Disclaimer: I do not own Clannad

Disclaimer: I do not own Clannad.

Warnings/Notes: Just a little insight. Grammar and spelling mistakes will probably be present.

Tomoya's POV

I stare down at him…almost enviously. Crashed on the floor amidst a mess of half eaten, slowly rotting food and liquor bottles. Sometimes it both angers and amazes me that he can become so oblivious to all of the pain and happenings of the world around him with just the contents of that bottle. I look at it longingly, but I am not foolish enough or perhaps strong enough to reach for it. I turn to face the doorway to the outside world from which, I just came, and without so much as a second thought, I run with all that I am out into it.

The cold air is not nearly as harsh as it had been on the way back from Nagisa's place; for that I am all but grateful. When my breath catches in my burning throat I stop to rest, as the cliché would have it, I stand at the foot of the hill where I first met her. The soft remnant of a smile touches my lips as the memory pushes forward through all other inhabitants of my mind.

The smile and happiness fades quickly, more memories come, some, like those of a girl I can distantly remember, are tarnished by the slow but persistent decay of time. I clench my hand into a fist half-heartedly; the rage I feel is null and void.

And the question comes again: what's the matter with me? I bow my head to stare at the ground. I'm lingering here, in the place on earth where wishes come true, in the place where the supernatural still should not exist, but do, and make themselves known everyday. Where my eyes are no longer blinded by the naïve thoughts of those who are sheltered from great tragedy, and who have never known true compassion for another life. Another stir of emotion within me: Nagisa taught me such compassion.

I swallow hard and try with all my might to force away the raw emptiness, the lacking of my feeling's intensity. I linger here with eyes that see in black and white, with eyes that see common struggles, one pointless thing after another, and with a heart that has fallen into a gray trance. With emotions, thoughts and connections to others withering away due to lack of much needed interest in them.

I wonder why, why I have become like this, why something that came so naturally before has eluded me when I need it the most. Is it because this sadness is so constant that I've accepted it? Has all of this harvesting of tears somehow numbed the impact of the tragedies I've been wrapped up in? No, I at first think, such is impossible, but I soon realize that here in this place where hearts are ensnared by a cruel and unrelenting apathy, that nothing is impossible. Perhaps it is just my mind's defense…have I truly allowed it…myself…to become this weakened?

I swallow the lump in my throat and run as fast as my body will permit down the steep hill, it feels, for a moment, like I'm flying, the ground beneath my feet gives me no traction. I scream out for the sake of my sanity.

And my body connects with the dirt ground. Hard. A gasp emits from my lips and the memories come back in a haze, the fight with my father…the lullaby of my mother as an infant no more than two breaths old. Things I longed to remember along with things I should not be able to flash before my eyes. Tears come as struggles unfold before me with nothing I can do to stop them. Kotomi…Fuko…I attempt to move to my feet dizzily, but find I cannot until the overwhelming sense of nostalgia leaves me. When it does my heart feels a little lighter; I am able to cry again for those who I've lost, for those who deserve my tears and no one else. I am able to be like Nagisa. A smile comes as I rise and brush myself off; tomorrow I will ask him…where my mother is buried, why we don't visit her there….

In the aftermath of a frighteningly abrupt epiphany I stand smiling through tears which aren't meant to be happy. Death, and this place, which has brought me great sadness along with great friends, saddens me, but for the first time in life I realized…in this moment…I understood….

Running away won't help anything, no matter where I go, I will at some point become overwhelmed.

Nagisa is not a crybaby she has merely been raised to understand the inevitable.

I move to start up the hill with the intention of seeing her again, even if it means waking her and the old man. In the distance I see a figure I can't make out, and as I near him, I realize it is my own father. I stop dead and stare at him, tears are falling freely down his face, and touching my own I realize that those I cried earlier had dried, all that was left now was a smile.

Somewhat begrudgedly I approach him, I'm ready, Nagisa, to accept the inevitable.

In that instant, before I can register what's happening, hands are grasping my arms and a weight is pressed against my own as the two of us struggle not to fall backwards, "I've caused you trouble again, haven't I Tomoya-kun?" The bottle of liquor he held at the top of the hill had been abandoned, and lay shattered on the ground a few feet ahead of me.

He embraces me, and for once in life I realize the inevitable got tired of waiting and came to find me. The part of me that wants to smile battles for dominance in my mind against the part of me that wishes to cry.

One thing is for certain: in this world, living as a human being, nothing, good or bad, can last forever.

With all that I am and have wished to be throughout my childhood…I return his embrace.