Disclaimer: s

Disclaimer: s.CRY.ed, Cougar, Mimori, the cliff, and all that other good stuff don't belong to me.

A/N: Yeah, yeah, it's a Cougar X Mimori one-shot. Other than the undeniable fact that I'm a hypocrite ', I'm also out of my mind. But I don't care! :Waves Cougar X Mimori flags: This is the pairing of my choosing…even if I am all alone here. (Looks around for more Cougar X Mimori fans desperately) Yup. Alone. ANYWAY! I've done everything Cougar X Mimoriish (Made a shrine to them, made a music video about them, drew fanart, adoptions…), except write a fanfic, so here's my lame attempt. I say 'lame' because I don't normally write mush.

Reviews and constructive criticism are ALWAYS welcome, but FLAMERS BEWARE! Don't waste my time by reading this fic and then flaming. So beat it if you absolutely despise this pairing. P

His Heartbeat

Her steps became sluggish as she round the bend, her mind spinning, becoming light, and all at once she needed to sit down from a sudden dizziness. But she protested, the thought of truth motivating her for a brief moment and she pressed on.

Mimori's lips twisted, the whites of her teeth coming down firmly on her lower lip. Being a former HOLD scientist, she knew what refining entailed. And that final result would eventually be death. The thought was unbearable—not just for those whom the Mainland had seized and kept suspended from the real world, while conducting the malicious and sadistic experiments upon those who deserved not the caged lives like lab rats, but for those who were associated with her as well.

Drawing her fingers to her crystal as though it were a magnet, she thought of the ones who had been caught up within HOLY, the Mainland, and had been a product of the mad scientists who thirsted for endless power, unconcerned about the casualties. She did, however, had to admit that she had been caught off guard with her recent findings.

And they hadn't come from any research paper or book.

Slowly edging her way up the beaten mountain path, lifting her knees high with every step, Mimori could feel a crawling weight pulling her back down, and so she clutched her necklace tighter, causing the flesh color of her knuckles to drain white.

As she had expected, however, he was up here, and she caught the wild orange hair being ruffled by a wind from the east, but he hadn't seemed to notice it. It was not often that she pursued him, but an abrupt guilt overwhelmed her, and she knew that there wouldn't much more time for idle talk.

Talk was meaningless on the battlefield.

Halting to catch her breath, she released her hold on the crystal, wincing at the sudden stiffness of her fingers for the long period of time that they had been glued to the necklace. He was seated on the flat surface of a large boulder, his long fingers turning the pages of a lengthy hard covered book, tuning out the rest of the world.

She sensed the tension emitting from him in waves, as though a barrier had appeared to ward her off. Mouth gaping, Mimori was reluctant to begin a conversation with the Speedster, his green eyes focused and his mouth pressed into an almost straight line. Again the wind came, as though urging her off, but the more his words tangled themselves into her thoughts, the more determined she became, unwilling to settle for silence.

"C-Cougar," she called out, her voice carried on the east wind.

Mimori observed as he closed the book with a single hand, his eyes still hard and narrow. But as resilient as he was, his lips cracked into a wide smile and he greeted her, beckoning her forth.

"Miss Minori! You came to watch the sunset too?"

For the first time, she intentionally ignored his mispronunciation of her name. Instead, she shuffled closer, her hand reaching across her other arm and gripping the sleeve of her coat.

"Actually," she began, unsure of where to start. "I came to talk with you."

He gazed up at her as she towered over him, and, setting his book out of the way, he slid over to the other side of the rock, and pointed to the vacant spot next to him. "Sit?" he asked.

Her legs, tired from the hard climb, begged her to take him up on his offer, the vision of the inviting consolation teasing her. At last she gave in, and fell down next to him, exhaling a breath of relief.

"You seem tired," Cougar pointed out as her head wilted and fell to her knees, ebony hair cascading over her thighs. Mimori rested her forehead against them.

"Yes," she agreed, regaining her composure after a moment. "Did you really have to walk all the way up here?"

"It's the best place to view the sunset," the older man grinned, waiting for her to look him in the eye as she slowly rose back up. "What can I do for you, Miss Minori?"

The remembrance of her arrival poked harshly at her and, again, she was rendered speechless. The topic of death was meant to be avoided at all costs…or, at least, those were the morals in society.

Still, she fought for the right words, her tired mind refusing to cooperate. Then she decided that formality was inaccessible at this time. Speaking her mind, even though the words were blunt, she began, "Is it true?"

Cougar jerked back slightly, the movement too faint for even Mimori to catch. So, that was what was on her mind. He pretended to be ignorant. "Is what true?"

"Everything you said about being refined on the Mainland." The girl's eyes drifted to her lap, her thumbs fiddling with each other, becoming entangled, just like her thoughts. She didn't want to pry, knowing how difficult that it must be to be aware that death was upon him, looming over his very embodiment, but she couldn't help herself, "…Is it true?"

He was silent for a moment, and she feared that she had upset him, but when a small chuckle resounded in her ears, she glanced back up to see what was so funny.

Cougar, still staring at the girl of his affection, quickly restrained himself and nodded. "Yes," was all he said.

"What's so funny?" she questioned, almost offended. Was he laughing at her?

"It's not something I think about often," he responded immediately, almost blatantly, and with a touch of contentment. "But yes, it's true."

Mimori's thoughts drifted in reverse to when he had first told them about his refinement in the diminutive house. Even then, she remembered, he was grinning as he explained how the alteration was enough to entirely destroy his body.

'How can that be so amusing?' she asked inwardly to herself.

"It doesn't do any good to dwell on it. It's not that it is amusing, there's just no point in remaining comfortable within the depths of the past."

Mimori, instantly budding red with humiliation, realized that her private thoughts had been spoken aloud.

"I…" Forcing her gaze away from him, she rushed her next words, "H-How long before…Eh…Do you know when…W-What I mean is…"

Her voice was silenced as a large hand cupped her own trembling hands. Was she still fidgeting with her thumbs? Looking downwards, she recognized the white sleeve of the HOLY uniform and the hand that extended from it.

"I suppose I just wake up every morning thankful that I'm still alive," was how he put it.

Such a horrible way to put it!

Wasn't he ever concerned? Didn't it bother him? Didn't it bother him at all that he was going to die!?

"You're not disturbed with the fact that you're going to die before your time?"

Cougar could sense the acidic atmosphere resonate from her, but said nothing about it. He simply answered her question, "I believe that the way you spend the rest of your time left is what really counts. Wouldn't you agree? As long as you die happy, then there's really nothing wrong with it when your time does come."

No…No, that wasn't wrong but…

He was just another product of the brutal experiments. He and many more would fall victim to the vast fatalities triggered by the Mainland. Her hazelnut eyes grew cloudy, not that she had intended for it. She attempted to pull her hands away from his own so that she could banish the tears before he caught on.

But he held her hands back, and leaned forward, his eyes focused on her crestfallen face.

"Death is inevitable," he whispered. It was the same set of words he said to Scheris when she had questioned him about Ryuho. "You, of all people, should know that."

Cougar hadn't meant to sound cruel, but reason was the only thing he could find that would help her to understand.

"Stop it!" Wrenching her hand free, she balled up her fingers and beat it against his chest. "Stop saying that!" Mimori's tears flowed freely now, the thought of her friends and the ones she cared about falling deceased all around her. Again and again she continued to strike his chest, until the side of her hand became sore.

The orange haired man said nothing, but allowed her to take her aggressions out on him, the place on his chest where he felt incessant pain from her hitting him not even phasing the Speedster the least. Just so long as she was happy…

"You, and everyone else…! Everyone dying, and…!"

When her fist stopped in midair and began to droop, Cougar slowly wrapped his other hand around her delicate fingers and brought it close to his heart. Pausing just long enough to feel his heartbeat against the palm of her hand, Mimori's body calmed and became weary with exhaustion.

Then, using the hand that had earlier comforted her fidgeting, he pulled her near him, so that her head fell against her own hand that beheld his beating heart. With the sound of his strong heartbeat, Mimori realized that soon, that strong heartbeat along with the heartbeats of many others would be extinguished.

Not just Cougar, but perhaps the lives of ones that meant much to her as well. Perhaps even Ryuho's.

No, such a horrible thought!

Still, for the moment his heartbeat soothed her, and her sobs quieted. His arms wrapped tightly around her. He leaned down to whisper into her ear.

"No one will leave you," he murmured. "Everyone is going to be okay. And Ryuho will be too. So you have to be strong for him, Miss Mimori. Do you understand?"

At her silence, he pulled back, smiling sadly, and then used his thumb to dry her moist eyes. His hand, warm against her wet cheek, was almost just as soothing as his heartbeat, Mimori found, strange as it was.

She instantly felt apologetic for breaking down like that, and opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted when his lips pressed themselves against her own.

Holding her steadily with one arm, he used the other to brush the tangled strands of hair from her face, savoring her heavenly taste. He knew that this would probably be the last time the two of them could talk like this, and he foolishly wished it would last forever. Mimori, caught off guard, didn't have the time to register it into her swirling thoughts until after he pulled back, the sensation of warmth leaving her, and he brushed her tears again for a final time.

Rising to his feet, he turned to leave her, humming.

Even after he had left her side, Mimori was certain she still felt his presence there. Although she remained startled, unable to overcome the sudden and unexpected kiss, she was successful in coming back to her senses minutes after that.

The tune he was humming to as he walked away still ringing in her ears, Mimori realized that he had finally gotten her name right.

Woot. My first Cougar X Mimori fanfic. Now I've contributed to the society. :grin: Well, I know that I'm like…the first one to do this in English or whatever… :Wails about not being able to read Japanese: …but I hope that more Cougar X Mimori fans will come out into the open with this first horrible attempt! Heh heh…(Yeah right)…I can dream…(Cries)…So, I hope you guys at least liked the fic. Please R&R if you liked!