A/N: I haven't seen the entire series, so I'm sorry if this isn't completely correct with the mythos. Enjoy it anyway? Or you could—politely—tell me, and I'll see if I can fix it. This is my first fic for tactics.

Disclaimer: Don't own tactics, and I'm not making any money off this

Ratings: PG

Genre: Tragedy/Angst

Warnings: Possible OOCness (not much, and for a good reason)

Main Characters: Haruka and Kantarou

Additional Notes: Err . . . I've seen the first five episodes, and I own the first and second manga . . . but that's as far as my knowledge extends, so please be gentle. The title means, "The bottom breaks," which is an idiom for the phrase, "To fall apart."

Soko ga Wareru

The house was silent and Haruka shuddered at the lack of commotion, the lack of movement. The lack of contentment. The beam was rough as he leaned against it, staring out at the small garden but he could not find it in him to care any more. At this point, he wouldn't have cared if his tea bowl was destroyed in front of him. There wasn't much more of this that he could take. It had been more than two months of this, of useless, pointless waiting. Haruka grit his teeth, sick of waiting, sick of the helplessness that pervaded the small house. The wind ruffled his dark hair and he sighed, running a thin hand through the untamable strands as he pushed himself away from the beam lightly. The old floorboards creaked beneath his weight, alerting Youko the moment he entered. She looked up from where she stood in the doorway—he could tell that she had been coming to get him.

"Haru-chan. . ."

"No." He didn't look at her, and the hurt in her eyes.

She was biting her lip now, he knew, her fox ears showing and limp. "But Haru-chan. . . He's asking for you."

Haruka stopped, his hands fisted and nails digging into his palms; his eyes were closed. "Of course, then. If my master calls, I have no choice but to obey." He turned and passed the kitsune without another word. Youko merely watched, unable to say anything, even when she heard the opening and shutting of the door to his room.

The room was dim as Haruka entered it, and it reeked of incense, of bleak despair. The room itself, however, had changed little since the happier days—save for the always present futon. Haruka could hardly bring himself to look at the figure on the bed, the shell of his master. Kantarou was pale now—more so than ever—and thin, sickly in all appearances, save for his eyes. Those beautiful eyes that Haruka had always secretly loved, the eyes of kindness and contentment. They seemed to have the ability to see anything from farce to love—but no more. The sickness had robbed Kantarou of even that and his eyes no longer saw anything but darkness. Haruka knelt at the side of the futon, his own eyes focused on the floorboards.

"Haru-chan?" Haruka flinched; Kantarou's voice was as thin as his body, and just as weak. "Is that you?"

Haruka only paused for a moment however. "Yes." Kantarou forced a fragile smile. "You called, master?"

The pale boy drew in a feeble breath, closing his unseeing eyes, a hand on his chest, where Haruka knew a youkai had once scarred him. "Yes," he murmured. "I . . . release you, from your name contract, Haru-chan. When I die, it will be released fully."

Those dark eyes widened. "Kantarou!" He gripped the fabric of his hakama, trembling nearly unnoticeably in his sudden fear. "You can't!"

Kantarou only sighed in reply. "I can. I did. You are free, Onikui tengu." His eyes became slits once more and faced towards the open shoji in the façade of watching the butterflies. "You may return to your shrine, your mountain, if you wish."

He could feel his power swelling now, flooding his veins—he knew that soon he would forget, forget Kantarou and everything. He hoped it would be a slow return; he was not finished with the exterminator yet. "Why?" he asked quietly, though his voice was by no means soft as some of the fierceness of long ago crept into it. "Why are you doing this?"

"Doing what?" asked Kantarou softly, his face still turned away.

Onikui Tengu—once known as Haruka—frowned. "Dying. Why, human?"

Kantarou laughed, though it was failing. "All humans die, tengu. You know that."

"But why you?" His voice was persistent, and yet, he could no longer remember this human's name. He only knew that he did not want to see this pale thing die. "Not all humans die. So why you?"

He smiled blindly. "Because I'm content enough to die, having known you—and Youko. She's free, too. You're free. And I'm . . . happy." Something in that voice told him otherwise, but he was beginning to wonder why it even mattered—who was this human to him, anyway? His death no longer mattered.

He got to his feet, looking down at the thin body. The human wasn't dead yet, but it was only a matter of time. He wasn't even worth words. He said nothing as he spread his wings, the human gasping slightly at the sound. Then he was in the air, feeling the wind and a freedom he had not known for years. Still, he could hear the sound of the human—and the tears that slipped down those white cheeks to the futon, and he felt empty. Why does it matter . . .?


A/N: The end. I'm not sure how much I like the ending, but oh well. Tell me what you think! Please, review!