Watari's turn this time. If you're squeamish, you might want to look away.


The Shinigami Watari Yutaka is a creature of sensation. And when he's bored he likes to test the limits of his (immortal) body. Usually the experiments aren't too morbid. Usually.

Today's is an age old favorite.

Holding his breath.

The experiment starts as it ends--with meditation.

He sits on the floor of his lab, sitting in a half-lotus, and he slowly lets himself relax.

One by one, like a cascade, his drop fall away, slowly at first--reluctant to leave, but soon they fall away faster and faster.

Soon he is left with an empty, empty mind.

For a few moments, he takes in a few breaths, air currents brushing against his nostrils keenly. Then, he takes a large breath (and he's always wondered why this reflex never goes away) and clamps his lips shut, covering his nose with his hand.

Within seconds the toxic CO2 has created unbearable pressure and he lets it slowly release, without taking in a new breath.

His lungs are warm with a fuzzy sort of.. emptiness. He can feel his heart rate increasing--blood racing in a sort of mechanized panic.

He has to clamp another hand over the one already in place as instinct clamors to override the experiment already in progress.

It's so very, very hard not to take another breath, but he simply presses his lips tighter together, creating a white, firm line beneath his palms.

Watari releases more of the gathering carbon dioxide, but it's harder, there's less pressure behind it, and each emission sends a slight thrill of nausea through him.

His lungs start to tingle, prickling softly.

Instint is clamoring for him to drop his hands and let his fingers go, take in a breath, take in a breath!

In his mind he laughs at that baser instinct, taunts it mercilessly.

Perhaps that attitude is what killed him the first time.

He no longer sees what is before him. As his lungs ache and cry out for more oxygen, he rocks back and forth to distract himself from the need to use his airways.

Just a little longer...

His head is swimming, and the pressure in his face and ears is very uncomfortable.

Warmth, his body is warm, carbon dioxide is marvelous like that for generating heat. It's dizzying.

His eyes roll up, twitching as if in a seizure, and now he's fighting for consciousness--again reflexively. They do it again, and his lungs are needling, needlings, needling with tiny pinpricks of pain all over.

Hot, hot, he's feverish and drifting away, and his entire respiratory system is simply burning with need.

Watari has to fight the urge against a dizzying laugh, because that would upset the entire experiment.

He's swaying, but it's not intentional, he can feel blackness gathering around the edges of his perception, feeling dulling away, becoming sluggish like his thoughts.

His mind grows darker and less sharp in its need for that life-giving element.

The warmth goes away suddenly and Watari knows his time is up, and he slumps over as unconsciousness takes him on black wings.

When he comes to minutes later, his eyes are brimming with tears, leftover from the battle to drive back biology.

He sucks in air greedily, reveling in that razor-like sensation, the experience of breathing feeling like something entirely new once again. That euphoric sense of 'I am alive.'

Morbid? A touch. Irresponsible? Perhaps. Invigorating? Very.

However it is something more than that, it is an experiment of insurance, assurance. And also something that trancends to whatever sense of spirituality that he, as a scientist, feels he can have.

It is, in the end, something he cannot really (and does not care to) explain.

He just hopes that no one else finds out.

As he took up the half lotus position again, he was unaware of the watchful eyes on him from beyond the lab, looking through the door at him, totally deviod of emotion.