Disclaimer:
Mai HiME and its characters belong to Sunrise. No profit made, no copyright infringement intended.

Warnings:
This is NOT a happy fic. Uncertain is probably the best word for it. If you're looking for fluff, you're in the wrong place at the moment.

Author's Notes:
I'll call this a minimalist-fic, I think, as all it consists of are the sounds you'd hear if you were to be present during it. Dialogue is the main focus, and I hope I suceeded somewhat in letting the emotions show even without any physical descriptions. Even if I didn't, it ended up being a good little exercise for me. An eventual continuation is as uncertain as the brief snippet below. Yes, I prefer happy endings, but this story may carry a stronger impact as a oneshot. Any thoughts on that matter are welcome.

Still having some serious 'puter troubles at home, so this was written and posted during spare moments at work. As always, thank you for reading.

Aftermath


"So what will you do?"

"I don't know."

Tick tock, went the clock on the wall, trying to fill the silence.

"You said that you forgave her."

".. I did. I do... but..." A rustle of fabric. "... I... so much death. Destruction. How..." A soft groan. "How do I deal with that? She... she killed. For me. I couldn't... stop her."

"Everyone has their breaking point. You can't blame yourself for how she gave in to her own darkness."

"But it is my fault."

Tick tock.

"How?"

"I made her break." A low whisper. "I rejected her... she thought I was disgusted by her. I... I broke her."

A gasp. "She loves you?"

"We... we're each other most important ones. You know that."

"Yes, but..."

"How could I have missed how she felt? How..." A swoosh, and a crash. "How could I not have seen it?!" Footsteps, fast and agitated. "I should've paid more attention!"

A shuffle, a lighter set of footsteps, and a grunt. "Natsuki, stop it!"

Silence.

"She wears her mask well, you know that more than anyone. We were all caught up with both Orphans, Searrs and the First District." A pause. "You especially."

Tick tock.

"And look what that got me." A scuffle. "Dammit, let go! All the knowledge in the world couldn't bring my mother back, and I knew that!" A grunt of effort. "I said.... let GO!"

"Stop it!"

"I mean it! Let... me... go. Or so help me God, I'll--"

"You'll what?" Silence. "As I thought. Sit down, please."

Tick tock.

The clink of porcelain on wood. "Here. Please don't break this one."

"... sorry."

An exhale. "What do you want to accomplish?"

"About her, you mean?"

"Mm."

"I... want her to be happy."

"I see." A thoughtful pause. "How? If your rejection of her feelings is what drove her to do those things, it's likely that the only thing that can really make her happy is if you--"

"Accept them."

"Return them. And she will know if your feelings are false, no matter what."

Tick tock.

"Can you?"

"I..."

"You already love her."

"Yes."

"Can you be in love with her?"

"... I guess that's what I need to figure out."

"I guess so."

Tick tock.

"You know what, Mai?"

"Hm?"

A sigh. "The Carnival was the easy part."

"Mm."

Tick tock, went the clock again.

"So what will you do?"

"I don't know."

Tick.

Tock.