Authors Note: I have not read the manga, so this is going off of the anime ending.

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Ayashi No Ceres.

Never Before

It's painful. It's painful to be so close to what you want, yet still so far away. It's painful to watch what you want, what you love, every day, and see how clearly it does not want you. It was a pain Yuuhi had become numbly use to.

For sixty-six years he had watched her, held her, loved her. He had been there when she had said I do, looking more beautiful than he had ever seen her look before. He had been there when he had softly taken her, and once and for all claimed her as his own. And he had been there each time she'd bore children to him. Two beautiful baby girls, Chou and Kiyoko they'd called them.

When their youngest, Kiyoko had been born, he had, without any restraint, cried. He cried as he watched the four most important girls in his life, sit, all gathered onto the hospital bed where his first and only love lay.

Everything had seemed like a dream to him. He was unable to comprehend the power of his happiness, and he felt as if nothing, not wind, water nor fire could ruin the small paradise which he lived in. He was on a never-ending vacation. Every day, better than the one before.

But he soon learned how naïve it was of him to believe such a thing. There was no such thing as a vacation that did not end. There was no such thing as a happiness without limits.

And that became all too clear one day, as he came down the stairs after a lively dinner to find his wife, Aya, crumbled on the ground, crying. Crying, or perhaps, more correctly described as silent sobs. She clenched her shirt tightly, tears dripping from her eyes, down her face, and lastly, landing on the floor. The look on her face was of anguish, complete anguish.

Yuuhi had stood, fear-stricken, standing dumbly behind her. He had seen her cry many times before, but not in many years, he hadn't seen her tears for years. And never had they been like this. These silent tears with that look of agony on her face made it so much worse than anything he had ever seen before. But more disturbing than anything else, was how minutes ago she had been smiling and laughing, eating dinner with the rest of the family.

And just as he took a step forward, ready to hold her in his arms and comfort her until she settled down, one single word stopped him in his tracks. "Touya." She'd whimpered, leaning forward and grasping her sides as if she were sick.

He'd stopped, and slowly brought his hand back to his side. And then, he'd quietly turned around and left.

He never asked her about it. But for whatever reason, he thought that somehow he'd always known that her heart didn't belong to him at all. It had been Touya's back then, and it still was. Pitiful, he thought. He couldn't even compete with a dead guy.

Pitiful. Useless. Pathetic. These words rang in his head daily. And every time Aya smiled, it was like a slap in the face. A reminder of that night, and how much of a farce she had always put on.

But now more than ever, as he watched his wife lying on her death bed, sleeping possibly her last, he wanted to ask her. Ask her why she had to act for him. Ask her why all this time, if she was so unhappy, why she couldn't have just told him so. Was he that untrustworthy? Was she that unhappy?

Yuuhi touched his wife's frail, white hand and watched as her chest moved slowly up and down. The only signal that she was still alive. "You didn't have to pretend. You could have just told me. I could have tried. I could have tried to make you happier if you'd just told me."

They were such easy words to say. He could make her happy? Who the hell was he to say something like that? He had told her that before. Back when Touya was alive. And now that he'd had the chance to do just that, he had failed. He couldn't make her happy. The sad truth to it all.

A small twitch of her finger notified him that she'd awoken. His eyes shot up to her face, to find hers looking at him. He grasped her hand, and kissed it softly with his lips.

He didn't want her to die. They'd spent so long together. And even if she hadn't been happy, he had. She'd made him so happy. He'd known little of life other than her since they'd met, and he would have had it no other way. He loved her. She couldn't leave him.

"Aren't the males typically the ones who kick the bucket first?" He asked, a pained laugh choking out of his throat. He looked up at her expectantly, but knew he would get no response. She was weak, and it had been weeks since she had last been able to say a word.

"They are. I've read about it. So Aya, you've got to wait for me. Okay? Don't go without me." He grasped her hand tighter, hiding his face in her shoulder. He was going to cry, and he didn't want her to see him. He didn't want her last memory of her life to be of this.

There was a small, tiny pressure on his hand. But he recognized its meaning. It was a small gesture of comfort, the only thing Aya was capable of doing.

"Yu…" It wasn't even a word, only a sound, but more than she should be able to do in her current state. "Yuuhi." She finished, her eyes dropping into mere splits. He looked at her, expressionless.

"I love-" but she couldn't finish, her face empty of emotion and oblivious to the things around her. The words she'd spoken couldn't even be counted as a whisper, nearly inaudible in the silent room. But he caught it. He'd caught it.

The words he'd always longed to hear, said at the very end.

"Finish it." he begged her, running his hands through her gray hair. But it was too late.

And unwillingly he cried, he sobbed over the death of his wife, over the life which she'd lived, and for the years that she had loved him for that had gone by unknown to him.

Never before had he been so happy, but never before had he been so sad.

My first oneshot!! Usually I am very word picky when writing, but in this one I kind of just drove through it. yay for being lazy!!

Anyways, I absoloutely love Yuuhi, best character in ayashi no ceres. And so I always would imagine what would happen after Touya died and Aya and him got together, and this is a distorted version of it. I figured that Aya would first be in depression, then eventually fall in love with Yuuhi but he would always be very insecure about it all.