disclaimer: hereby disclaims

teaser: and then she dies

Author's Notes: I honestly have no idea. XD Real short, real sweet (or not. whatever). Because I haven't devoted nearly enough time to Yuri/Alice, even though they're what got me hooked on Shadow Hearts in the first place.

/in medias res/

Alice is sleeping, softly, her lips parted, her eyes unmoving, her breath unfurling in gentle gushes of air and the world drifts around her like lazy mists of a calm sea she's never been on, except she's never stopped believing they exist, somewhere, somehow.

But she is aware. Of the gentle hum beneath her feet as the train rocks them, of the light from the dying sun flashing warm across her cheek, the low murmurs of a lady who gently passes. Of a baby farther up who sniffles with unease and restlessness.

She is aware of his hand, solid and warm, holding hers. She smells his scent, fresh and clean with a hint of gunpowder and leather, and just a tinge of darkness. And she feels his shoulder, a little sharp, a little bony, jostle the side of her face every so often. She doesn't mind and she moves closer because she likes his warmth.

For the first time in a long while, Alice thinks that she is happy. Not mostly happy, with a hint of weariness or exhaustion at the corner of her mind. Happy. Truly. The wonder of it.

Yuri mumbles something beside her, and her ears barely acknowledge the words. They are content to stay in half-awareness, nearly asleep, only dimly aware of what goes on around her.

In the back of her head she thinks she hears the gentle tick-tick-ticking of a clock. But it is so easy to ignore and she thinks she must be imaging it.

She will open her eyes now, Alice thinks. And she will look over at Yuri and it will one of those rare moments where he looks like the boy he never really got to be, where all the harsh lines of his face will be smooth, where his battered and weary eyes will be hidden, where he will dream that his mother isn't dead.

And she will watch him, if only for a moment or two, and then gently kiss him awake and tell him that she loves him. And Yuri will fumble because he's still awkward at all this and she will giggle and kiss his uncertainty away. And they will kiss some more and then hold each other and fall asleep again.

Her eyes remain closed.

There is a moment of panic at the realization that she cannot do as she wishes, but it fades so quickly she forgets the sharpness of her fear and instead drifts.

Perhaps, in the back of her mind, she realizes she no longer hears the subtle tick-tock of a clock that has followed her for so long now.

She inhales and thinks she feels a tug on her wrist, but the old woman that shuffles passed her sees only a young girl, asleep peacefully against the shoulder of her lover.

Alice exhales and does not even have the chance to think, No, I do not want to leave him, because she has forgotten how to form words in her head and she has forgotten had to lift her heavy eyelids and her lungs try to inhale, to convince the rest of her that they can still go-go-go, but she has forgotten how to listen.

For a moment she knows only the warmth of a body against her side and she remembers for a moment, Yuri and love. And she has the sensation of soft laughter against her ear, low voices of malice pressing down on her, before there is nothing at all. Just white and a sudden chill and another tug on her wrist. Father?

And then she dies.

notes: just a little sometihing-something to get me back into the swing of writing Shadow Hearts. XP Oh, in case you didn't know, in medias res is latin for 'into the middle of things'.