Fade Away.

"I propose when we're Sophomores in College." Shuu murmurs softly, weaving his hands through her hair in and down her back. She doesn't have scars anymore, and she's prettier than she ever was inside Shuuji's mind.

She blushes a bit but smiles, burrowing her face against his neck. "What are we studying?"

"You... you want to be a kinder garden teacher. I support that idea: the kids will love you." Shuu is smiling. She doesn't have to look at him to know this. His voice sounds warmer now, for one. Softer. It makes her shiver and want to get closer, even if it's already impossible to do so. Shuu's hand moves from her hair, down her neck, over her shoulder blades.

Chise is so happy she won't ever fly again that she could cry.

"And you?" Instead she questions him, glancing towards the horizon of their world. Shuu's body will fall asleep soon. He hasn't eaten in days and the little water he could find is gone. If it's not that, it'll be the hypothermia that's settling in.

"I'm studying to be a lawyer." Shuuji answers. Chise kisses his collarbone, brushes fingerpads over his waist and then over his back, giving a gasp as he moves inside her again, trying to breath. "I already have my own place by then, but we'll start searching for a house almost immediately. A nice house. With a garden."

Chise makes a small sound and trembles in Shuu's arms, holding him tightly. One of his hands move down her side, brushes the curve of her breast; it curls over her waist as Shuu starts a slow rythm. Chise is glad they're not looking at each other. They both know that Shuu is dying and she doesn't want him to know she's crying. She thinks he wouldn't want her to know if he's crying, too.

When she was little, way before she became a weapon, Chise read 'The Little Mermaid'. The original one, and she cried so hard after the poor mermaid, becoming sea foam and then a spirit held in the wind, all because she loved. Chise wonders if she's going to become that, after Shuuji dies, or if she had become too much of a machine to be just that. She might just float through the deserted earth, waiting for a chance of redemption.

Chise just hopes that Shuu will go somewhere nice.

"How many children we have?" She asks, moving her legs to wrap around Shuuji, take him in deeper, giving a startled moan when he gets a hand between them, and then blushing red when she moans.

"Three." Shuu brushes his lips against her throat, gives a soft gasping moan as his hips rock against hers, as he thrusts inside her and his pace quickens. Chise knows that one of them is trembling, but she doesn't know who. "Two girls, one boy."

"I like that..." Chise whispers, feeling the sting of tears for a second before they're rolling down her face. "He looks like you... and he's so sweet..."

"And the girls are as pretty as their mom. I'm not able to take my eyes off them, or someone will take them away. Their brother has to help me take care of them, of course. And their mom." Shuu murmurs again, and the longing in his voice is so deep and real and aching that Chise can't help herself with a sob as her vision flashes white, her body trembling and releasing and shivering, spent. Shuuji follows with a strangled moan of her name and collapses on top of her, still inside her and still entwined, as if each other was the only thing keping them grounded.

Which they are.

"Shuuji?" Chise asks softly when she feels his tears against her skin. She's also crying, but she has her eyes wide, looking at the way the sky in their little world is changing into auburn and peach and azure and violet.

"We live until we're ninety. We've eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren when that happens." His voice is just a whisper, despite the tears. His hands are getting cold. Chise can feel it too, and she knows the time is near. She closes her eyes inside of Shuuji's mind and prays with all her strength for them to stay together. It's selfish and she knows it, but she's scared: she doesn't have any idea of where she's going to go and she doesn't want to end up alone. "And when one of us dies..."

"The other one follows, a few days after." Chise continues for him and Shuu's arms go tight around her, tight enough that in her body it would've bruised. He's so cold, and Chise closes her eyes, not wanting to see another world fading to nothing. She's feeling it, and that's enough.

"And when the time comes for us to be reborn, we'll find each other again." Chise sobs quietly. Shuuji doesn't answer, so Chise just waits for the last of his heartbeats to fade away.