*Spoilers for after the Kutou war. Let's just say if you haven't seen the end of the series and don't wanna know, don't read. ^_~*

      No! No, this can't be right! It isn't fair! I approach him. He looks so alive. His face relaxed, his mouth slightly smiling. It's a lie though; he's dead. The scent hangs around him and everything in me tells me to run away. Maybe…maybe he's not dead. Maybe I'm just imagining it. I cry for him to wake up, to hold me in his arms, to tell me it will be all right.

      He doesn't. He doesn't even move. My stomach feels like a lead weight as I come up to him. I tentatively prod him, thinking, maybe, this might work. His skin is warm…but there is no life beneath it. He is dead.

He is gone from me. The one I could always count on to be there for me. The one who was so gentle but so strong inside. He was the one I loved, almost unconditionally. He was hard not to love.

      It shouldn't work this way! It shouldn't! He's too good to be lying here.

Yet…he is. He gave it all up to save those he didn't even really know. All for the sake of one…one small girl. Why? Why did he have to? Didn't he understand what he meant to me? What he meant to everyone else?

      I cry in anger and swipe at the air. It's no use…it won't bring him back. It…won't…bring him…

      I can't think anymore as the full impact hits me. I feel so alone. I curl up to his side, soaking up the last of his warmth, the last of his love. I feel so empty. A shadow blocks the light from my eyes and I lift my heavy head to look up. Chichiri is standing above me, tears streaming down his face. He kneels by the fallen man.

      "Why…why did you do that?" he asks the man, voice thick with tears. "Was it really worth it? I know they're going to fight again. Your gift will be worthless…"

      Suddenly, a wail pours through the air. It is the sound of a human baby, a healthy human baby. Chichiri looks up and pauses for a moment, then wipes the tears from his eyes, a shaky smile crossing his unmasked face.

      "A life isn't worthless no…no da. You fulfilled your destiny… Perhaps I will see you again," he says to the man. I agree with him, a life is priceless. But why must it take a life to save a life? The monk lifts me up and holds me.

      "I'll take good care of you, no da," he promises. I believe him and close my eyes. He will, but he will never be who Mitsukake was. I look up as the last remnants of tears dry on Chichiri's face.

      Humans…they seem so stupid sometimes. They can never see the many paths that lie ahead of them. They can almost never tell when danger is coming…even when they are special. They are clumsy on two legs and even clumsier on four. Their grace is nonexistent. I curl against Chichiri and feel the emptiness inside of me. Humans are lucky, for all their flaws. Humans…have the ability to cry.

~~~

Owari

Standard disclaimers apply

Night~Mare