Paradox
A Full Moon o Sagashite Fanfiction
By Azurite
sailor_andromida@yahoo.com

A couple of notes before we begin...

(1) SPOILERS UP TO THE END OF THE ANIME SERIES! Yes yes, I know the anime isn't done yet, but I've seen up to 34, heard about episodes 35-49, and I have a pretty good guess as to what will happen in 50-52. Of course, being a fanfiction writer, I take some liberties with what I haven't seen... and obviously, there are differences between the anime and the manga. This is anime based, as I've *just* started reading the manga. Keep that in mind, please?

(2) I call it 'Full Moon o Sagashite' because the character for 'o' used is not PRONOUNCED nor WRITTEN as 'wo' when romanized. The 'w' is merely added to differentiate between the other 'o' syllable in the Japanese language, which is much newer. The older 'o' is used as a particle for verbs-- for example, verbs like 'sagashite.' For the record, 'sagashite' does NOT mean 'Searching,' but 'Sagaru' does. 'Sagaru' can also mean 'To search for,' but NOT 'In Search of.' Get it? The te-from of verbs is incomplete; it's usually used to LIST things, or be followed by a verb that indicates tense. Essentially, it's impossible to translate the title of FMoS. ^^;

(3) I DO NOT OWN FMoS! Arina Tanemura does-- you know her well; she's the author of such hits as 'Kamizake Kaitou Jeanne' and 'Time Stranger Kyoko.' But I refuse to put this fanfiction in the KKJ section because IT DOESN'T BELONG THERE! Regardless of sharing the same author, the two animes/mangas are ENTIRELY different, and FMoS fics DO NOT belong in the KKJ section. Keep petitioning the people at FFnet to add a FMoS section! Members of the LiveJournal community meroko have emailed the people at ffnet (newcategory@fanfiction.net) with the reasons why we need an FMoS section, and what fics they have (seen) for it... now you should do the same!

(4) This is SO my idea. I didn't spend 6 hours watching FMoS so someone could steal my idea. I work hard on my fanfiction; I do my best to spell chec, be thorough, accurate, and entertaining. As always, I plan on posting this on my site once everything gets cleaned up. Do pay a visit to it if you have the free time, and if you like this, review! It keeps me writing! =D

...and now, on with the story...

I wonder what happened to her... the lead singer of Route L... after the band broke up, no one heard from her ever again...

"Wakaouji-sensei was in Route L with papa... oh, I wish I knew more about Papa..."

Mitsuki turned over as she slept, mumbling to herself. Her arms were wrapped around herself in a vain attempt to warm her body; despite the blankets piled on top of her, the young girl was prone to getting night chills, even in these warm nights. She didn't have much time left, after all... spring was here, and if anything, Kouyama Mitsuki had only a few more weeks to go before the sarcoma in her throat killed her.

Slouched not far away from her bedside, the Shinigami Takuto sat, eyes wide open. As of late, he'd been questioning everything-- why didn't he need to sleep, eat, or breathe? Why did he become a Shinigami? Why... why did Mitsuki have to die? Why did HE have to be the one to take her soul?

She didn't deserve to die. She hadn't even begun to LIVE yet.

Yet she says she's had no regrets. She's gotten to sing, she knows the truth about Eichi... But how can she regret what she hasn't had the chance to do? Mitsuki...

Takuto's gaze was tender, yet in the depths of his eyes lay sympathy, and an undying sadness. Anyone who had the ability to see a god of death such as Takuto might have wondered what caused the boy to look so very pained.

*Earlier*

"...want to thank you very much for all of your support. I'll never forget any of you, and I hope more than anything that you won't forget me. I love you all." Full Moon -otherwise known as Mitsuki- bowed deeply before walking towards the camcorder and pressing the stop button. She glanced at Takuto, whose gaze was riveted on her. She could tell he was upset about this -about everything she'd said- but she'd had to do it. They both sighed quietly, and Takuto snapped his fingers, undoing the transformation from Full Moon to Mitsuki.

The nearly-mature form of the 16-year-old girl shrunk, her hair straightening somewhat and coloring itself a deep brown. This was nothing new to Takuto, nor the other Shinigami present, Meroko, but what the transformation didn't reveal -the changes INSIDE Mitsuki- were what changed everything. Inside, a malignant tumor appeared, grew, multiplied, wrapping itself around her vocal cords. It was close to one of the main arteries that gave blood from Mitsuki's heart to her brain-- that was why surgery was such a delicate matter where she was involved. The only way for it to be done successfully was to remove Mitsuki's vocal cords entirely-- and Mitsuki had said, time and time again, she was less afraid of death, and more afraid of not being able to sing. Even after finding out what happened to Eichi, she held firmly onto this belief...

Mitsuki collapsed onto her knees, suddenly finding it very difficult to breathe. Her throat was constricted, the sound of her heartbeat pounding in her ears like a rocket taking off less than a foot away. Everything was hot and spinning, radiating clear waves...

"Mitsuki!" Takuto was at her side in less than a minute, helping the girl up. She coughed into her hands, her face quickly growing red while she pinched her eyes shut. There was no way for this to happen painlessly...

When Mitsuki's hand fell to her side, blood coated her palm. Takuto only stared at it for a moment before wiping it away and sitting her upright, shaking her.

"Mitsuki! Mitsuki! Don't faint on me!" Meroko moved forward as well, unsure what to do. She knew that Takuto had made a promise to Mitsuki-- to protect her, to save her life, to ensure that she wasn't in pain... but she knew, just as well as Takuto and Mitsuki did, that this was impossible. Mitsuki was dying.

"Un... T...Takuto?" Mitsuki murmured. She still bore traces of blood on her lips, which Takuto immediately wiped away with a cloth. He carried her to her bed, carefully tucking her in and wiping her brow with a damp rag.

"You should rest." He insisted, his tail stiff. Despite Mitsuki being more mature than many of the other child cases Shinigami like Takuto and Meroko handled, she wasn't adult yet. Takuto and Meroko agreed that keeping their 'cute' appearances would soothe Mitsuki some-- thought neither of them could have predicted how attached Takuto would grow to his charge... nor she him.

"Tha...Thank you, Takuto." Mitsuki murmured, falling into a deep sleep.

Once it was assured that the twelve year old was asleep, Meroko sat beside Takuto, her magenta eyes glimmering. Takuto wasn't the only one having problems with all this. He wasn't the only one that felt something for Mitsuki. Albeit, Meroko didn't LOVE her, not the way Takuto did...

But she did her job. Meroko didn't recall any of her past, knew that she was just doing her job. Time passed for her, but she never aged... never truly felt it as things around her changed, but she stayed the same. This was how her 'life' was meant to be, as a Shinigami. An escort to the dead.

"She doesn't have much time, Takuto." Meroko murmured, playing with the ruffles on her sleeves. Looking at Takuto, she saw only the same dark stubbornness that had been in his eyes for nearly a season. He was determined, even now, with Mitsuki's death on the horizon, to save her.

Even Ooshige and Wakaouji had backed away. Once Mitsuki started to cough more violently, faint more often, Grandmother Kouyama had pulled her out of school. Wakaouji wanted to perform the operation, but Mitsuki flatly refused. It didn't matter that she'd accomplished what she wanted, that she didn't have any regrets about singing or Eichi any longer.

She knew that she had to die.

Mitsuki had spent her waking hours organizing her things, writing letters, and filming a tape to her fans as Full Moon. Even Mitsuki realized that it was all coming to an end-- even SHE had accepted it, but Takuto still couldn't.

He just wanted to see her smile again.

Whenever he closed his eyes, all he saw was her-- her smiling, her bright eyes glimmering. Her angelic form, her haunting voice... whether as Full Moon, with her 16-year-old body, her bright blonde hair, and her crystal eyes... or as Mitsuki, with such a genki disposition, a caring heart, chocolate hair spun into curls, and fathomless brown eyes...

The male Shinigami shook his head, waking himself to the real world.

"There's still a way to save her." Takuto whispered, just loud enough for Meroko to hear. She blinked twice, confused. But...

"Takuto..." She lay a gentle gloved hand on his shoulder. "We can't interfere with her death. Her destiny says..."

"DAMN DESTINY, MEROKO!" Takuto yelled, standing up. Meroko squeaked in surprise, and when the room filled with silence again, the two Shinigami looked at Mitsuki. She still lay asleep.

"...I promised her I'd protect her. I promised I'd save her life, Meroko. I don't break my promises."

Meroko was silent a moment.

"Takuto, do you know why you're a Shinigami?"

Takuto refused to meet Meroko's gaze, instead choosing to stare out the window, where a nearly full moon was reaching its peak in the diamond-studded sky.

"We made mistakes in our human lives, Takuto. Big ones. I don't remember what I did, and I don't think I care to. But you remember yours... and being here, trying to save her... when you can't even be with her..." Meroko was running out of words, running out of a way to explain this. How could she be so hurtful to someone that meant so much to her? It wasn't fair-- Takuto loved someone they all knew he could never have, could never see, could never be with. If it wasn't for some strange fluke that allowed Mitsuki to see them, then none of this would have happened...

Mitsuki wouldn't know she was destined to die in a year...

She wouldn't have impossible dreams about becoming a singer...

Full Moon never would have existed...

"So I'll be a ghost." Takuto mumbled.

"DON'T SAY THAT, TAKUTO!" Meroko cried, tears falling freely now. She'd hit her arm on the shelf, but didn't bother to lift her arm, where a cut quickly appeared, and started to bleed. How did Shinigami even injure themselves...?

Takuto got up wordlessly, making his way to Meroko's side. He pulled several towels from the roll at Mitsuki's bedside and dabbed them in thlow Shinigami's injury. The bunny-girl winced, biting her lip. Too many times, Takuto had made it apparent that he didn't look kindly on Meroko's whining or squealing. In the past, she hadn't cared, and she'd gone right on loving him... but now, things were different, and Meroko found it harder to be as cheerful and dismissive as she had been.

"I told you, Takuto," Meroko murmured, her bangs hiding her face, "I love you. I don't want you to end up being stuck here on Earth."

"If I'm with Mitsuki, then maybe..."

"But you won't be!" Meroko shouted, her heart lurching. Takuto wasn't a full Shinigami; he was a mere Replica, a half-Shinigami at best. His powers were limited, and if he didn't collect Mitsuki's soul when she died, then...

Our job is to make sure that people die when they are supposed to... that nothing changes their destiny. If someone has no regrets, then they will be willing to give their soul to us and come to the spirit realm...

Or at least, that was what Meroko knew. She also knew that being in the Replica state was the most dangerous one for a Shinigami-- half or not. If Takuto's memories came back completely, they would bind him to Earth... and he would never go to the Spirit Realm ever again. Not as a human soul, not as a Shinigami. Not ever.

"...you can't, Takuto. Ghosts... their eternity is even worse than ours. At least as Shinigami--"

"Do you think it's easy to do this?!" Takuto demanded, staring Meroko directly in the eyes. Never had she seen him so... serious before. Angry, maybe, determined, of course, but...

"You and I both know that whatever we did when we were humans," Takuto swallowed, unwelcome visions of his past flitting before his eyes, "Caused us to become Shinigami. This is a punishment. Our only salvation is that we don't remember what led us here. But the fact remains... our job is to ensure that people DIE. We take the souls of people... whether they're in pain or not. Don't you understand, Meroko? We're KILLERS!"

"...No, Takuto, it's you who doesn't understand." The bunny Shinigami stood, her arms lax at her side. She had few words for Takuto anymore. He had already given up long ago; it didn't seem as if there was anything she could say or do to change his mind. Meroko closed her eyes, willing the tears to stop flowing... and she walked through the wall, pushing her wings with reluctance as she moved to the roof.

Back inside Mitsuki's room, Takuto stared at the ceiling that Meroko disappeared into. His heart stung from her words; he knew on some level that she was right. But she never bothered to understand where HE was coming from --memories or not, he hated having to take the souls of people... old, young... sick, healthy... men, women... none of it mattered. This *was* a punishment. He didn't take any amusement in his abilities of transformation. Even when Mitsuki transformed into Full Moon, his heart lurched-- it was all just a painful reminder...

Life was short.

It had been for him, it had been for Meroko, and it would be for Mitsuki. Mitsuki didn't deserve to die now, not when she had the chance to live. She'd said she was afraid of never being able to sing again, but Takuto realized that after she'd accomplished her dream -had been truly happy, truly experienced what stardom offered- that there was no need for her to continue refusing the operation. In Dr. Wakaouji's hands, it was likely there was a way for the sarcoma to be removed without much damage to her vocal cords. Between producing her album, getting back into the music business himself, and working part-time at the hospital, Wakaouji researched endlessly. He believed there was a way... but Mitsuki still refused.

Ooshige, Ms. Tanaka, Grandmother Kouyama... everyone had begged Mitsuki to reconsider. But once Mitsuki said no the first time, it was useless. Grandmother Kouyama had been the first to back down. There was too much of Hazuki in Mitsuki, and trying to fight against Mitsuki's desire would only hasten the girl's death.

Takuto glanced at Mitsuki, and noticed that her face was crunched in pain. Sweatbeads had formed on her brow, and she was clutching her blankets in an iron grip. But there was nothing he could do. He'd tried to console himself, tried to believe that maybe there was some way they could avert destiny... but unless Mitsuki got that operation, there wouldn't be any way.

She refused the operation because of him.

And that was a terrible feeling to live with. He'd promised her that he'd save her, that HE'D be the one to take away her pain. When he'd said it, he'd meant it-- it hadn't been a lie, but now it was as transparent as glass. Nothing that he'd said had any real weight to it.

Mitsuki was going to die, and somehow, it was all his fault.

He moved closer to her, wishing that, in the same way his blood transformed her body into a mature, healthy one, he could find a way to keep her -just the way she was- but healthy. Children didn't deserve to die... MITSUKI didn't deserve to die...

"Mitsuki," Takuto whispered, taking hold of one of the girl's hands, "I... I love you. And I'm sorry."

He leaned back and accepted his memories as they came to him; being with Mitsuki somehow brought about the revival of everything he had known as a human. Years before...

It would be a while before things would change. He didn't know HOW he would become trapped on Earth, or even what it would mean for Mitsuki, who still carried the blood of transformation within her. He would become a ghost... and whether or not Mitsuki saw him, at least he would always watch over her. And maybe... maybe with him gone, she would agree to have that surgery at last.

Takuto sighed deeply, realizing that his memories as a Shinigami would soon fade. His powers... everything about the Spirit Realm and the world Beyond... everything would vanish from his mind, replaced by what he had known as Takuto Kira, the human. Maybe he would stop seeing Meroko too. Suddenly, a pang of regret struck Takuto. If he never saw Meroko again, he could never apologize. He knew that Meroko was angry that he was in love with Mitsuki... angry that they'd gotten so involved in someone's destiny... but... he couldn't do it. He couldn't kill her. And if it meant giving up a life in Heaven, a life eternal, then so be it.

Being a Shinigami was nothing but Hell for Takuto, and Meroko knew it.

"I'm sorry, Meroko. If I never see you again, then at least know that I'm sorry... and I will miss you, for as long as I remember..."

He'd had fun with Meroko. They'd been a great team...

Suddenly, a strange chiming sound echoed throughout the room. Once, twice, three times it rang, loudly and sharply, and yet there was no source. Takuto looked around, wondering what was going on.

Suddenly, he noticed the ceiling's color change, and through the distortion, Meroko slid, feet first. The expression on her face was nothing short of despairing; no smile graced her pink lips. Her eyes were red from crying, but Meroko said nothing to Takuto.

For his part, he was surprised he could still see Meroko. Perhaps the last of his memories hadn't come after all. Was there something more...? Perhaps he had to forget his life as a Shinigami first... but wouldn't that mean forgetting Mitsuki?

No... I can't forget her...!

Regret struck the cat Shinigami once more; this time for not being more hesitant in accepting his human past. If he forgot being a Shinigami, he would forget Mitsuki... and he would be stuck on Earth, wandering without knowing anything but how he'd lived an unfulfilling life as a human. Everything he'd seen and felt-- everything that had changed him so much in the past year... would be for naught!

"Wake up, Mitsuki." Meroko murmured, shaking the girl awake.

"What are you doing, Meroko?" Takuto asked, glaring. Mitsuki had been sleeping somewhat peacefully, and to have Meroko come in and disturb her surely couldn't be good...

Meroko looked up at him, gloom swirling around her, "It's time."

MItsuki rubbed her eyes as she sat up, her vision clearing as she spotted both Takuto and Meroko in front of her.

"Ne... what's going on, Takuto?"

"...I don't..." Takuto began, his brows furrowed. What had Meroko meant by, 'It's time' ...?

Meroko gently led Mitsuki over to a chair and sat her down, kneeling in front of her.

"Mitsuki, it's time for you to come with us."

"..." The brunette stared solemnly at the pink haired girl and nodded. Instead of seeming sad -she wasn't crying a tear- Mitsuki seemed relaxed... much like Sanada had before Izumi and Jonathan had--

"No! Meroko!" Takuto cried, realizing what was happening. Meroko stood up, a hand on Mitsuki's shoulder as she moved behind the girl, casting a disappointed gaze at Takuto.

"Her soul belongs to you, Takuto. It's you who must take it."

"No... but..." Anything would have been better than this. Almost anything. Anything but forgetting Mitsuki...

Meroko snapped her fingers, and her 'cute' theme faded. Instead of a ruffled two-piece outfit, Meroko now wore a simple white blouse and skirt, with long white gloves up to her elbows. Her wings still sprouted from her back, and her hair remained the same shocking pink color.

"Meroko..." Mitsuki murmured, smiling somewhat, "You're an angel..."

Meroko shook her head sadly, "No Mitsuki... YOU are."

Takuto's head dropped-- having his memories didn't matter. Shinigami or human, he would never be with Mitsuki. Being a Shinigami then, truly was punishment. He still felt everything that humans did. He bled, he cried, he worried. He loved. These were both blessings and curses. They were still so close to being human, but somehow, still so far away...

"Takuto, I can't do this. You have to. If we don't do it now, her soul will never get to the Spirit Realm, and we can't say what will happen."

Now that Takuto knew he wasn't trapped on Earth as a ghost, he knew that he would return to the Spirit Realm. It was so selfish of him to think that maybe there he could be with her at last...

Takuto sighed deeply and withdrew a shining light from his palm. Like Izumi, the "weapon" used to extract souls was a bow and arrow, only the human eye couldn't see the arrow. This was some sort of concession to the humans -- at the moment they were supposed to die, regardless of the circumstances, they would see a Shinigami, and it was supposed to bring them some sort of comfort. So, when their soul left their body, they would be in no pain... and they would have no thoughts about being in pain...

Mitsuki's eyes were closed, and she looked just as peaceful, sitting there, awaiting death, as she had been sleeping only moments before.

"It's okay, MItsuki... everything will be okay after this." Meroko whispered.

"I know, Meroko... and... thank you for everything." Mitsuki looked up at Meroko the moment Takuto fired, and suddenly, the room was filled with a brilliant light.

*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*O*

Ohohohoho... I'm pure evil, ne? I know this chapter was probably mostly mush and recap, but it's necessary to understand the inner workings of a Shinigami! Now, like I said before, I haven't seen till the end of the series yet (or even close to it, really) so I may be inaccurate about SOME Shinigami-ology ^^; But I'm reading the scanlations, watching the anime... and listening non-stop to the music. Hopefully you liked this and will want more! I sure want to write more! =D

PREVIEW FOR NEXT CHAPTER:

"What do you MEAN you don't know where Takuto is!?" Meroko demanded, hands on her hips. Izumi stared right back at her, his own arms crossing his chest.

"We don't," He responded flatly, "Because we don't. This kind of thing has never happened before."

Look forward to it!

~Azurite