Subject: Haru-Sari

Pairing(s): Chi-Min/June, onesided (?)

Summary: No matter how much she thought, how much she mulled and wallowed, nothing was going to change like this. And she knew it.

Disclaimer: Haru-Sari and all related characters, etc. are the property of keiiii.

Other Notes: Not much to say about this one... I just sat down, told myself "I am going to write Haru-Sari fanfiction" and this came out. I guess it's really just my attempt at getting into June's head and not much of anything else, so it's got all the substance of a drabble that drags on for a little while. =P

It's set right after (during?) the end of volume three, or around that time, and it's a stab at predicting how the situation with June and Chi-Min may begin to play out, before volume four comes into existence and we find out for sure. Beyond that, this piece, like all my work, is unbeta'd, so my apologies for any and all issues stemming from that.

As always... reviews feed my soul like nothing else. So if you've got a moment, click the cute little "Review" button and critique the hell out of this. =D Please.

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It wasn't dark in the room; not really. With her paycheck, keeping electric lights on constantly in her apartment wasn't an option, but a certain amount of sunlight crept in subtly through the window, and it confined the darker shadows to the outskirts. The window's light was monochromatic that day—a product of the overcast sky and the dull clouds and the city and its smog—and from where she sat, what June saw of the window made it look like little more than a large fluorescent ceiling light with failing lightbulbs, mounted on the wall. It illuminated her sufficiently, and from her position on the bed, the whole room looked lit; it was gray, dull and lifeless, but it was lit. That didn't matter, though, not entirely. Everything was gray anyway. It was dark, it was dreary, it was dying, like so many things seemed to be around her, as far as she could see.

June raised a glass of water to her lips. She wasn't thirsty, really, but the feel of swallowing something more substantial than air helped drown out the distinct nagging at the base of her throat—that irritant that tied itself back to the moist gleam over her eyes and made her want to start sobbing. It was a bad day.

These days happened sometimes. It would be unfair to presume they didn't—not every day could be spent in vehement cheer, steadfastly ignoring and denying and shoving aside every problem and tragedy that fell in her path. She could sidestep any roadblock in her path, but she knew fairly well where that path went and where it cut off—and it cut off soon, with far too many more roadblocks in its wake, and seeing that end so clear and solid ate at her will and kept her from moving forward. Not constantly, but she had her days. Days when nothing seemed to go quite right, days when every twitch and every footfall seemed to be wrong. Days when she couldn't shove aside her thoughts a second longer—days when they needed sorting out, even if that sorting out meant nothing more than sitting on the bed and waiting out the malignant pain until her shift started at work.

She wasn't blind to the clear and painful fact that these days were becoming more and more common at each turn. A particular feeling had begun to take hold this past while—one that she thought that she had accepted, one that she didn't think could hurt her anymore than it already had. She felt trapped. Trapped, not only in the body that died even as her soul struggled for breath, but in the downward spiral of despair and loss that wound tighter and faster around itself nowadays, shocking her heart and soul at each turn with an intense claustrophobia that only grew and grew in strength. This sort of feeling was becoming commonplace for her, and she could feel herself resigning to it. She could feel her will draining, her strength seeping out of her muscles and bones and dissipating. She could feel her soul chugging along slower and slower as she watched her body grind to a halt.

Perhaps things hadn't gotten quite so bad yet, all around. Perhaps... But June wasn't blind; she knew where everything was going. She knew where she would end up. She knew that she was out of chances for reprieve; she knew that she didn't have much left in store for her but bad days, the way this was going.

And she knew why.

June was no fool, and she certainly didn't take herself for one, but she was beginning to wonder. After all, she knew exactly which face and voice and words tended to monopolize her thoughts nowadays, given the opportunity. She knew who she missed, she knew who had given her the reprieve she had needed, through a unique degree of friendship and a quiet ability to imbue her with hope. She knew who she had pushed away.

She grit her teeth together, running a hand unceremoniously through her hair and clenching her eyes shut against tears in a moment when frustration at herself mixed with frustration at being unable to suppress the frustration. She'd run this through her head more times than she cared to count, and she only felt more and more pathetic and confused each time. She was getting very sick of it, very fast.

But in spite of how many times Dr. Chi-Min came to mind—no, it was all because of just how many times he came to mind, June only felt less and less justified in shoving the thought of him from her mind. What right did she have? What right did she have to any kind of mental solace, when she was the one who had hurt him? When all that he had ever done was help her, befriend her, give her more time to live?

And what in God's name had she given him in return?

She rolled over, lying down now on the bed and letting her feet dangle off, her face all but buried in a corner by the wall. It was dark in the corner, but the light was blinding.

I'm a coward, she couldn't help but think, I don't even know how to apologize to one of the best friends I have.

Or did she even have him as a friend anymore? What in Hell could she think about the relationship between them now, after all those powerful, confusing words that Dr. Chi-Min had bombarded her with in that quiet, calm, severe and striking tone that was his alone and entirely unique? He loved her—that much he had made clear. And the time for denial... that opportunity had passed. Even if the sheer idea of Dr. Chi-Min in love, much less with her, was absurdly counterintuitive, there was no denying the truth. All those words that Dr. Chi-Min had said, all that talk of distance and all that talk of getting too close... it was all painfully clear what he meant, the second his real confession had been made.

June wasn't a fool; she was acutely aware of why he had kept his feelings from her, she was perfectly aware of why he regretted getting so close, she knew why everything had gone the way it did. His apprehensions and his concerns... after the way she had run out, there was no denying their validity. But why had she even run out?

The answer was, on one level, so unbearably obvious—and on another level, so absurdly confusing.

June wasn't so out of touch with her own feelings that she didn't know fear when she felt it. No, in fact, fear was the chief feeling that she most certainly should have been able to recognize, especially by now. Fear was what had kept her awake in the dark every night during those first few weeks after she had been diagnosed with Calphanika's; fear was what kept her coming back to the job she hated, the fear of the implications of quitting; fear was what kept her going on the bad days; fear was what made her keep her distance from people. Fear was what made her push people back. Fear pushed Dr. Chi-Min back.

No it didn't, June retorted sourly, I didn't push him back... I just ran. Just got up and ran. I just gave up.

It was clear-cut and simple, absurdly so, that she had been afraid—afraid of the situation, afraid of the consequences, afraid of the change... but really, afraid of what? What would have honestly gone wrong if she had stayed? What would have gone so damn wrong if she had at least come back?

Could she still come back without ruining everything that three years had built between her and the elf who had once been nothing more than just her doctor?

Did she want to?

Of course. It didn't seem arguable. It was clear, it was crystal... Chi-Min was her savior, in a number of ways. He had given her hope, he had given her time, he had given her just a little more strength and it was only with his help that she was where she was. And now she had cast him aside, and what could she do now? Keep on living and struggling and trying too hard to keep living just to keep on struggling for a little longer? Keep on living with that kind of pain and the guilt that she had left herself with when she ran out on him—and then come back to him with her shame, or die all the sooner without his treatment.

I'm so fucking selfish, drifted through her mind. Dr. Chi-Min's the one I ran out on... right in the middle of—of something like that. And all I can think of is myself.

She shifted in her place—not significantly, just a little, just for the sake of moving a little bit. Staying in the same position felt filthy. No, staying in her same body felt filthy, but not moving made her feel stagnant and stale, gray and flat like the light that flooded the room.

June couldn't imagine that Dr. Chi-Min could've taken what she did very well at all, but at the same time, she was almost certain he had been expecting just that kind of rejection. He was always so calm, always smiling, always, always, despite everything—except for then. That confession... his voice had been so level and calm, so artificially flat and guarded. The kind of tone that can't come out of smiling lips. Like he was ready to be hurt. Like he was deliberately setting himself up for it. Like he...

June rolled over entirely, away from the wall, and sighed. This whole situation... she couldn't even begin to understand (not to mention articulate) why she felt how she felt or what she was supposed to do. Go back to Dr. Chi-Min and ask his forgiveness? Call him? Set up another appointment, business as usual? Or just... wait?

June sat up and looked around until her eyes fell on the clock—her shift was going to start soon, and once again, like all the other days like these, she still had no idea what to do. She hadn't solved anything, hadn't figured anything out. She had turned everything over in her head once again, twice again, three times again—mulling without a purpose, deliberating without a conclusion. Her head turned of entirely its own accord, looking over to where the phone was gleaming in the flat spotlight. There was a long moment, silent, resigned.

And then, forcing all thoughts, all unmade decisions, all choices and complications aside, June stood and walked to the phone. She had no clue what she could say, and maybe it was selfish, but... just waiting had never gotten her anywhere.