She sat at the low table, kneeling infront of it with the meticulous kitchen behind her, facing the front doorway. Her head was tilted up to the clock resting above the entryway into the small dining room that connected to the kitchen. All of it was spotless, the least she could do she supposed. She had no work or job to speak of, other than minding the house and marital duties.

Her thoughts strayed to the living room only a few metres out of the way from the eating area, thinking perhaps that she could clean that up while she waited instead of sitting there holding onto her cooling tea that was no longer appetizing. She sat for quite a few minutes until deciding to do away with the idea completely, her energy levels not rising nearly enough to make her stand and make her way to the next room over.

She turned her attention from the clock to look at the dirty plate and cutlery lying on the table infront of her; the remnants of her lunch. She felt lonely for a split second, turning the idea of lunch alone over in her head. She stood abruptly, taking the plate to the sink where she would wash it later. Perhaps tomorrow if she didn't feel up to it tonight. Always another tomorrow, another day for her.

The laundry, she thought suddenly while sitting down to her cold tea and still slightly warm seat. She needed to wash towels especially, maybe she should do that today... Her head tilted to stare at the clock again and she couldn't help but wonder why it was that each second seemed to go bye slower each time it ticked. Tick, and it seemed to take longer to tick again. Seconds stretched so long while waiting for someone, anyone, to get home. She wouldn't even mind if it was a burglar.

She stood up again abruptly, turning her thoughts onto the dirty dishes sitting in the sink once again, decided on spot to finish them up before her son came home from school. Her lips turned up into a smile without volition. She loved her son. A frown quickly made it's way onto her face while thinking about the stranger replacing him, keeping him from her. That stranger that made it's way into her house instead of her lovely son that she would do anything for.

Her hands made quick work of the plates in the sink and she wrung her hands while thinking of other things she could occupy herself with, but the burst of energy was gone and soon she found herself back at the table, no longer with a cup to hold.

She looked up from the mesmerizing patterns in the wood and grains of the table and at the door. It opened slowly at first before swinging open, a young voice calling out to her.

She couldn't help the hope that swelled up in her heart, the bursting painful feeling that perhaps today she would regain her son.

"Ritsuka?! Welcome home!" She stepped towards him with a smile on her face, her long hair hanging around her tired face. She reached out to him, looking into his eyes and breaking her heart when she saw nothing of the child she had given birth to. Her smile lessened but some vestiges of hope still clung to the crevices and corners in her heavy heart.

"You're late. I was worried." Her words were flat and held nothing of the love in her previous statements. He looked at her before giving into the hug she had envelopped him with, like perhaps hugging him hard enough, long enough might cure him. Save him.

"How was it? Have you progressed in your treatment?" They both knew she becoming desperate, searching for any kind of response, but only he knew the pain and low feelings that entered his heart when he knew he couldn't give her the answer she so wanted, that she so needed.

"Ritsuka?"

"I'm sorry." Her grip tightened around him, her fingernails clutching him, afraid to let him go. The emotions suddenly whirling around in her head made it hard for her to keep breathing. All the waiting she had done for him. All the care wasted, the time gone. But she was a mother and she knew she had to keep waiting, keep caring. Her baby, her son would return. She knew it. His arms wrapped around her.

"Still me." Her finger tips whitened with the sudden pressure, and she couldn't help the strange dark emotion that swelled up within her, taking hold of her. Crushing her...

This angry, horrible emotion frightened her, but the overwhelming sadness quelled it for a moment and she sobbed over the loss of a son on the shoulder of a stranger.

"Why...? Where did Ritsuka go?" She sobbed her sons name into this strange boy's shoulder, aching and longing for her family.

That terrifyingly black thoughts and feelings claimed her, sucking her into her anger and she bit him. She wished she could hurt him, kill him.

Kill this stranger that ripped apart her life. She hated him. Hate, hate, hate...

She sobbed and screamed at this imposter and she could no longer control her self.

The next day she found herself sitting at the low table next to the kitchen, facing the entry way, pondering that maybe, her son might be able to make it home today.