Warning: Do not read this fic unless you happen to know what happened in Mai Otome Episode 17. If you don't, either go DL the raw, or go spoil yourself rotten on the Animesuki forums. Don't review and say 'zOMG you ruined the episode for me!'

AN: Okay, so in the episode, this scene didn't go the way I wrote it. This is basically my take on the whole Slave/Erstin/Nina thing if Nagi had made Nina materialize to get rid of the Slave, and Nina had done just that. I wrote this after seeing the screencaps on Animesuki, and I guess I just really needed to do a Nina/Erstin, cuz I love them to death. That, and I was overcome with sadness when the moment came for Ers and just really needed to get it out in some form of writing, so be warned, this is written in short bursts and might not make sense. Lastly, since this is Nina/Erstin, it goes without saying that I made Nina secretly return Ers' feelings, because Ers deserves some love from Nina and Nina needs to get over Sergey! Oh, and review after you read please!


Crash and burn.

Crumble 'till your nothing and float away in the wind.

Cease to exist.

The green sparkles rise and sway as they eat away at her. Nothing's left. Nothing's left.

"Why did you do it! WHY!"

I look at her, gazing up at me. A smile. A soft, forgiving smile.

Thank you, Nina-chan.

She bursts into a cloud of green, rising up into the sky and away from me. Away from me forever.

"WHY! NINA!"

"Oi, wake up."

"hnnnn..."

"Erstin, wake up."

"hhhnn..."

Yawn.

"Ni-Nina-chan. Ohayo gozaimasu."

"O-ohayo."

The pain wells up and rips out. It scratches and claws and there's no Erstin to soothe it.

"Where... where did you go?"

That soft smile. The sparkles sway in the wind, they sway the way she sways when she dances. I can still feel her cheek against mine.

"Gomen Nina-chan, but we hardly get any alone time anymore, so I'm going to take this chance and cuddle, okay?"

She was hiding it away from me so I wouldn't hurt, but it hadn't made a difference. If only I could go back in time, then maybe I wouldn't have to crash and burn.

"WWWHHYY!"

Crash and burn without her.

"I HATE YOU! I'LL KILL YOU!"

Crash and burn in hell without her.

"NINA! I'LL KILL YOU!"

"Arika! STOP!"

"I'LL KILL YOU!"

"Kill me. Kill me now."

Everything stops for them, but it's already stopped for me. Erstin's soul floats in the wind, sparkling a bright green. Even as she goes, she still reaches out to caress my cheek.

It's okay, Nina-chan. It'll be okay.

It won't. It won't.

"IT WON'T!"

They stagger as I run madly, jumping and reaching up as far as I can, grasping at fading wisps.

"ERSTIN! ERSTIN!"

She's going, taking her smile, her laugh, her bright sparkling green eyes with her. She's leaving me here, an empty shell with nothing to hold onto.

Crash and burn. Crash and burn.

"ERSTIN!"

Someone tries to stop me. I throw them off and continue running, running until I can't breathe, running until maybe the sky will take pity and take me up there, take me up to where she'll be, take me up with her.

"Take me! TAKE ME! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME HERE!"

I feel it ripping into my back. The blood sprays onto the ground long before I can hear the droplets fall.

"Arika! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!"

I turn and laugh.

"Do it. Kill me. Kill me now."

She snarls, eyes brimming with tears.

"I will. Why did you do it, Nina? Why?"

"Because you couldn't. Because she needed it."

Erstin. Wait for me, will you?

"SHE DIDN'T NEED ANYTHING EXCEPT FOR YOU! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO HER!"

Nothing except me. Nothing except me.

I laugh.

"Wait for me, Ers..."

The sparkles fly around us, dancing in the bright blue sky. She's free. I'm not. It won't be alright.

"Arika, you don't understand. What it's like. To have nothing left."

"... Nothing... left."

"Do you know how it feels?"

The ends of my daggers meet in a metallic flash.

"Can you feel the emptiness gnawing at your insides, right now?"

She watches as I fly up and swirls closer, hugging me for the last time.

"You can't, can you. You can't, because you still have something left."

Nina-chan...

Green everywhere. Green everywhere. She brushes against my lips.

Our first and last kiss.

Ers...

"No matter how high I fly, I still won't reach where she's going. No matter where I go, she won't be there. Do you feel that, Arika? Can you feel that?"

Element Expansion. Start.

"It's over. I'm breaking, Arika. Breaking."

Element Expansion. Start.

"Breaking."

Bolt from the Blue. Countdown.

"Breaking."

III.

Nina-chan…

II.

"Breaking."

I.

Erstin...

Ø

"Broken."

A roar of anger. The green sparks swell around me.

"Don't protect me, Ers, or I can't go with you."

"ARIKA! NO!"

I smile.

"Too late now, Otou-sama."

The blade comes closer and closer until it almost pierces my skin. The green sparkles swirl angrily around me, trying to protect me even as they fade.

It ends with a gunshot and a thud.

Arika falls from the sky in a state of shock, her Element crashing to the ground and shattering back into the nothingness it was called from. There's blood seeping from the wound on her right arm.

I'm still here. I'm still here.

Sayonara, Nina-chan.

Ers...

Sayonara.

Ers!

Mata ne.

Mata ne.

"ERS!"

Otou-sama rushes forward to see if the bullet he fired has done any real damage to Arika. Yohko rushes forward in a swirl of white to help him. Nagi smiles in the background and terminates the materialization period. My Robe and Element fade away.

The world explodes. I laugh.

The tears fall unbidden now, they fall and fall as she flies away.

Sayonara.

Mata ne.

"Ers..."

There is no mata ne. Not this time.

"Ers..."

"YOU FOOL! YOU FOOL!"

It's over now, Ers. You're flying away, and I'm still here.

To forever remain broken.


AN: Yup. I'm done. I'm sad that Ers had to go before she ever got to confess to Nina (actually, that she had to go, period), and I'm sad that Nina had to go postal over something as little as a stupid handkerchief (well, okay, maybe it was more, I was watching the raw and I understand 0 Japanese). Why won't you give us Nina/Erstin, Sunrise! Why must you make Nina so overly obsessed with Sergey! end rant On a better note, I'm working on another Natsuki/Shizuru fic right now, but it'll take a while cuz the way it's going, it's like 30 oneshots stuck into one. 30 oneshots takes a while to write, sooooooo, you'll see it sometime, I promise.