It's raining outside. Not just a few drops making the earth moist and fresh, as it usually is this time of the year, but really raining. I sit on the windowsill of the Rose Mansion and absentmindedly stroke Shimako's hair. She sits before me and reads, and her curls are still wet from the rain. Feeling them under my fingertips and leaning my forehead against the cold glass which stands sheltering between me and the violent rain I can't help but think about someone else. Shiori.

The rain was exactly like this that one day we were in the greenhouse. I think, of all the time I spent with her, that day has become my dearest memory. When she was in my arms I thought I had everything I could ever wish for. That little moment we were separated from the rest of the world and didn't have to think of what would come. I really believed we could stay that way forever, our fingers linked to each other, breathing at the same pace and feeling such harmony and unity I didn't know was possible. I wished I could just merge with her and disappear, and sometimes I still wish I would have.

Shiori was my angel. We could only be together for a little while but those days changed me. When she left, when she decided she couldn't be with me, I thought I would die. But maybe it was because of the shortness of our time that she became so perfect to me. I hadn't had enough time to learn her unpleasant traits and little bad habits, so to me she was pure and flawless. I have tried to convince myself so many times about it – we wouldn't really have been that happy together, we were too much alike, we were just so much in love. When it rains like this and I remember her serious eyes, her little smile and her tender hands I just can't stop myself. What if---

What if she would have chosen to be with me then? What if she would have stayed? What if I could fall asleep in her arms every night and wake up next to her, the sun on her face and slender limbs, our hair entangled? I don't really believe any of her possible flaws could have changed my view of her. To me she was, and will be, the perfect companion. The only one I was whole with and who could make me whole again.

I try to hide the tears that rise into my eyes. I really do love Shimako, too. I'm happy with her, even though our relationship hasn't always been that perfect. Little Shimako is so kind and patient, and though I don't really connect with her she does understand me better than most. When I first fell in love with her I was sad and angry because I thought she would replace Shiori in my heart. Everything would be easier if she really would have done so.

Shiori isn't something to be replaced. We were meant to be together and we will always be special to each other. I know my feelings hurt Shimako but I can't change them. Shimako says it doesn't matter as long as I am happy with her, too, but I know she doesn't really mean it. Sometimes she looks so much like Shiori I can't stand it, but sad as it is, that's when I love her the most. And we both know that if I was to meet Shiori again some day I would do my everything to get her back.

„Onee-sama?"

Shimako looks at me, worried.

„Are you thinking of her again?"

I sigh and stay silent. After a while I nod and open my mouth to say something, but she shakes her head.

„Please don't say anything, Onee-sama. It's okay."

And with that she turns back to her book. I smile a little and close my eyes. I will never love her like I love Shiori but I'm happy she's with me now. And I hope she will find someone better one day.