Chapter 7- Breathing

Hours later, Hikaru woke. The light was entirely gone now, everything reduced to darkness. He guessed that it must be the very earliest hours of the morning. All he could feel was Haruhi. She was still in his arms, her back to his chest because that was more comfortable for her. His body was curled protectively round her and his arms were curved around her small ribcage.

He could feel her slow breathing: out, in, out, in, out, in...

It was calming, steady, the sleep of the innocent. Just that slow, unchanging, regular rhythm: out, in, out, in, out, in, out...

He waited for the in. He counted for a whole minute. When it did not come, he knew she had gone, slipped out of life peacefully and without fuss. So like her.

He turned her head just a little and kissed her cheek, before pulling her frail body closer and trying to tell himself to just breathe.

It was over.