Personally, I adore this one. Really, honestly, I do.

Oh, and a thanks to every person that took the time to review my KandaMiranda fics thus far. Especially Novelist Pup, Sailor Water Dragon, XxRaindoshixX, Kuro666, Marinaaa, and MiranKaya; whose reviews left me staring at my screen and grinning like an idiot.

(No, I totally did not print them and reread them in class; because that would be geeky. And stuff.)

time flies, time dies

Ashes are bitter in her mouth; and this is how it tastes, how it tastes and how it smells and how it feels when the world around her falls to shambles.

She's aware of the fact that her back is braced against someone's strong, strong chest; she has arms holding her steady, teeth gritting in frustration and anger and regret and his voice is a rasp and the one word she never thought would issue those lips;


And she said no; she said no, no, no.

Her world is falling into distortion; like a black and white movie gone haywire before her eyes, fuzz, crackle, shake, split. She thinks she's horrible, she's such a selfish, selfish person because while the Earl is dead, fallen at last and the final remnants of his Akuma attempt to avenge their master (like a broken lullaby, he's a Father Christmas gone wrong, wrong, wrong) and lose, fall again and again because to the exorcists it's such a relief to fight if the grand finale looks to be in their favor.

But she won't deactivate her time record; not for him, not for the world.

Two weeks ago the Japanese Swordsman behind her had all but dropped off the face of the Earth, and she recalled how she'd always thought him beautiful, and wept for something she knew was not her fault, not her doing.

Cried anyways.

When Kanda had returned it had been with blood drenching his uniform and making that pretty hair of his stick to his face and clot with the metallic smelling substance. His eyes were almost vacant, as if lost, not realizing what ordeal he'd just come out of. No amount of Allen's questioning, Lenalee's mothering, Leverrier's threats or Lavi's dragging him off to interrogate him elsewhere could get him to talk about what had happened.

But he gripped Mugen with a hold that almost seemed to be an act to reassure himself, as if to convince himself if he'd done the right thing.

And now here, here she was more than aware of the fact that when she'd seen that last Akuma bullet pierce his shoulder, that something was wrong.

She'd seen him fight off the virus before but it had never been anything like that.

Not like a quiet dropping of his sword-hand or a closing of eyes in almost-peaceful acceptance.

Maybe that was why she panicked.

She was strained to breaking point already, and she was tired, sick and tired of seeing so many people diminish before her eyes in clouds of acidic dust as soon as the hands of the clock were lifted from their bodies. It was the first time she'd ever found her innocence to be cruel; clinging to a pale imitation of borrowed time and making her believe, if just for a little.


She freezes up, chokes on air, wants to cover her ears so she doesn't have to listen because she knows what he's going to say. But she can't even so much as move her arms – they're pinned to her sides with the force of his hold.

His voice is right by her ear and his breath is warm; and she's trembling with it. It's a twisted parody of what she would have wanted before, only this time he's being forced to cling to a lifeline he no longer wants to hold. His next words are so, so quiet and tears start budding afresh in her eyes again.

Let go.

Kanda knows the amount of strain she's putting on herself at this point, and she's aware of it. Because he never asks please, and never says die.

I'm sorry, she says it over and over again and again. The familiar feeling of uselessness hangs somewhere on the precipice of falling off the edge and lingering on the grounds of sanity.

He doesn't say a single thing to console her, correct her, because he's never known how, and always figured he'd never really need to. He's cursing himself because of it now.


That voice is saying her name, her name, and she almost wants to scream with the irony of it; a little while ago she would've given anything for him to call her by it instead of something like idiot, useless or any other variant of. Now it just tears at her in a way that nothing else does.

Her time record is cracking.

If you keep this up, you'll have nothing left.

And bitter, bitter. Ashes taste so, so bitter when that too-hysterical laugh leaves her lips and her shoulders quake.

I never had much in the first place.

It breaks.

You need to live.

It sounds like a command but she knows it's a plea; he's pleading the way Yuu Kanda never should.

No, her lips curl upwards at the end slightly, tiredly, no, I don't, because I'm just like you.

She only manages to turn and see the look of bewilderment in his eyes as black stars spread over his pale skin while her Innocence begins to glow an erratic green – she's pushed past one hundred percent synchronization, it's draining whatever remains of her.

He's gone.

She doesn't regret this, she thinks to herself, watching as her fingers become skeletal and all life is slowly sapped from them. Innocence really is anything but innocent.

But it doesn't matter.

She didn't have a purpose after the war either.

f i n . . .