Initial intro from my website:

Sunday, December 16, 2001: O_O I have no idea where this ficlet came from. *ponders* No, that's not true. I know exactly where it came from. I just don't feel like sharing at the moment. :-P This little bunny pounced me on the plane while I was on my way home to NY from Kansas. And since I had a brand new fic notebook... *shrugs* I obliged it. I was in a sh*tty mood and this little ficlet seemed to be just what I needed to indulge said mood. *sweet smile*

Warning: OK, there are two. One: this fic is another angsty one. Not nearly as bad as For Lack of Three Words was, but it's still pretty bad. No one actually dies in the fic, but there is definitely plenty of angst floating around. This is another one that you shouldn't be reading if you're having a bad day. Two: OK, number two warning... SPOILERS!! I can't think of a more explicit way to put it. There are spoilers in this fic for the end of Tokyo Babylon (by CLAMP for those of you who don't know). Of course, the turnaround is that if you don't know what happens at the end of TB, then this fic won't make any sense.

This is a bit of an experiment into a slightly different style of writing for me. It's a bit more of a poetic style, very free-form. I'm not sure if it really worked or made any kind of sense whatsoever, but it gave me something to do on the plane and a small outlet for some of the angst I was feeling. The first two sentences just kept chasing each other around my head, and then each paragraph sort of grew out from the last. Definitely didn't happen by the usual process. Also, it's much shorter than the stuff I usually write. ((Like you couldn't tell...)) *eyes the intro* Sheesh. Speaking of which, I'm gonna stop now before the intro ends up longer than the darned fic. *waves* Ja mata ne!

by Renee-chan

"I failed." How is it that two such small words can hold such a wealth of meaning? Despair, shame, grief--the word "failure" covers them all. And I did fail. In every way possible, in every way that mattered, I failed. I was supposed to love you, care for you, and protect you. I loved you, that much is true. I cared for you, as well... but not as much as I should have. My true failure, however, was in the protection category. I thought I had every base covered, I knew everything that I might have to protect you from and had taken precautions. I was wrong. I forgot that I also needed to protect you from yourself. I didn't realize that particular little flaw in my grand scheme until it was too late. Far too late.

"I'm sorry." All at once, these words are the most meaningful and the most meaningless in our entire language. In the right context, to the right person, at the right time, they can mean the world. They can be water to a man dying of thirst, food for a man dying of hunger, and peace for a man dying of grief. But they can also be the two most empty, useless words in the universe. What good is "I'm sorry" when the damage has already been done? What good is "I'm sorry" when a man's heart has already been ripped out and crushed? And even though these questions have preyed on my mind in every waking moment since... the Incident... I still can't stop saying the words. "I'm sorry." I know they mean nothing. They don't even comfort me, let alone you. And yet I keep saying them. Every minute of every day... "I'm sorry".

"If only I'd..." If "I'm sorry" are the two most useless words in the world, then "If only I'd" would be the most useless three. You can end them in so many ways: If only I'd heard; If only I'd known; If only I'd been faster, stronger, smarter, anything, then maybe this wouldn't have occurred. If only I'd been omnipotent then maybe I could have spared you this pain. If only I'd had some clue that this was coming. If only I'd known I needed to protect you from it... If only I'd been there.

"I will make amends." Getting better, but still meaningless if there is no follow-through. Well, this time there will be. I'm going to bring you out of this waking coma you've sunk into so you can take up your life again. This was my fault, therefore it's my responsibility to fix it if I can. Of course, it's the bitterest of ironies that the only way I can see to fix this mess is to hurt you myself. That's no solution, and in the end may only make the situation worse, but I can't think of a better one and we're running out of time. You're running out of time.

"Forgive me." A desperate plea that is all the more heartbreaking because you cannot answer it. I'm sure that you would want to forgive me, you might even try to insist that it wasn't my fault. You'd be wrong, of course. But you just don't have it in you to hold a serious grudge against anyone, much less me. I wish you would sit up and yell at me for being so down on myself. We were always each other's best cure for depression... until now. I can't help you. I can't even help myself. And I certainly don't deserve your forgiveness, no matter what your opinion on the subject would be.

"I love you." The first thing I've said that holds any meaning whatsoever, even in that timeless place in which you are trapped. Even there my love means something. And I do love you--body, mind, heart, and soul. I love you with every fiber of my being. My love for you is the very core of what I am. I could no more betray that love than I could live without air. And yet I did betray you. Unintentionally perhaps, but intentions--be they good or bad--matter for nothing in this world. All that matters is the outcome. And what a disastrous outcome this has been...

"Goodbye." A word so full of meaning that it has spawned a hundred variations. It can mean an ending or a beginning. It can be joyful or full of despair. It can mean a short separation or a leave-taking for all eternity. "See you later." "Until we meet again." "Bye for now." "Farewell." Yes... this is definitely a Farewell, for I will not see you later... or ever again, for that matter. I will not be here when you open your eyes. I will not be here when you jump from that bed, screaming in denial of what your heart tells you must be true. I will not be here--for the first time--as you cry with heartbroken abandon for a grief that will be so much worse than what you have already experienced. It will not be my shoulder you wet with your tears. I will not be here. I go to meet my destiny and to try, however I can, to put right this wrong I have done you.

I failed.
I'm sorry.
If only I'd been a better protector...
I will make amends.
Forgive me.
I love you.
Sayonara... Subaru.

* * * * *

Author's Notes: I love Hokuto, I always have. ^_^ And I think she got seriously gipped in terms of screentime and role in X -- OK, I know she was dead, but that's no excuse! And since I never could stay away from the angst bunnies... *sheepish grin* This moment in time for Hokuto, after Seishirou shatters Subaru's mind at the hospital, must have been a hummdinger of an angst bunny. I really should fic more for her one day... ^_^

Questions, comments, papaya?