Chapter Five:

"You… you and me won't be unhappy…"

Sven had taken to spiking his coffee with a bit of vodka, more and more each day as he watched Train waste away before his eyes. Granted, the Black Cat hid his illness very well, but not well enough for Sven and Eve to not see.

Eventually, Train found out about his new little habit and sat him down for a talk after dumping all the vodka in the house. "I didn't come here to have you drink away your sorrows, Sven. I know it was selfish of me… I didn't want to see you watch me fade away." He looked towards the window. Watching his intent gaze, Sven found himself also looking at the window to see what had caught his eyes. Nothing other than the forest scenery outside met his gaze.

Train turned his attention away from Saya. He gave a smile, a true smile at Sven. "I'll miss you, and I hope you'll miss me. But don't…" he gestured with his hands at the last spiked coffee in the house. "You know. Think of it as an extended vacation—as if I never came back to stay with you guys. I'll be out there, roaming the world."

"Train, you're going to die." Sven rasped out, taking another sip of his coffee to clear away the sudden lump in his throat.

"Well, I've got something to look forward to." His gaze shifted back to the window before fixing on Sven again.

Sven frowned before understanding made his eyes widen. Then, he let out a small sad smile of his own and nodded.

"Promise me that you won't let anything happen to Princess, or let her get to wrapped up in this. I don't wanna throw a roadblock in any of your plans. Just keep gettin' those bad guys for me—as a Sweeper."

Sven smiled at the memory.

So here they were now. Eve was outside the door, fussing around with odds and ends before coming back into the room once more. Her face was stoic, but her body was tense with nervous energy. Sven was slumped in a chair. Train was resting in his bed, the same he recovered in after Saya's murder. A bloody rag was resting on the bedside table, evidence of his latest coughing bout.

Sven snorted at the thought. 'Full circle. So this is how it all ends?' Sven took a different cloth and wiped Train's sweaty pale face. He heard rather than saw Eve pull another chair into the room and collapse into it.

The hours passed by, until Train's violent coughing and wheezes turned into white noise for the other two occupants. Rinslet, having received the message about Train, was frantically traveling to Sven's house as fast as she could, praying she would be able to make it in time.

The nearby clock chimed eleven.

Train let out a sigh of breath; uncharacteristic given his bouts of coughing that lasted well into the night. Everything fell silent. Eve and Sven had already fallen prey to their exhaustion, passed out on the nearby bed and plush chair.

Train blinked his eyes open and raised his arms, noticing they felt eerily light considering how weary and heavy he had felt just… He frowned, not remembering how long it had been since he had woken so peacefully.

"Train." He turned, wondering how he had ended up in the corner of the room by the wide-open window. Saya was sitting there, a soft but sad smile on her face.

Sven let out a grunt, his head bobbing slightly. He jerked awake at the unexpected movement. "Huh…?" Blinking the sleep from his eyes, he turned his attention to the still figure on the bed. "Train?" He questioned. He leaned forward, his hands shaking as a sudden dread filled him. "Train!" He shouted this time, startling Eve from her sleep.

Train blinked from the other side of the room as he saw himself. He looked down at his hands, seeing their ethereal glow and opaque look. Sadness clutched his heart. "I died." The sobs and cries of Eve and Sven as they pleaded and shook his body shattered his control as a tear slid down his cheek.

"I didn't want it to be like this. I didn't want them to cry."

"I know Train. They cry because they love you." Saya whispered, wrapping her arms around his shaking form. "It had to happen sometime though." Her voice was laced with sadness as well. A drop of wetness hit his shoulder.

Train turned to face her. Saya let go of him and took a step back to give him space. He looked at her, everything else slowly fading from around him. Soon, he was standing in a white room with Sven and Eve crying far down the hallway.

He took a step toward her. "Are you real?"

Saya didn't reply for a moment, only giving him a smile. "Train," she softly said, smile still on her face, "I never wasn't real."

FIN

"Soul mates never die."

Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed the story despite the ending! Thanks to all readers and reviewers who have followed this story. Until the next adventure, auf Weidersehen! –Red Tail