Not long after EnEi, I fell for the Sharryamu ship pretty hard. Both canon and fanart did it in for me. Their love/hate relationship intrigues me, so here's a bunch of oneshots about everyone's favorite swordsman and magician.
And because I like a little challenge, I'll name every chapter title after a song I feel is suitable for the theme or situation.
Suggested music to hear while reading:
"Did I Make the Most of Loving You?" from Downton Abbey
Halves of a Whole (1)
Did I Make the Most of Loving You?
Sharrkan first heard the fall of scrolls against stone. He rolled his eyes. Typical Yamuraiha, clumsy on foot, which explained her preference for getting around with Gravity magic. Then he heard the heavy thud of a body. Sharrkan broke into a run. He rounded the corner and found Yamuraiha kneeling on the floor, one hand pressed against her stomach and the other over her mouth.
Real concern replaced the urge to make his usual snide remark. He frowned. "Hey, you all right?"
She didn't answer. Instead she shuddered and threw up blood. He cried out her name and rushed to catch her before she collapsed. Bright red drops splashed onto his shirt, but he paid no heed to the mess. Sharrkan raised his voice over her coughing, his panic and plea for help fortunately overheard by Drakon and Hinahoho, who happened to pass by.
The next thing he knew, Yamuraiha was confined in bed, with Sinbad having everyone gathered outside the infirmary to give away the bad news. It shocked none of them; nevertheless sorrow left them reeling. Sharrkan found himself affected most of all.
"She's...dying...?" And there was nothing any of them could do. Part of him expected this to happen, but he still didn't want to believe it.
Magic, the thing she loved most, was killing her. The price she paid for protecting Sindria was a hefty, heavy one. It would cost her life. One who lived by the sword also died by the sword...Sharrkan of all people knew that and accepted it better than anyone else. It was the same for Yamuraiha.
Sharrkan trembled head to toe, and clenched a fist as rage mounted within him. "This isn't fair..." he muttered. Then he shouted, "This is so unfair, damn it!"
Sinbad regarded him with genuine sympathy. "Yamuraiha was well aware of the consequences. Still, she gives it her all for the good of Sindria. It was only a matter of time...she was ready for this from the very beginning."
"I know that, but..." Words failed Sharrkan and he could only glare at the floor in helpless rage.
Sobering solemnity reigned over Sinbad and his friends that day. Sharrkan couldn't bring himself to visit Yamuraiha. It was only after the other Generals had seen her that he mustered the courage to take his turn.
After squaring his shoulders and sucking a shaky breath, he stole into the infirmary as quietly as he could. True to what the Generals before him had said, she was still unconscious. Yamuraiha laid in bed with her eyes closed, her pale skin even paler in fatigue and sickness. Sharrkan knelt at her bedside. He heard her pained, labored breathing and the sound made his heart wrench. He tried to come up with the right words to say, but he found himself choked up with emotion that took him aback.
Yamuraiha was dying...she will die soon...she'll be dead...
Sharrkan couldn't come to terms with that awful truth. Why here? Why now?
He reached out to hold her hand. It felt cold and limp in his grip. "Hey...Yamuraiha...it's me, the sword-swinging bonehead. We always fight...but that's the thing, you know? I can't get along with people I like." Sharrkan couldn't compose himself anymore. The reality of her impending death forced its full weight upon him and he cracked. Tears flowed unchecked down his face. "I always call you weak and arrogant and nasty, but none of that's true. I'm such an idiot. What I wanted to say..." His throat tightened, rendered speechless for a moment. He grit his teeth and went on, "What I've always wanted to say is that you're strong and beautiful and amazing. Saying it too late will make me regret this for the rest of my life."
"Better late than never."
Sharrkan jerked his head up and gasped. Was he imagining things? He thought he heard her voice, barely heard through the blood pounding in his ears.
Yamuraiha stirred, and the first thing she saw was his tear-streaked face.
Sharrkan was astonished. "You...you heard me?"
"I heard everything." Her eyes watered. "Is it all true? Do you really feel that way about me?"
He squeezed her hand. "Yeah. I do."
Yamuraiha squeezed back with as much strength she could muster. Sharrkan barely felt it. Being a fighter reliant on magic, she had never been physically strong. Even now, the little strength she had would fade soon. Her smile vanished when a coughing fit seized her. Her eyes screwed shut in pain and she gasped for breath. Sharrkan helped her sit up and rubbed her back until the fit subsided. Sharrkan used a wet cloth to dab away the blood running down her eyes and mouth.
She sounded ashamed and embarrassed. "I'm sorry...you have to see me like this..."
"I don't care. You still look gorgeous."
Sharrkan had never been this nice to her. How long he had been keeping his feelings bottled up? Had he always felt this way? She wished she could see more to this side of him. She wished for more time, but her failing body wouldn't allow it. That remained the sole regret in her heart.
Sharrkan caressed her cheek with one hand, and she turned her head a little to let it become her second pillow. He wanted Yamuraiha to save her breath; for a long time neither of them said anything. Yamuraiha's eyes fluttered shut again. Sharrkan worried that she had left the world without his notice.
"Yamuraiha? You're still here?"
"Yes...I think so..." Even the simple upward movement of her eyes elicited a grimace of pain from her. "Since when did you dye your hair red? You look like Masrur."
Sharrkan's heart broke upon hearing that. He couldn't bear to tell her that the blood filming her eyes was to blame. He merely cracked a weak smile at her, taking it as a joke.
Yamuraiha turned her dimming gaze to the ceiling, fixed on something Sharrkan couldn't see. "They're flying all around me now. The Rukh. I'll be joining them soon."
His chest tightened. The last thing he wanted to hear from her was reassurance beyond his understanding, about her returning to the great flow of Rukh or whatever.
She looked back to him. "Before that happens...I want to cherish these last moments with you...while I still can."
Tears pricked his eyes. "Of course. I'm not going anywhere. I won't leave you, Yamuraiha." Then Sharrkan felt her shiver. "What's wrong?"
"I...I feel cold..." Her brow knitted in mixed pain and confusion, as if she didn't expect to feel this way.
Without letting go of her hand, Sharrkan pulled her into his arms. He cradled her in his embrace, her head resting against his chest. "Better?" he asked.
Yamuraiha smiled and made a weak nod. Sharrkan never slackened his hold on her and held her close. He pressed a tender kiss on her forehead and buried his face into her hair. Yamuraiha wanted to kiss him back, but her failing strength made her settle for pressing her cheek against his warm skin.
Time seemed to stop, but both of them knew it had to go on, and so will her life. Finally, the rise and fall of her chest slowed to a stop, and the only woman Sharrkan ever loved never opened her eyes again. The greatest swordsman of Sindria felt his heart break into pieces that'd never mend, and wept like a baby.