Through Sickness and Through Health

Summary: They promised to be there for each other through sickness and through health; part of loving someone is knowing when to let go. (Case Study)

Rating: T or M for dark themes.

Spoilers: None.

A/N: This is a case study on mood and connotative meaning. One could consider it an alternate ending to chapter fourteen of Sheelos Fluff with Lemony Sprinkles.

He ran his fingers through her greasy raven hair that pooled in his lap, tracing the intricacies of her countenance with his eyes as she lay in his arms. Dark circles had begun to nestle under his usually bright eyes, now blank and tinted with red. As he reached the end of her locks, he moved to begin again, starting by softly caressing her cheek, but instead of moving to her hair, he placed his hand gingerly on her forehead. His weak smile grew slightly.

"It's died down… way down…" Zelos noted stiffly; his hand strayed back into its routine. By this time, the strands had been paved to his touch and he no longer had to be wary of his work in fear of waking her. It had taken all night, but she was finally at peace.

Whatever ailed her struck suddenly and severely. The clock had grimly struck midnight when the both of them finally began to settle down for the night that the disease had taken her in its vile grasp. He had stayed up with her, cradling her through the night, and for the life of either of them, he couldn't remember any of it. An emotional agony, her pained expression and the feel of her silken hair flowing between his fingers was all the night consisted of to him. In her better moments before she succumbed, they had spoken in soft voices in hopes their words might lull her distress enough so she might slip away into a peaceful sleep, but it hadn't been so until only a half an hour ago.

Alas, as the sun crested over the hills, pouring its warmth onto the awakening earth, Zelos' head pounded and his eyes were dry as he gazed absently into the distance. The measured yet continual beating of his heart fell into rhythm with the pendulum of the grandfather clock as he remained conscious even. Without a thought in his mind, his smile grew mirthless and he closed his eyes. "My internal clock's so fucked up… But then," he opened his eyes again, letting them glide over the woman resting soundly in his lap; his skin prickled without his consent. "…All's well that ends well… Isn't that right, my love…?"

Sheena never once stirred, never once took a breath as he continued to run his fingers through her cold hair, a small crooked smile ever present upon his features.