Title: Pale

Fandom: .hack/ROOTS, .hack/GU

Rating: PG- Mild language

Pairings: HaseoxShino

Notes: A friend asked me to write some HaseoxShino fluff, and eventually got around to showing me the first thirteen episodes of ROOTS, so now I can actually write the thing. SPOILERS- episodes 12 and 13. Song lyrics- The End of the World: angela.

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I didn't really think about it at the time, but she looked really pale in all those dark clothes. I guess I was too busy looking at her clothing to notice her skin color. At the time, it wasn't really important anyway. She had sunk god only knows how deep into depression, and I tried to do what I could to help her.

But even then, it wasn't enough. I can't really bring myself to believe that she's really gone…It all seems like one huge nightmare, a dream. It feels like I'll wake up at any moment and find her there, waiting for me.

Kono sora no iku hate ni

Mada mienu mirai no nami ga ari

In the end where this sky goes,

The waves of the future can't be seen yet

No, not me. Him. I guess she never really was waiting for me. I was waiting with her; I thought that was what she needed- someone who wouldn't run out on her like he did. I think she felt abandoned, and so I stuck by her, stayed with her. I did my best.

But it…wasn't good enough… I let her die. I didn't live up to her expectations. It's all my fault she's gone…

I should have been there for her. I should never have left her alone.

I might as well have stabbed her myself.

I should have noticed how pale she looked in all those dark clothes. I should have tried harder.

Ikite iru ikutsu mono unmei o koete yuku

Dare ni osowari dare ni koute iru no darou

As long as we've lived how many of us have risen above fate?

Who's going to teach us, who's going to ask us?

There are so many "should haves." Thinking about them now is pointless, but it's human nature. Hindsight is always and cruelly one-hundred percent perfect. It's always after the fact that we know exactly what we should have done.

All of the "should haves" compound themselves until all you can see is one giant mistake that can't be made up, and certainly can't be undone. It's always too late when you realize it.

Heh. I should be saying "I," I guess. I wasn't there, I was supposed to be the one that was there for her, I was the one who created this huge mess that things have become…

I couldn't save her. I can't blame anyone else. I wasn't watching her closely enough. I didn't notice. I should have known.

Although, what could I have done? What would she let me do? What was I actually capable of doing? What did I know about how to handle the situation? Who did I know that could help me? Help her?

Hito wa tsukiru inochi no aima ni

Deau koto ni obieru ma wa nai

Tatoe kyou de kono sekai ga owarou to shite ite mo

Kimi o ai suru darou

People are frightened of encountering the end of their lives,

But I'm not afraid.

Even if this world ends today,

I will still love you.

I've lost too many people near me. First him and now you. You, who I could have saved, who I could have noticed looked pale in all those dark clothes. But I was oblivious. I didn't think that it would ever happen. I didn't think ahead.

I didn't think.

Komorebi ga yasashikute

Demo sore wa eien dewa nakute

The sunbeams streaming through the leaves are gentle,

But for that eternity cried.

You saw how much I cried. Tears ran down two faces- my characters and mine. You probably didn't know it, but back in the real world I was crying too. I was screaming in a very real pain.

It hurt, losing you.

Afurederu kanashimi ni hoshi wa mou aoku nari

Kotoba mo karete tada ai dake nokoreba ii ne

The earth becomes blue in my overflowing sorrow

Words wither, and love is all that remains, right?

I am lost now. I don't know what to do or where to go or how to get there if there is a place to go. I need you to be here, to tell me what to do, to give me direction, guidance. Without you, I can only wander aimlessly and hope that what I'm looking for will run into me head-on.

Hito wa tsukiru inochi ni madowasare

Toki ni hito ni tsuraku ataru yo

Tatoe kyou de kono sekai ga owarou to shite ite mo

Kimi o mamoru darou

People are bewildered that life must end

And time strikes them harshly.

But even if this world ends today,

I will still protect you.

I swear, that no matter what, I will find a way to save you. I need you to come back. Everything is broken without you. I will find who did this to you and I will destroy them. I will find a way to bring you back to me. No matter what it takes…

… that's love, isn't it?

Kimi ni hikari o todoketakute kimi no egao De iyashite

Your smiling face delivers light that heals me.

There is a way to bring your light back to me. I know that because I won't let myself believe otherwise. I have to believe that there is a way to save you because otherwise, I have nothing left to live for. I live- or die- for you. You who looked so pale in all that dark clothing.

It didn't really suit you or your personality, but I didn't say anything. You were too resolved- you'd made your decision, and I wasn't about to undo it for you. It was your choice- and my mistake- that led us here.

I'm sorry. More sorry than you could ever possibly know. I ache so much more than I ever thought a human being could bear, and all because the blame for what happened to you lies squarely on my shoulders. Somehow, the words seem inadequate, but that's all that can really be said.

So from now on, no more until I find you again. You, who looked so pale in all those dark clothes.

Hito wa tsukiru inochi no aima ni

Deau koto ni obieru ma wa nai

Tatoe kyou de kono sekai ga owarou to Shite ite mo

Kimi o ai suru darou

People are frightened of encountering the end of their lives,

But I'm not afraid.

Even if this world ends today,

I will still love you.