Author's Notes: So…um, I know people are going to kill me for not working on ATF, but hey, I've been inspired! I hope you like it. Story will be mildly happier later on. Just stick with it and maybe I will too! "Seizing" is used in the context of "to affect suddenly: overwhelm."

Summary: Not only did he hate her for being her and being human, he hated her for making him care.

Rating: PG-13 (Rating may change in later chapters)


Chapter 1: Expectations

Two hours after the storm blew in, two hours after Mahiru left the bar, Mitsuru finally found her. Not like he was worried or anything, he was just following orders… orders that didn't need to be said. She had left rather abruptly, but that's understandable considering recent events. After spending the day isolated in her room, she emerged only to leave as the storm clouds rolled over head. Oboro had given Mitsuru the look, the You-Better-Keep-Her-Safe-Or-Else look that sent shivers down Mitsuru's spine… not that he would ever confess to that. Consequently, Mitsuru made up the dumb excuse of Mahiru forgetting her jacket, so he could follow her without looking like he gave a damn about her.

Within seconds he found her in the park, her blue pendant reflecting the eerie light of the snow. He released a breath through his teeth hissing in irritation. That damn pendant, not mention the girl wearing it too, was the cause of allhis inner turmoil. Not that he would confess to that either…

The snow swirled around Mahiru as she sat still on the bench. Her eyes, blank, hollow, and emotionless, scanned over the grey scenery. If she knew he was there, she didn't give any indication.

Drawing up the nerve to do something instead of just standing there, Mitsuru held out her jacket so it was in her sight, but Mahiru continued to stare straight ahead, as if the jacket wasn't there. Clearing his throat loudly, he moved the jacket towards her again. A slight hope that the movement would draw her eye flittered across his mind.

"You forgot your coat." Silence wrapped its creeping tendrils around him for the extent of his words and Mitsuru's normally gruff voice wavered to nothing more than a whisper. But she still did not acknowledge him. He rolled his eyes; of course Mahiru would act this way. Grudgingly, because he had to spend more time with her than he wished, but silent and respectful of her need to be wallowing in self pity, he sat on the other side of the bench.

The snow swirled, dancing around them. Mitsuru scowled. Stupid snow, dancing and what not.

Mitsuru hated dancing.

He hated the snow because it danced.

He hated humans and their stupid emotions.

He hated Mahiru—but not really—only for show.

But most of all, he hated Nozomu for hurting Mahiru. He hated Nozomu so much, that if he was here, Mitsuru would have him die a thousand deaths, all in very painful, very time consuming ways.

Ten minutes of silence passed and neither of them moved. That was, until he heard her sniffle. He turned towards her to see if she was crying. He hated crying. It was worse, of course, when it was a girl crying, because he had no idea what to do.

Mitsuru never liked to pray, but as he turned towards Mahiru, he prayed that she wasn't crying.

It's stupid, he thought, as his prayer (Please don't let her cry!) repeated over and over again. All girls cry, Mahiru is no exception. It's bound to happen anyway. After all it's been three days and she hasn't shown one emotion to any of us.

As he focused on her face he realized with surprise that Mahiru was not crying. He should have known, though. Mahiru is an exception. She's strong, mentally and physically, and a stupid betrayal wouldn't hurt her as much as he thinks.

"You're not crying?" He hadn't meant to say it out loud, but then again, there were a lot of things he hadn't meant to do recently and ended up doing. Take the blue pendant around her neck, for example. He hadn't meant to give it to her. The pendant was his mother's and it was the only thing besides her wedding ring that Mitsuru had left of her. Not that he cared, or anything like that, his mother abandoned him. Mitsuru hated his mother just like he hated Mahiru. Nevertheless, hatred didn't change the fact that he had given Mahiru the pendant, on her birthday of all days, long before the betrayal.

The sound of her voice, strong only because it had to be, strong only because she was weak, frail, and breaking inside, echoed through the thick cold air, stopping Mitsuru's train of thought, long before it reached the caboose.

"No. I'm not."

It was strange seeing her detached from the world, dead to everything around her. Mitsuru remembered when Mahiru lived in the hospital for two weeks plagued with pneumonia; even then she had felt so alive. Now, though, her life and everyone else's who lived at the Moonshine was anything but alive. Unfeeling and uncaring, Mahiru had wandered around the bar like a ghost. She refused to sleep, for fear that He would return to finish the job.

The betrayal hurt everyone.

It hurt her more.

To this day Mitsuru still doesn't know why he did it. After all, he hates humans and he hates her more so.

Maybe it was because she looked unsubstantial, felt unreal, and sounded detached.

Maybe it was because the pretty scarf she wore around her neck to hide the bite was off center.

Maybe it was because she hadn't touched anyone in three days.

Maybe he just needed to know she was real.

Or maybe it was something entirely different.

But what caused him to touch her changed their lives for the better… or worse.

Mitsuru's fingers brushed over the back of her neck, like spiders, like the wind. Mahiru's eyes widened like severing plates, grief seeped from her pupils outward, drowning her eyes in unshed tears. The feel of Mitsuru's fingers unexpected and painful sent shivers across her body. Horrid, Taste you… Horrid, Need to taste you… Horrid memories flooded through her of the last time she was touched A body pressed against hers, fitting in all the wrong places, unnatural, not right… Memories Sharp teeth… Blood… Flashing in random orders as the pain surfaced.

Slower than a snail a million searing needles, all small and sharp, poked through her heart. Each breath she took tripled the pain, tripled the needles, sending her nerves into shock. Her breath shortened trying to stop everything from hurting. The bite pulsing with the needle beats of her heart. Little did she know, her emotions had festered inside her and once they were allowed out there was no way to stop them. Yet, in all this pain, she did not cry.

Mitsuru placed his palm where her shoulders and neck met hoping it would wipe the pained look off her face, hoping it would stop her from crying. Despite all his hopes, his gesture caused more pain, and tears spilled down her face.

He froze. She was crying and he didn't know what to do. He expected more from her than that. However, little did Mitsuru know that he would have to learn to not expect anything from anyone, because it hurts when the people we expect things from, don't live up to our expectations.

With his fail-safe on hand—hating everything that crossed his path—and turned on 'full,' he hadn't expected his hand to start rubbing slow soothing circles on her back. Still, not only did he hate her for being her and being human, he hated her for crying. He hated her for making him care about her, worry about her, and loathe as he was to admit it, love her.

He thought she was strong still, because she hadn't flung herself onto him for comfort.

He thought she was strong because after three days of avoiding the touch of others she hadn't ripped herself away.

Mahiru cried, and cried, and cried, and when there was no strength left in her she sought out the strength of the man beside her. Like a flower giving way to the winter's frost, she melted down. Her head resting on his thighs, tears soaking through his jeans. Gently, he placed the jacket over her seizing, convulsing, frail body, trying to ignore the thought of where her head rested.

Mitsuru thought she was still strong because not once had she pulled away from him, not once did she plead for everything to be back to normal. She just cried. He respected her, because after everything she was still strong.

His hand continued to circle over her back. Somehow this felt right; it felt normal to be here, with her.

Mitsuru thought he hated her, but he couldn't hate someone he respected.

He couldn't hate someone he loved.

The snow fluttered, danced, and swayed around the two lone figures sitting on the bench, until the first color of dawn peeked through the grey clouds.