaining.
"I'll be your guardian angel."