Standing on the brink.

A thousand hands melding seamlessly into one clawed at the crumbling cliff at his feet, slowly but steadily drawing him closer to the edge. Zetsu watched their progress mutely, yet another tear streaking down his pale cheek. Darkness bled across the heavens, wiping out the cold sheen of the unforgiving stars with its rolling folds. Its steady progress mirrored the advance of the abyss before him, the fathomless chasm threatening to drag down.

Loneliness is a terrible thing. It claws its way into your heart, turning the once lively muscle into something cold and dead, a thing that beat hollowly in a sick mockery of what it once was. It slowly spread throughout your body like a cancer, turning your bones to lead and putting acid in your tears. If left unchecked, it wouldn't be long before it would completely ravage the body of any hope, any compassion for others of the human race. Killing you without leaving a trace.

It wasn't always this way. He could remember a time when the warm safety of another's arms circled his shoulders, when a soft, comforting voice whispered away all of his tears and nightmares. But that time was long since gone, the dim memories faded and indistinct. They were all that remained in the half healed hole that he could feel in his chest, that sudden loss that he could still feel, even now.

They abandoned us.

The bitter voice broke through his thoughts, echoing slightly in the cloying silence. He closed his eyes in a silent agreement, his mind flicking back to the memory of the end of those warm, bright days. The one where his parents lay curled up together on the only bed, their faces relaxed as the coolness of death settled over their bodies. The red spots of the disease that claimed them had still shone bright of their blue tinted faces, even after their deaths. They'd left him behind, alone in the cold light of the world. A world where different meant dangerous, a thing to be avoided at all costs. And so he was. The only survivor of the plague that had killed his family.

Alone.

Another tear stole down his face as more of the cliff crumbled away, falling into the pit before him. That single word reverberated around his head, growing louder and louder on every bounce. So alone, with no one who cared, no one to dry his tears, no one to hold him, just nothing, endless nothing… The tears fell more freely now as his body began to shake, that hole in his heart growing larger with every encore of the word. He wordlessly raised his head, yellow eyes scouring the heavens in search of some comfort but finding none. The weight of the darkness around him pressed down on him from all sides and forced him to his knees. He complied, so sick of this horrible feeling that tore apart his insides, cutting to shreds any happiness for him there was in this world. He shuddered once as he felt the earth beneath his giving way, throwing him into darkness, but he didn't resist. He just let himself fall. Down, down, into despair. There was nothing left. Not for him.

His eyes jolted open as his decent suddenly halted, something firm and warm holding onto his wrist. A dark figure knelt on what remained of the cliff, holding onto him with all of his might. Twin yellow eyes watched him passively, standing out against his coal black skin. A small frown crinkled his forehead as he fought to keep his balance, his other hand reaching down to strengthen his grip.

You are not alone. The other informed him, slowly pulling him up. It was the same voice that had accompanied him since his parents died, the usual bitter tone replaced for the moment by a quiet, passionate one. As long as we are still alive, you will never be alone. Zetsu looked up at him in confusion, cautiously reaching up an arm to grip what remained of the cliff edge. Who was this? Why did he save him?

The other smiled wryly,releasing his wrist to help heave Zetsu's shoulders over the edge. Once he was sure the pale boy was firmly on the solid ground, he replied simply, Because we are the same.

Zetsu lay draped across the cliff top, panting slightly from the excursion of pulling himself up. When he heard the others reply he looked up, taking in his face. It was the mirror image of his own, except that the other's skin was dark instead of pale. The other smiled again, that simple action seeming to lift the shadows surrounding them.

You and I are one and the same. The moon and its shadow, he informed him, crouching down before Zetsu and taking his hands in his own. As long as we are alive, I will never leave you. Never again will we cry in the shadows, unseen and unheard, while the world passes us by. Never again will we stand on this cliff, while loneliness threatens to throw us into the pit despair. As long you still live, I will be here for you. I will mend your hurts, ease your fears and soothe your cries. As long as you live, you will never be alone again.

Zetsu blinked as two coal black arms pulled him into a warm embrace, the other's breath tickling his ear as his other side leaned closer to whisper.

Never.