Now and Forever
By Crow Skywalker
Disclaimer – I don't own Full Moon wo Sagashite or the characters.
Author's Notes – I don't usually write one shots, or holiday fics at all. But this one came to me and demanded to be written, so I sat down and wrote it.
Other Things – Izumi/Meroko. Takes place after the anime, so I guess in a way, it does contain spoilers.
A full moon hung low in the sky, its borrowed light casting shadows against the sand and reflecting off of the cold ocean waters. The beach was abandoned; no one dared venture out into the cold, especially on a night such as this. Most people were home with their families, celebrating the giving of gifts and sitting around fires drinking eggnog. The beach, and even the streets were empty this night, all except for a lone figure whom sat on a wall near the lighthouse, looking out over the ocean.
Izumi Rio had never liked Christmas. His mother had never celebrated it when he was alive, and now that he was a shinigami he saw no point in starting. It was a time for family and friends – something he had never had when he was alive, and never bothered with now. He preferred to be alone each Christmas, which had lead him to the beach this year.
Sitting in the cold, with the sound of the lighthouse going off every now and then, Izumi struggled with his bitter thoughts on the world.
Here he was, just like every other Christmas, alone and bored and angry, while everyone he knew was happy and full of holiday cheer.
Take Mitsuki, for example – she was celebrating her first Christmas with Takuto. The poor excuse of a shinigami had somehow landed himself mortality of all things. He'd killed himself, became a soul reaper, and fell in love with a young girl and BAM! His fuzzy love feelings had made God decide he deserved a second chance.
Sneering, Izumi looked down at the sand below his feet. It was unfair. Life – or unlife, as it was – was completely unfair. It had even taken Meroko from him and now, besides the annoying Jonathan, he was totally alone. He tried telling himself he liked it that way – being alone was better than trying to have a decent conversation with Jonathan anyway.
He let an angry hiss come from his clenched teeth as he wondered where Meroko had disappeared to. He was angry at Meroko, anyway, so he tried to tell himself that he didn't care. She'd repeatedly told him that she loved him, only to disappear and never return. He'd never believed her before – now he sure as hell didn't.
Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of something. A flash of white. By the time it registered in his head and he'd turned to look, it was gone.
Now he was going crazy. Something else to be bitter about, he decided, his eyes narrowing.
"Aren't you cold?" A voice asked from behind him.
He didn't bother to turn around, too busy glaring at the moon. "I don't feel the cold," he replied.
The voice giggled. "I forgot. You live in your own icy world, anyway. Even this weather wouldn't bother you."
Izumi's eyes focused on the craters in the moon, right before something hit him.
No one could see him anymore, not even Mitsuki. So having a conversation with anyone, especially on a night such as tonight, should be impossible.
Spinning around, moving fast enough that he should have fallen from the wall, he levitated in mid air as he stared at the figure in front of him. She beamed up at him, her pink hair shimming in the moonlight, which made her white wings look like they were glowing.
"Meroko," he stated, though his eyes were wide and full of questions.
She laughed, her beautiful eyes closing momentarily as she shook her head. "You haven't changed at all, Izumi."
His shock wearing off, his eyes narrowed at her. "Where have you been?" He demanded to know.
She smiled brightly at him, her cheeks flushed in the cold. "Heaven."
He blinked, his expression fading. "Heaven?"
"Well," she looked thoughtful, "I've been looking after Mitsuki a lot, too. Her and Takuto are doing very well, you know."
"I've noticed," he replied, and the bitterness was back in his voice.
"I've been watching over you, too," she said quietly.
He tilted his head, getting a good look at her.
Dressed in a pink dress with big red ribbons, she looked absolutely stunning. With white frills and gloves and big pink boots, her white wings matched her outfit perfectly. Her short pink hair, which seemed odd after seeing it long for so long, framed her face perfectly. She was beautiful.
He chose not to comment on her.
"I haven't seen you. After the concert, you completely disappeared."
She looked apologetic. "It's part of being and angel. I'm invisible now."
"Invisible?" He questioned, raising an eyebrow.
"No one can see me," she replied, looking past him to the ocean. She floated forward so that she was by his side, just like old times, as she looked at the nightly scenery. There was a cold gust of wind, causing her to fold her arms across her chest.
It started to snow.
"Not even Mitsuki?" He asked.
"Not even Mitsuki," she confirmed.
Izumi watched as a snowflake fell onto Meroko's hair. It didn't melt, just hung there and reflected the light from the moon in a thousand different colors. Izumi fought the urge to reach out and run his hand through her newly cropped off hair, to feel it between his fingers once again.
"Then how come I can see you now?"
She turned her head to look at him and smiled. "It's Christmas, isn't it?" She looked away, and he caught a glimpse of her cheeks reddening even more, and not because of the cold. "I asked to see you and I was granted my wish. Only for tonight, though."
Her words shocked Izumi, and he found he had nothing to say.
"I've missed being able to talk to you, you know. Even if you are a jerk to me most of the time," she laughed at that, but still didn't look in his direction.
He felt the urge to reach out to her, to touch her and embrace her. He wanted to tell her that he missed her too – terribly so, most days.
He opened his mouth to tell her – to tell her something, he had no idea what – but no words formed.
He felt like he was back in time, all of the times she had confessed her feelings to him, and he hadn't been able to say anything but insults in return, too afraid to take a step forward and embrace what she had to offer. All of his human life he had been beaten, told he was unwanted, and he had never believed anyone since. But with Meroko, he'd always wanted to believe – he'd put her through the tests, and she'd always returned, just like she'd returned now.
She'd wished to see him. Not Takuto. Not Mitsuki. She was here, standing next to him and no one else.
His fingers twitched at his sides. It would be so easy to reach out to her, all he had to do was move…
"My time is growing short," she said sadly, and when she finally looked at him her eyes from full of tears.
Without thinking at all, he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to him. He held her close, his arms around her and his face in her hair. It smelt like strawberries and tickled his nose. Her feathers brushed against his hands, and he felt her grab hold of his vest, clinging to him.
"I missed you, Meroko," he managed to choke out into her hair.
He felt her smile, her fingers letting go of his vest to wrap around him.
"I still love you," she whispered in his ear. "Now and forever."
His heart clenched in his chest. "And I believe you," he answered.
She started to pull away, slowly and reluctantly. She smiled at him, snow flakes falling onto her tear streaked face. "Merry Christmas, Izumi," she said, her smile widening as she closed her eyes and her lips found his.
The kiss was soft and lasted only a moment, but it made Izumi's heart skip to life.
"Merry Christmas," he said to her, looking down at her with a hint of a small smile.
And then she was gone.
Floating in the air, Izumi looked to the sky. The moon was disappearing into the clouds and the snow was starting to fall a bit harder. Soon, a blanket of white would spear across the frozen sand. Looking back at the city, Izumi looked at the decorated houses and empty streets.
Maybe he wouldn't spend Christmas alone this year, after all.
Even if he couldn't see her, Meroko would be by his side.