ooc; This one was caused by me being up insanely early in the morning, dreaming of a certain boy of mine. So, if the grammar is a bit off, and some things aren't quite right, it's warranted. Read and rate, loves.

Disclaimer: I do not own Ghost in the Shell, or any of the characters associated with it. Otherwise, I would have to marry Motoko/Batou/Ishikawa/Togusa/Aramaki. And that's polygamy. Not allowed.

Dying Inside

"Have you someone you can ...trust?"

"Why, I believe I do."

Motoko remembered it. Everything that everyone else did not see when she was trapped in that hole under all the rubble. Trapped with Kuze. It was what kept her up at night most of the time, and made her wake up screaming the rest of the time. Screaming from nightmares about him. In all her years as an officer, she had never made a worse mistake. She had found him, the one who knew her past and her present. And she had last him, chasing after Gouda instead of caring for his safety. Beside her bed was the paper crane they had found with his body.

Batou and the rest of Section 9 could see her losing herself. Most could not understand her feelings about the topic, and simply stayed away from her and it. The rest it just pissed off. Especially one ex-ranger. 'Who was Kuze to her? Had this been any other man, she would have got up and moved on,' He thought one day. 'But, he was important. She loved him.' The fact that 'loved' was in the past tense might have been him trying to hope. Above all else, keep it positive, he thought.

The Major was no longer herself. There was less expression to her work, to her emotions, and even to her appearance. The few rare smiles that she gifted the team with were gone. The ferocity to get the mission done, gone. Her clothes shrunk down to the black suit she wore when on duty, and she never went home. There was a cot set up for her in the tech lab. But, most of the time, it was never used.

Life went on, work went on. The Chief gave them missions; they did them with a decently high success rate. And the Major said nothing, her body shrinking down to pure muscle from the meals she wasn't eating. She was dying, and they could all see it. Batou watched, and the other's ignored. The ever faithful team, they stayed out of her business, and she stayed out of theirs. Of course, the big man had always been a poker, poking his nose into other's business.

Perhaps that is what made him corner her after work one day. The rest of the team had gone home- Ishikawa, Boma, Pazu, and Saito to their individual apartments; Togusa to his wife and kids. The room is silent, but for the typing of keys and the various grunts of annoyance coming from Batou. The Major ignored it long enough, but then sent over cybercom. What is your problem?

Silence on the other end. Then, Batou shot back. What is yours?

Ouch, it bites. And it hurt, as well. Her features betrayed hurt behind red eyes, but then she tucked that away. It didn't matter, not since 'The Mistake'. Nothing mattered.

Gathering her things, she decided she would go out for the night...Anything to escape Batou and his prying.

With her hand on the doorknob, ready to leave, she felt a solid mass come up behind her, close. Instinctively, she tensed up; ready to reach for the knife she had hidden on her person. Until...She felt two arms slide around her waist, holding her close. "I ask, because I care," His rough voice whispered in her ear, strangled. "What happened to the fire that I love about you? I don't care who he was, but you made a mistake. It's time you get over it."

His confession, so brave for Batou who was never good with words, broke her heart. Closing her eyes, as a silver tear leaped down her cheek, she turned in his grasp and let him hug her close as she sobbed.

"Why, I believe I do."

ooc; And it is fin! Read and rate, loves. I've fallen in love with BatouxMajor oneshots at the moment, though I may branch out. We'll see.