( the fine print: ) Everyone belongs to NASU Yukie; all I did was name the Dorm Lady.

( canon? ) Set post-canon, whether yours is manga or OVA.

( pairings: ) Squint and you'll see Mitsuru/Shinobu.


Condolences

Miss Lola D (formerly Havoc)


Mitsuru trudges into the dorm on a wet afternoon with his head bent and his shoulders slumped. When he collapses in Shinobu's arms, sobbing, Shun knows.

The Dorm Lady had been old enough to have lived during the war, old enough that one morning of her childhood in Hiroshima bore a bright star that marked her winter years as belonging to God.

She lost weight. She lost hair. She took days off, then weeks, and none of it made sense until Mitsuru and Shinobu came back to Greenwood.

"We're on a leave of absence," Shinobu said. "Doing a favor for an old friend. You know."

"I don't. Where's Otsuka-san?"

There was no more hiding from the truth, not when Mitsuru lost his smile and Shinobu's gleaming eyes went dull. Otsuka Nene had cancer, and it wasn't the kind people got better from.

Shun made it his job to keep Suka-chan informed and shielded at the same time. He had enough problems, what with his girlfriend's family threatening to disown her and his sister-in-law being pregnant again. (At least it wasn't the other way around.)

And when Sumire's daughter was born four months early, it was Shun who took over all of Suka's RA duties and collected his homework while he spent time with his grieving family.

So when the Dorm Lady dies, it's Shun that sits with Suka under the kotatsu and shares a bowl of udon with him. "Shinobu's making the funeral arrangements," he says.

"Otsuka-san didn't have any family but us." Suka nods. "I take it he and Mitsuru won't be out of our hair for a while?"

"Until a replacement comes." Shun holds out a few noodles. "You have to eat something. You and the sempai represent the dorm. All that condolence money has to go to someone, right?"

"It's not right, though," says Suka. "We can't just keep the money."

"Why not?" Shun asks. "We were her kids." He pops the noodles into his mouth; they've grown cold on his chopsticks. Suka wouldn't want them. "Anyway, we'll need it to pay for the funeral."

Suka stares straight ahead. "I'm going to have to pick the Dorm Lady's bones out of her funeral pyre."

"Don't think about it now." Shun snuggles into Suka's side, his arms around his roommate's waist. "We're not alone in this. Furusawa's coming back to help out, maybe to stay. He's putting Yuko up for the job."

"Better parking on the first floor than the third," says Suka, and that's how Shun knows that everything will be okay.