Awake

Disclaimer: Phoenix and company are all Capcom's. Though if it were up to me, Apollo would be a few more games down the road...

Godot thoughts make this horrifically random oneshot. As always, reviews containing things I mucked up are much appreciated.

Major spoils for T&T.


He woke to darkness and blinked.

For a long while he thought he was still asleep. This was not troubling. When he was asleep, he could dream, and if he could dream, then he'd dream of her.

He always did.

But, no, he was awake. Someone was holding his hand – too rough, too big to be hers – and saying his name, asking him if he could hear. He asked where she was, but no one answered.

"Mr. Armando?"

She used to call him that, back when they were just coworkers at the same firm. Back when he would just tease her and she bit back with stammering retorts. Before he caught her in the hall, five days after that...case, her eyes still dead and haunted, and kissed her hard enough to bruise, trying to breathe the life back into her.

After that, he'd always been Diego. And she stopped being kitten...save for special occasions.

She flatly refused to go back to court, even as an assistant. She had been quieter after what happened, less naïve and a little more cold: the vivid little fire in her eyes had dimmed. He wanted to see it again, one day, burning just as brightly as the moment she had walked in the door.

One day.

"One day," she said, propping herself up on the mattress with her elbows and favoring him with one of those slight smiles that gave his stomach a slow, hot pull, "I'll have to take you to Kurain."

She didn't talk about home much. He ran his fingers idly through her hair. "You'll show me around?"

She laughed. "Yes, all the famous landmarks of Kurain: the manor, the boulder, the telephone booth..."

Then she was quiet, all the laughter gone from her eyes. She stared at his collarbone, watching her fingers trace around it, pensive. He studied her, wondering what she was thinking, what sort of home Kurain had happened to be.

"One day," he murmured, stroking her cheek with his thumb and she smiled again.

"One day."

When he blinked again, they were telling him he'd been poisoned. Like he'd forgotten. He asked for her again, but nobody answered and the world was still dark.

He remembered the warmth of the mug in his hand, staring pointedly at the demon sitting across from him with deceptive innocence. And she stared right back, watched as he took a sip, watched as he doubled over and coughed blood, her pale lips pulling into a twisted parody of a smile, red eyes shining with victory.

"Don't take it personally," she hissed, kneeling next to him under the pretense of help, "It's only to see the look on her face when she finds your corpse." She sighed wistfully. "It's too bad, really. You'll never get to see what else I'm going to do to her."

He tried to say something but a horrible strangled noise tore out of his throat instead. She gave him a shark smile, wide and hungry.

"What's that, Diego? Want me to tell her something for you? Want me to tell her how great a fuck she was, Diego?"

He stared up at her. It was all he could do. He couldn't say anything. Couldn't move.

Couldn't breathe.

The world grew cold and dim and quiet, but before it died, before it faded completely, he thought he saw her, bright and humming, a spot of light in the gathering dark. Numbly felt her vice grip on his shoulder, her terrified scream in his ear.

Then it was dark and he was asleep.

And then he knew. Ice water on his face: it wasn't darkness he was seeing...it was nothing.

He blinked a third time and they told him he was blind.

He'd never see Kurain, or the little sister she spoke so fondly of, or the bright blue mug she bought for his birthday. He'd never see anything again. Never see her again, when it was the morning and everything was warm and perfect and she was curled next to him, breathing even, still asleep.

They were telling him of experimental procedures, medical advances, but he wasn't listening. He asked if she knew, if that was why she hadn't said anything. And there was a terrible, empty silence.

Why wasn't she here? Why wouldn't she be -

And then, he knew. Oh, he knew.

He screamed at them, flailing like a maniac, blind and incoherent, terrified by the feel of tears he couldn't see. They screamed back, and he hit something that crashed to the ground and it was a cacophony of sound so unnaturally loud he stopped.

Then the silence returned, marred only by his heavy breathing, and it was too loud. Too dark, too loud, and the world had gone on without him just fine and didn't seem to care that he had lost everything.Everything.

They started talking again in low, terse voices, but he was away, lost in a pain so raw it left him numb and empty.

He had dreamt of her, bright and warm and beautiful. Now he was awake, and the world was dark and cold.