A/N: This takes place post-Ayashi no Ceres, just after the final battle. After Ceres and Mikagi both are lost to this world, they wake up, one last time. The format to this is a bit weird, but I originally thought this up in 'manga' style, with drawings and speech bubbles instead of text. So I tried to make it as visual as possible and... here it is. Enjoy.
disclaimer: I wish they were (mine)! Quotes are from Rescued by Jack's Mannequin.
Black. Everything is.
You can't see.
Light, but you still can't see yet.
Your hands. His head. Your hands, resting on his head. And you're not scared.
This is new… no, this feeling isn't something new; just something so old that you've forgotten how it felt.
Your hands are resting, resting on either side of his heads, fingers lightly touching his temples. His voice you can barely hear, and yet it vibrates through your whole body.
Where are you?
Your eyes are closed, and you realize that for the first time. Maybe you should open them.
"Are we… still?"
Still? As in still fighting, angry, full of hate… or as in quiet? He needs to elaborate. You don't tell him to.
Your eyes are still closed. Maybe you should open them… but it feels better this way. Better.
"Are we?" Oh… you must have asked that aloud.
"Yes… I feel… I'm tired," he says, and his voice is even, low, calm.
"Well…" through your eyelids, you can feel the black unveiling to reveal a thin mist. "You've had a long day."
though," he responds, as if he knows. His tone is one of finality.
"Two to one,
Static to the sound of you and I,
I'm done for the last time…"
Your eyes are tightly shut now; it feels unnatural. Open them, slowly, slowly, feeling your fingers on his temples, his head resting in your lap… here he is. Your fingertips, so cold, brush over the scars on his face. You had a thought that they'd be gone, and his skin smooth. Guess you were wrong.
His eyes are still closed… where are you sitting?
"It's over," he repeats, fainter, as if he needs your reassurance. To make sure he doesn't have to keep fighting.
"Yes," you say, an odd smile playing across your lips. Strange… a smile is not what you had in mind.
His brow grows lighter, and you can see slight worry lines on the corners of his closed eyes. You're not scared… you trace them with one hand.
He is silent for a while.
"…Mikagi?" Strange again… to use that name. You need him to keep talking. Because you need reassurance, too. You ran from it for decades, centuries, eons… but you can't erase that.
"When it's quiet, does she hear me?
…And I'm thinking I prefer not to be rescued."
There is a faint humming somewhere in the background, like white noise, only less ominous… more familiar. The mist is white. Except this time, you don't have to wake up anymore.
Why is Mikagi here?
"So … where do we go now?" he asks, and you fall. It is slightly cold in this place, this… space, empty space.
All your lives you've been doing, going, moving. Now that it is mentioned, yes, you think you should feel slightly nervous that you're stationary. That you're… that you're still (ah… you know what he means now).
Maybe you'll go back to heaven. "I don't know," you say instead.
"Will you miss me?" He says, and there, right there, you can pinprick it with your thumb, is a trace of fear in his voice. A part of him does not want to hear the answer to this question. A part of you doesn't want to answer this. The answer is no.
But yet, "…" you can't say anything. Your hands stop stroking his forehead; they have come to rest on his widow's peak, his black hair. Your hair is trailing, trailing. It mixes with his.
He isn't smiling, nor grimacing. A cloud of mist comes and obscures his face for a moment; you think you feel him shudder, but when it clears, there he is, eyes closed, mouth set and ready to speak, face peaceful.
"I don't blame you," he says, and you observe for the first time that your voices echo. They resound, bounce off unseen walls, come back to you, and the echoes sound alien. "I wouldn't be able to blame you," he says, more to himself.
You try to say something again. Nothing.
"I… well… I think the best I can hope for… is for you to remember me." You can hear a smile, the same strange kind as yours, in his voice, though his mouth is still set. "Yes," he decides after the echoes die away, "remembering me will be enough."
Say you'll miss me, one last time,
I'll be strong, but whatever you do,
Please don't get me rescued...
Why? Won't Mikagi be with you?
"I… I don't think I can enter heaven," he answers for you. Your hair is grazing his face; you move to brush it away, but you can't tell where his hair ends and yours begins.
How long does this mist, this white go on?
You'd like it to be dark again, to fold into yourself. But when darkness comes, where will you be? And where will he go?
Where are you? This would be easier if you knew. Then you could escape.
A tear is sliding down the side of his face, mixing with your fingers. Is it his… or yours?
"I'm… if I could do it over… I…" He's still trying.
Where are you?
"I'll miss you, Mikagi," you say, and realize that yes, you are crying, because you can hear the own pain in your voice. "I will."
"Promise?" He sounds like a little boy, like your lost little girl.
WHERE ARE YOU!?
And the next time you come to, the next time you wake up, (if you wake up), you don't know where you'll be again.
And Mikagi is saying, promise, Ceres, do you really promise?
The light goes on, endless, and you're being blinded, and you pray for black, black, the safety and cover of black.
"I promise." You still love him.
Between the grafts of light, you think you see him smile. The mist is growing deeper, but if it is also getting darker, you cannot tell. "I will too," he says. Will you remember his voice?
Will you be alone the next time?
Where will you be? Where will he be? Heaven? Or… empty space…
"And I feel all right, so please...
Whatever you do, please...
Don't get me rescued..."