Author's Note: Sorry that my writing has been sparse as of late. I can't make any promises when I'll pick up with my other fics. Tonight, I had to write something like this, to get many of my own emotions out.


Title: Embrace of Stone

Rating: T



I love you. I'm in love with you. That hasn't changed. How could it change? I'll never stop loving you, till the day I die.

When I saw you, petrified by that monster, I nearly lost myself. I tried in vain to wake you up, shouting until I broke into tears, collapsing to my knees and holding your petrified legs to myself. Eventually, I was able to gain control of myself long enough to release you and let Youko get back to her work, even though she admitted there was next to zero chance of her being able to save you.

It was bad news, but I tried to at least focus on the sliver of hope she did present. That sliver was all that kept me from trying to drink myself to death that night. If you were truly dead, I don't think I could have let myself live a day longer. But for a one-in-a-million chance of saving you, I would hold on, as hard as it might be.

I wish I could say I simply cried myself to sleep that night, but that would have been too pleasant. I just couldn't sleep. I split my time between lying in bed, crying into my Shizuru-pillow, and wandering around our apartment, looking at every reminder of you and finding new reasons to cry. I must have cried over every individual picture of you in the apartment, plus your tea sets, your clothes, your piano, your desk, your jewelry... It got to the point where I had a splitting headache from dehydration and I just couldn't force anymore tears out.

I've been away from you before, but the apartment never felt so empty. I always knew that you mine, somewhere out there. But are you anymore? Are you in there anywhere, Shizuru, or did you die when that beast froze you in stone? I can't feel your presence in my heart anymore. I can't even feel my heart itself. It might as well have been petrified along with you.

Do you know, Shizuru, how every night when you were away from me, I would give a goodnight kiss to my Shizuru-pillow in your place? When you came in and fell asleep before I got home from work, I always kissed you in your sleep, though I'm sure you know that. I would hold you in my arms every night, or at least the bit of your heart you left for me in my pillow when you went away. But what can I do now? Hug a statue of you, in the doctor's office? In desperation, I tried it, but it was no good... I couldn't feel your heart in there, Shizuru.

My mind and body want to keep on acting like you're still around. I go without my daily tea because I expect you to bring it to me at my desk. In the evenings, the silence worries me until I realize that I was expecting to hear you practice at the piano. I'm cold at night without your arms wrapped around me. But... this never bothered me when you were out on missions... why is it all hitting now?

Maybe it's because I just can't bear the thought of truly being without you. When you were on a mission, it was always temporary, so I could adjust. But how the hell can I adjust to this? Maybe we will save you and things will go back to normal, but I have no idea how that could happen. I'd pray to Shinso for guidance if it weren't already in the enemy's hands.

I love you so much, Shizuru... but love just isn't enough this time. I'm running down to the last of my options. I think I know how you felt when Tomoe held you captive, Shizuru, though I don't have nearly the chance of success you did. Nagi dai Artai has offered information in exchange for his freedom. For your sake, and for the world's, I'm going to make a deal with the devil.

One last thing, Shizuru. I put it off too long, and now I may have missed my chance. I know you won't be able to read this unless I've already saved you and said it myself, but I have to put the words down somewhere. Shizuru, I want to marry you. I don't fucking care what my parents might think about it. If this is life without you, I can't take it. If all this fails, I want to die as your fiancée. If we survive, I'm going to make you my wife.

If we succeed, and it doesn't save you... I...

Your wife-to-be (I will make it happen),

Natsuki Kruger