It was cold. The thick, black water hung like glass all around. The patient silence of waiting was interrupted only by the water lapping against the bough and oars, by the air hanging in a motionless fog over the poison beneath. Oars, he thought. They were useful when you had a sense of where you were going. Had it not been for Kanna, he would have let them go a long time ago. Being mocked was no fun. Death, he thought. Death was waiting. He had known it from the moment he realized that they had drifted further and further away from the now tiny glows that had been the torches after them. Evil, he thought. Evil that they would not just have thrown their torches into the black oil that was this water and made them die quickly. They were now drifting into the black oblivion that was the darkness of the sea. He could feel death around him. So much so that his hand found the grip of his sword, as if that would continue to protect them. But Death had a way of avoiding weapons. Not that it would have mattered, anyway. Death was dead. Death was…cold, he thought. Very cold, he thought. Icy, sleepy, tired, co - No. He couldn't think this way. His grip tightened. He had made a promise to her. He was her bodyguard. But now, he was her lifeguard as well. Death took lives, not bodies.

Ryuya gazed down at Kanna's resting face. His eyes, their direction unguided by his fatigued mind, threaded in and out of the strands of royal purple hair unconsciously resting on his knee. Then to the little slits of purple glow that were her dozing eyes. Her, iridescent eyes. Those longing, bleeding eyes that were burdened with the sadness and duty that could not be maintained by other features. Those begging, tear brimmed eyes that had asked him, for her sake, not to die. Those silently suffering eyes tormented him, because they contained the truth. The pure, soft eyes that admitted what both of them refused to. He felt a jolt on his insides as his consciousness was forced to watch. Slowly, he began to stretch his hand towards her. Those eyes could not be lied to; could not be denied… He watched, defenseless, as his impure hand trembled as it gently touched her cheek. He had lost his grip on his sword now, himself and the cold around them a distant blur. Her cheek was warm. He felt his fingers slide until all of his palm was enveloped in the surreal warmth of her as world and darkness melted around them. Suddenly, there was something on the outer side of his hand. Hers! Her eyes had opened, and there she was sitting up and looking at him. His hypnosis burst with a shock of blood to his cheeks as he attempted to pull his hand away from hers. But she held on. Not forcefully, but gently and firmly. Her eyes fell to look at the callused, bruised hand that was in her lap. It was a distant, strange look, as if she depended on it and it frightened her. Then, decisively, she enclosed her own fragile fingers in his, and pressed it against her mouth. Salt water from her eyes cleansed his hand.

The air began to move on.

And he rocked her to sleep.

Kagayaku hoshizora no hita

Kazoe kirenai seiza to kage

Nani wo mitsumeteiru darou?