AN: My first piece for the My-Hime Natsuki/Shizuru fandom. Which, by the way, is my current and most severely obsessive fandom ever in my history of obsessive fandoms. Lol. But yeah. Sorry if they sound a little off, I just wrote what my fingers felt like typing. Review after you read please!
When I see her eyes... The way she looks at me, the way she seems to smile when everyone else is crying, the way her tears are always the ones to never fall...
If the world had ended, would she still be standing?
My life lay around my feet, in shattered glass shards of the mirror that I used to depend upon. My reflection told me I still existed. My reflection told me I was normal. My reflection was the one thing that I could trust, and in a moment's notice, it shattered. My mother drove the car off the cliff and I flew over it with her. The car rushed downward, the air streaming across its doomed body and wailing its goodbye in my ears, and it crashed into the water the same instant the rip of metal mixed with the tinkling of breaking glass. I surrendered myself to the black that was pulling at me, begging me, urging me to leave my watery grave, and when I finally felt the light's first tug, when I finally let the light bring me back, I realized I was the only one to be brought back. My mother, Duran, my reflection... All of that lay at the bottom of that cliff. All of what remained of my life lay in shattered shards around my feet, the feet that were drenched in salt water.
And then she stepped in. Wading through the broken remains that floated solemnly in the tide, she slowly pushed towards me and pulled me into her warm arms. She smiled when I could not. She brought back lost shards and pieced them back together. She built a piece of my reflection from the ruins, and she let me see myself again. It may have only been a piece of me, but it was still me. She smiled and held up the mirror for me. She smiled and she built my life again. Piece by piece.
What I couldn't have imagined was that as each piece of my life came back, a little bit of hers left its frame. My mirror was slowly revealing a bit more of me everyday, and hers was slowly shattering. For every tear I cried, she had a smile to replace it, and because of her devotion to repairing someone who, to others, was beyond repair, she herself became beyond repair. She may have seemed the same, but underneath everything, she was shattering. A slow, painful shattering that left her reflection to linger brokenly before dispersing into the lone wind of her sigh. If only I had heard the telltale tinkling of broken glass, if only I had heard the longing sigh, maybe I could have done something, the way she had done something for me.
I might have been able to save you, Shizuru...
I was there when it happened. I was there when everything fell apart. I saw her reflection the moment before it broke. I saw her smile, and for the first time, I saw her tears, the tears that told me that everything was not going to be alright. I'd never thought it would happen, I'd never thought it possible, but suddenly, her arms became a place where I didn't want to be.
Her eyes were so empty when she looked up again. The hollow laugh that escaped from her pale lips was a laugh that both scared and angered me. She was rejoicing in a death, a death that she had caused, and if I hadn't known better, if I hadn't seen that hollowness just behind her eyes, I would have thought she was no more than a coldhearted killer. But she wasn't. She wasn't. She was just brokenhearted, that was all.
When all that's left of your life lies in a pile of broken shards at your feet, that's how you look. When all you have left is nothing at all, that's the face you have, that's the laugh you laugh, that's when you become like how she was. That's how you become Fujino Shizuru.
That ghostly smile, even if her lips have never twisted themselves into that smile again since that one time, that smile still haunts me. That smile that told me there was nothing left of her, that all she had was nothing, all she was was nothing, that all that held me up was nothing. Even as I called to her, she never responded. I tried to reach out to the only lifeline I'd had left, and she just floated away from me, as though I wasn't there. Maybe I wasn't. Maybe, in my desperate scream of horror, I had shattered what little was left of her. To her, maybe my reflection had already disappeared, mere dust in the lone brush of her sigh. Even now, I still don't know what had gone on inside of her at that one moment, that one moment when she walked away from me with that ghostly smile on her face.
Destruction became all that the calmly perfect kaichou-sama was before. All that was left in her mind was the command to destroy, destroy everything that she thought opposed me. The First District. The other HIME's. They all fell to their bleeding knees and begged for mercy under her empty gaze. Only my voice could wrench a flicker of life from the hollow shell of her body, and even then, she would only smile calmly, her eyes still horribly empty, and nod, the whispering promise of finally making me hers barely reaching my ears. Then she would disappear again, to surface in the ocean of flames and destruction. And blood. She swam in a sea of blood. She swam in the sea of blood that was cupped in her hands.
She still had that same smile when she came back. Her eyes still gazed hollowly at me.
"Natsuki. So this is where you were."
My ears could barely catch what she was saying. My eyes could barely believe the Shizuru they were seeing. My heart couldn't believe that... It couldn't... It couldn't even decide what it felt.
She fell from view faster than I could finish shouting her name. The red glowing strands that shot from Nao's Element never reached her, and as I sailed over the empty space between my destroyed dorm room and the adjacent building, I realized that Shizuru had disappeared.
She had come back. She had pulled herself away from the destruction, the blood, the rampage, to remove all that opposed me, in order to save me from Nao. Even if she was half-insane, even if she was aiming to kill, I couldn't bring myself to hate her. She was Fujino Shizuru. She was perfect. She was the idol admired by so many. She was my closest, and only, friend.
It was over so fast, I could barely register what was happening. One moment I was entangled in strands of spider web from Jullya, the next, Shizuru was hoarsely whispering a death threat to Nao. It was over. Everything was over. I was helpless, and though it wasn't the first time, this time seemed so much worse. So much worse.
She was going to kill. She was going to spray blood onto the grey cement of the roof. She was going to drench her hands in another bath of blood. Her eyes, shades of maple that had always shone lovingly at me, they were glazed over with apathy and indifference, ignoring the almost imminent murder that was about to happen.
But it wasn't going to.
She reeled back in shock, her Element lowering as I stepped between her and the prostrate form of Nao. She looked at me, confused, the first spark of emotion since she had returned, and I gazed back at her, heart suddenly extremely pained.
Why? Why was she doing this? Why was this happening? Why did she love me? And why didn't I, why couldn't I, return her feelings?
But then, I realized something. Something that I had previously overlooked, or had chosen to overlook. It wasn't that I couldn't love her. It wasn't that I didn't love her. I just hadn't acknowledged it. She had been the first to reach out to me when I had resurfaced from the ocean of salt water, lost and soaking wet. She had swum from the safe shores that everyone else had stood and remained comfortably at, and had pulled me into her warm, soft arms. And for the first time, I realized that those arms, however revolting they had seemed at first, had always been the place where I wanted to be. Where I belonged.
My pistols came back into my hands, just as familiar snatches of songs always come back to be sung. I knew, even though I never tried to call him, Duran was back with me. Shizuru, through her shock, congratulated me, and I recognized it as the only touch of sanity, the only sliver of her old personality still in her.
I had found it again. My most important thing. I had found it, and I was wrapped up safely in its arms, warm and loved.
She stood still for a while, the wind blowing gently through her hair. Lowering her Element, she turned away from me and gazed up at the skies, absentminded and calm, and announced to the clouds what she had been up to during her absence. I found it impossible to keep my pistols leveled at her as she whispered her destruction of the First District to the singular beams of sunlight. She had destroyed a whole organization, for the sole reason of removing the things that opposed me from the world. And with a soft, still absentminded smile, she whispered for me to wait for her, because I was hers, and with what would be a normal step, fell from the side of the building. She never responded, even as I screamed her name.
Time passed by as if it wasn't moving. I waited for her to come back. I waited for her to find me again, but as each second passed, time moved slower and slower until each moment seemed a day within itself, and it seemed as though she would never come back for me. I burned the day away with Mai as we nostalgically called up the past. The night I spent standing in the breeze, cold, alone. I wanted to be warm again, but it seemed impossible. No amount of clothing, warm water or blankets could keep me warm. They weren't what I needed most.
That night was filled with dreams. Memories buried deep in the recesses of my mind floated upward to my conscious that night. My dreams were haunted by shades of maple, framed with strands of tan. The pale, ghostly face that had once loomed over me, whispering my name, lips blood-red, became a fully coloured one, soft and beautiful, the kiss tender rather than revolting. I woke up from that one dream blushing and warm, instead of in a cold sweat and with a scream as I'd always done before. I'd found my precious thing, and I wanted to be in its arms again.
When the sun finally brushed against my cheek, I didn't want to wake up. I cursed the brightness, something that I had wished for so badly the last moment I was conscious, but I cursed it heartily and thoroughly, because it was pulling me away. It was pulling me away and out of her arms. With a soft nudge in the shoulder from Mai, Shizuru faded into faint wisps of dreams.
I couldn't think. I couldn't feel. Nothing registered except the acute absence of her arms around me. Where was she? What was she doing? Why wasn't she here yet?
The dull roar of my motorcycle shook me from my state of distance from the world. It seemed as though while I was busy drowning in my feelings, my mind had made itself up. Mai's smile, though so dull compared to hers, unconsciously held me back, and I realized that there were still other people who cared, other people who wouldn't want me to throw myself away. It didn't have to end this way.
But really, it did.
I left Mai behind as I roared away, leaning down and curving around the turn. She disappeared from view, but I never once turned to look back anyway. Looking back made me weak. Looking back would only stop me from doing what needed to be done. Looking back would only make me realize that I wasn't just leaving Mai behind, I was leaving the world behind.
She was sitting at her desk, calmly sipping tea, when I crashed through the window and sent glass shards flying everywhere. Any normal person would have jumped up in shock, sending tea droplets to hang midair while they screamed, but then again, Shizuru wasn't any normal person, was she? But she seemed normal. She seemed so normal, dressed as any other student would in the Academy, sipping tea as it was customary for her kind, face blandly uninterested. I yelled at her, anger seeping through my walls of restraint. That complacent look of distance on her face... I hated it. How could she be so calm and collected when she had killed so many people? How could she still drink tea when she had destroyed so many people's lives? How could she still be perfectly fine when my body yearned for her warmth so much, when all I wanted to do was throw myself at her and dive into her arms again?
I ran from her, that surreal look of calm on her face, I ran from that as much as I ran away from the fact that maybe she was over me, maybe she didn't care anymore. Her return to sanity could have signified anything, and who was I to know what went on in her mind? She was Fujino Shizuru, unanimously voted-in kaichou-sama, and I was just some loner who had stumbled into her path. I couldn't understand what went on her mind even if I wanted to, and honestly, I really, really wanted to.
Her graceful movements saved her from my shots as she skipped daintily away and into the shelter of the broken church. Ironic, really, that we would end up in a church. Kiyohime launched himself after his mistress, fangs nearly grazing my leg but missing as my Duran rammed his muzzle into the great beast's neck. Shizuru danced gracefully into the depths of the church, leaving me to follow, only to gasp in horror and hope to be saved as the broken bell fell from the sky and onto me.
The darkness was complete, the sound waves deafening. My ears rang fiercely, and the whistling sound of something approaching was almost lost on me. I found the bell shattered moments before whatever it was that had crushed it wrapped around and began to crush my body. Eyes closed, hair splaying upward, I waited, and was rewarded with the warmth of Shizuru.
I was hers. I was finally hers.
The rest was all a blur. Our first, real kiss, my decision to let everything go. We became dust in the wind, green sparks that flew into the sky along with whatever remained of our Childs. I can't remember much from then, except the warmth of Shizuru all around me, and the darkness. That was all there was. That was all I needed.
Eons may have passed in that space of black where Shizuru and I resided, but reality only claimed a day or so. I didn't care, I had Shizuru, but somewhere outside, I knew the world was falling apart. And that was why we were called back. To save the world.
It sounded so cliché, so stuffy. To save the world. Really, we weren't saving the world, we were merely maintaining a piece of our surroundings so that the things that we needed most could exist. Saving the world sounds so selfless. What we were really doing was much, much more than merely selfish, it was indescribably so. Mai may have actually saved the world for the people of the world. I had saved it because I wanted Shizuru to live.
And live she does. Lying in the futon, curled on her side and mumbling softly in her sleep. She's probably wondering where I am, probably cold because she has nothing to curl up against. She's still the same, perfect kaichou-sama, essentially, but deep down, she has changed. Who couldn't change with all the things that have happened?
There's a soft rustling and the light sounds of delicate pattering feet. I smile gently, waiting.
"Why are you out here? It's cold."
Her arms fluidly slide into their common position around my waist. I can feel her face pressing gently against the side of mine.
"Do you mean it's cold out here, or that it's cold in the futon without me?"
She makes an amused sound at the back of her throat and chooses that moment to kiss my ear, making me twitch slightly, tickled.
"Both. I can't sleep if it's too cold in the futon, you know that," she turns me around in her arms, smiling at me with shining maple eyes, "and you'll catch a cold out here dressed like this."
She picks at my choice of sleepwear, fingers careful to trail lightly against the bare skin underneath. I lean forward and brush my nose against the tip of hers.
"I'm not cold, Shizuru, but if you are," I step out of her embrace and grasp her hand in mine, "then we should go back in."
She follows my lead without complaint, and as I pull back the covers of the futon and slip in, I realize something.
The world had ended once already, and though it was back, technically, it had still ceased to exist at one point. But that wasn't important. What was important was that even though the world had ended, Shizuru still existed.
The world had ended, but she was still standing.