Disclaimer: I don't own Ouran High School Host Club.

Author's Note: This was written in response to an LJ prompt - "Believe."

"I trust in you now more than ever, you know."

"I promise I'll look after her."

His grip on her hand tightened, as if that would be enough to keep her alive, as if that would keep her in his world.

"When she gets scared, take her hand and don't let go until she isn't anymore. Teach her courage. Make sure she's always laughing, that she ends up with someone she really, truly loves-"

"I know, I know," he said, laughing through his tears. "You may not think so, but I have paternal and maternal instinct."

She laughed, too. "Maybe that's why I came to love you so much." With her free hand she reached up and tenderly wiped away some of his tears, wishing she still contained enough strength to completely lean up and embrace him one last time, to ease the deep pain she could see reflected in his eyes. She wanted so badly to make it go away, to make all of this go away. "It took me forever to figure out why, you know."

"Why what?"

"Why I love you so much, Ranka."

He stayed silent, waiting for her to continue.

She shifted to look out the window, a nostalgic sparkle in her gaze. "I don't if it was when you saved me at the park," she began, "or if it was because you always made me smile, because you took me for who I was, even when I lost my cool. The way you held me, the way you made me feel like something precious, something treasured." She turned back to him, a bittersweet smile lacing her lips. "I guess after a while I realized it didn't matter why, just that the feeling was there. And it was. Strongly. And it still is now. It always will be."

"I guess I'll pass this all onto Haruhi, then." He leaned forward, pressing his forehead to hers gingerly, aware of how fragile his wife had become.

"Don't," she replied softly. "She can figure all this out on her one day. Just accept it and watch over her, no matter the decisions she makes."

"What if she makes the wrong one?"

"If she's anything like me, she won't."

He sighed, distressed. "What guarantees any of this?"

She chuckled again, her labored breath gently entangling itself in his long hair, grazing his skin. "A woman's heart."

"And I think this is why I came to love you, Kotoko."

"Why is that?" she asked, still simpering.

He benevolently granted her one last kiss. "I believe in everything you tell me."

"Good," she replied. "It'll all come true one day, I swear."

"I know." He suddenly felt afraid. "I believe you," he repeated in a whisper, snuggling affectionately into her shoulder, breathing in every bit of her he could while he still could.

"Then trust me when I say I'll always be beside you, okay?"

The tears began again. "Thank you, Kotoko."

She closed her eyes and murmured, "Please be happy."