Hey everyone, Rika T. Strange again. Sad, serious little one-shot here (wouldn't quite call it angst, except for the end), focused on Krory and Miranda. I should really just make a compilation of them all... I mean I've only written three including the one in "Linear Thought" but still. The idea came to me while listening to Death Cab for Cutie's "Brothers on a Hotel Bed." S'a good song, listened to it the whole time while writing this.
Disclaimer: Character's are Hoshino's
Years had passed. The Millennium Earl was defeated and gone, the family of Noah exorcised or killed. Allen had conquered the Fourteenth and married Lenalee, Lavi had become "Bookman" and Kanda had found "that person." Noise Marie went on to open a music shop where he gave lessons, and Timothy became Cross's gambling partner- able to make money even faster than the general could spend it. Choji went back to being a sailor, while Klaud Nyne returned to being an animal trainer and Tiedol resumed his art career.
Krory and Miranda married.
It was July, a proper time for weddings. The tall Romanian man would have looked dashing in his tuxedo, were he not fumbling and sweating as he was. He stood at the alter along with Allen and Lavi- his best men. Across from them, Lenalee stood as the maid of honor.
Miranda, dressed in frilly white, was in a state similar to her husband-to-be. With no father to give her away, she walked down the aisle by herself. She had almost reached the alter when she tripped, pitched forward, landed in her fiancé's arms and shouted, "I-I do!"
They stayed in England where they opened a flower shop and tried very hard to have a child. Miranda had always dreamed of being a mother.
"Do you think we should paint something on the walls?" Miranda asked as she surveyed the room they had set aside for their future child. "M-maybe a forest?"
Krory rested his chin atop her head and hummed thoughtfully. "I think… A castle. With knights," he quickly amended. "And… a forest with dragons." Miranda nodded softly in agreement.
Years passed and the cradle remained empty; they began to give up hope.
"It's because I'm a such a failure," Miranda sobbed. "God knows I'd be a terrible mother so He won't send us a child."
"Shhhh, no," Krory said softly, cuddling her close. "I'm sure it's only because…" He blushed, "i-it's only because we married late in life."
"I… I hope so." She sniffled and wiped her eyes. "I-I hope that's the only reason."
Then, miraculously it seemed, she became pregnant- at the age of thirty-six.
Krory smiled as he pressed his hands and ear to his wife's swollen belly. "I can feel him kick," he said with awe.
"She," Miranda corrected softly, "she."
She gave birth to a daughter and they named her Nadja. A year later she had twins boys, Arystar IV and Eliot.
"Any more and we'll run out of rooms," Miranda said with a gentle laugh, brushing the white shock of hair from Eliot's face. Krory smiled and kissed her ear, tickling her.
"I'd still be the happiest man alive."
The couple took to parenthood beautifully, and life was wonderful for a while. They watched their children age with loving eyes, and helped them grow with loving hands.
"Haha, Mutti! Sieh! I made a bouquet!" The boy who bore his father's name dropped a crumpled handful of dandelions and buttercups into Miranda's lap.
She smiled and carefully picked the beaten flowers up. "It's beautiful, Ary. Thank you."
"Hee." The boy flushed with pride and then jumped with realization. "I should make one for tată!" He turned around and started to run, then tripped and fell flat. Miranda quickly helped him to his feet, and he grinned before running off again, shouting with excitement.
And Miranda watched her husband slowly age, while she wondered why the face in the mirror never changed.
"It's because you're so beautiful," Krory told her, smiling and placing his hand on hers. It looked terribly old in comparison, although he was only forty-five. "Too beautiful for even time to touch." She smiled weakly and squeezed his hand, reaching up to touch the hourglass necklace her Innocence had become. She felt a pulse within it like always; steady and eternal like the ticking of a clock.
They watched their children move away and marry; welcomed them when they returned with children of their own.
"Aha, you've got a white streak just like grandpa," Krory exclaimed, nuzzling his nose against his newest granddaughter's. The man's own white shock of hair was less striking now that the remainder of his hair had begun to grey. "Are you going to ruin it with dye like your mother does, hm?"
"Tatâ!" Nadja exclaimed indignantly. "It's only because it makes me look old!"
Miranda winced but passed it off as a shiver- she didn't want her daughter to feel guilty for attempting to defy the inevitable, just because she seemed immune.
Still, it wasn't easy pretending to be dead and buried. She had literally missed her own funeral a month ago- closed casket, of course. The mortician was paid and monitored by the small, mostly bureaucratic remains of the Black Order to keep quiet.
Watched their grandchildren grow for a while, until Krory became too old to see and listened instead. Then Miranda watched alone, watched as her children and grandchildren and husband grew old and the face in the mirror remained the same.
The Krory family had gathered for a small reunion; two of the three children had already arrived with their spouses and children. "Eliot's here," Krory shouted suddenly, recognizing his youngest son's footsteps. "Rebecca too." He made as if to stand but Miranda placed a hand on his shoulder.
"I-it's alright, I'll get the door." He frowned but said nothing in disagreement. He heard the door open and listened to Miranda and Eliot speak, listened to her exclaim how much Rebecca had grown and say that any day now she'd have suitors lining up. Listened to the embarrassed and pleased "tmp" of the girl's footsteps as she came to greet him.
"Hallo, grandpa Krory." She kissed his cheek and he smiled.
"Hello, Rebecca. How's my baby granddaughter?"
"I'm not a baby anymore," she pouted, crossing her arms. "I'm thirteen!"
He laughed. "Yes, I suppose you are. But your oldest cousin is twenty-five; that makes you the baby."
Rebecca huffed. "Nu-uh! Miranda is twenty-six!"
Krory's smile faded slightly. "Yes… Yes, of course. I forgot."
She watched until Krory became too old to walk up and down the stairs, watched until he became too old to walk.
"Here Arystar, let me help." Miranda gently took his arm to help him rise, only to have his legs buckle suddenly. She was surprised by how easy it was to keep him standing on her own.
"I think I need a wheelchair," he muttered, clearly not pleased by this revelation.
"I'll go into town tomorrow and buy one," she helped him sit back down, smiling as best she could. He scowled.
"I hate getting old like this, Miranda. I might as well die now."
She was glad he couldn't see the tears welling in her eyes, or hear the fearful pleas caught in her throat.
Watched until he began to waste away, his clouded eyes focused on a point too far away to see. Watched until the day came when she knew he would die, and the reflection in the mirror would never change.
It was July, hardly a proper time for death. But time had never been proper for them, ravaging one and ignoring the other. The world outside was green and blooming, while inside their house the colors had faded to drab grey with their sixty years of wear.
Miranda sat beside her husband, watching as he drew each breath and knowing but denying that they would stop by nightfall. Her face and frame and figure were unchanged, and she struggled to remember what it had been like to watch herself age, to look back at a photograph from a year ago and see the differences. His face and frame and figure were greatly changed, and he struggled to remember what it had been like to be young, to be the man that had fought in a war and fallen in love with the woman beside him. Krory turned his head to face her, and smiled half-heartedly. "Will you stay with me until tonight? Until the end?"
To hear him say it made it true, made it impossible to deny.
"Arystar, no, please... Don't say that." She placed one hand on his face while the other held his withered hand. "Please, you can't say that, you can't leave... You can't leave me!"
"I'm sorry, Dragă..." He squeezed her hand and she winced, not because it hurt but because she barely felt it. Winced because old age had pervaded his once strong body and left hers untouched. "I don't have much choice in the matter." His breath rattled as he spoke and Miranda knew he would probably die within the hour. She leaned forward and kissed him gently, his lips cracked and unhealthily soft beneath hers. Tears slid from her cheeks and onto his, and he frowned to feel her cry. He feebly reached up and wiped her eyes, his arm shaking with the effort. "Please don't cry, Miranda... It'll be alright."
"No," she said brusquely, choking on the effort it took to restrain her tears. "I-it won't. You're going to die and I'll be all alone, all alone to watch the world change without me."
"You won't be alone-" he dropped his hand and wheezed, trying to muster enough strength to continue speaking. "-Our children are still alive... And our grandchildren. And eventually our great-grandchildren..." Krory smiled at her, his eyes still focused far away. "I love you, Miranda. It'll be alright."
But Miranda knew it wouldn't be all right, because she would have to leave their home when she could no longer pass as her own granddaughter. Because she would have to move from town to town forever after this. Because she always, always felt alone without him.
She turned to smile weakly at him and respond, "I love you too, Arystar." And then she saw he wasn't moving; saw his eyes had finally found their gentle focus on her face as he quietly smiled through his death. Miranda's voice caught in her throat until her tears broke through the dam and she screamed, screamed until her voice was raw and she could only whisper his name. "Krory, Arystar, mein Schatz..." She gathered his hollow frame in her arms and cursed the Innocence that had once given her purpose, and now taken it away.
Because immortality was a heavy burden, far too heavy for her slender frame to bear alone.
Mutti = "mom" or "mommy" in German
sieh = "look!" in German
tată = "father" in Romanian, according to an online translation site.
Hallo = "hello" in German (go figure)
Dragă = "dear" or "love" in Romanian, according to an online translation site.
mein Schatz = "my love," "my dearest" in German