"To live through a Nightmare."

A Clannad After Story fanfiction by Aerisundeadx.

AN/ SPOILER ALERT! If you HAVE NOT seen Clannad after story, PLEASE don't let me be the one to ruin anything for you. Hope you enjoy, please leave feedback.

"I remember feeling as if a cloud of despair hung over me, like a raincloud refusing to leave. The cloud turned my sky grey scale, and my feet, cement. I walked down the empty alleyway; on my way to the bar, heading there to drown my sorrows in the cold amber liquid. My shadow was the only thing clinging to my company, the only thing that stayed by my side anymore."

Nothing had felt the same, like the world had been drained of all its' color, all its life, and all its love. The busy streets of this city surrounded me, but its loud cars, loud people and quick passed distractions never punctured by own world, my depression filled self conscious. My mind felt like a puddle of rain water whirling in a storm drain. It mixed with the debris of scattered thoughts and the oils from the speeding cars of my subconscious. It collected all the carelessly tossed rubbish in the corner, bunched together in an ugly mess, much like my torn up heart

That's the way I lived, very much alone, immersed in my own sinking tar pit of despair. As I sank, I never once tried to claw my way out of it, I always just closed my eyes and let it take me under, like a ripping tide. I lived this way until I saw; literally the light.

Ushio and I were walking down an empty street. She was bouncing along, clutching my hand in her own mitted one, as she skipped through the snow covered streets of this town. I trudged alongside her, trapped once again in my own stormy world. All I remember is her humming that same little tune her mother used to, merrily, she hit each tune in perfection, like she could hear the music in her own little head. Of course, it was none other than the dango song, which seemed to, without fail bring tears to my eyes. She giggled once the song had finished, and started it up once again. This time she began to sing it, her voice carrying through the alley like a little bell. "Dango..Dango..Dango..Dango.." she stared happily, in her small little voice.

"Ushio, stop it." I snapped without thinking. Once the words left my mouth I felt an immediate pang of guilt, like I had slapped her. She stopped, eyed me sadly, and then hung her head in dismay. "I love the dango song Papa..." She muttered to herself under her breath, little white wisps of air escaping her lips.

"I'm sorry, it's just that song reminds me of your-"I started, but then felt her weight pull on my arm, tugging me in her direction; "Ushio?" I shouted; panic expelling from my throat, catching my words.

Ushio fell from my side, and collapsed in a pile of nearby snow. My daughter's body was crumpled into a small ball of pink winter clothing, and she was unmoving. "Ushio!" I screamed, dropping to my knees, scooping her up into my arms hastily. Images of Nagisa flashed into my head, especially the one of her frail body lying on the floor of our apartment, covered in sweat, little strands of hair clinging to her head, and those weak amber eyes flashing goodbye to me.

"Ushio please no, please don't leave me!" I screamed, hugging the little lifeless body to me. "Ushio you can sing anytime you like, please oh god, please don't leave!" I pleaded, but my daughter had taken her last breath, much as my late wife and I was once again alone, in my own hands.

I sobbed hysterically in the dark streets, my body wracked with each sob that swelled up into my chest. My heart was torn like paper mache, shredded and scattered on the ground to be stepped on. "Please..help me." I muttered, and collapsed beside my daughter, her body rolling out of my arms, flopping next to mine like two morbid snow angels.

Before I knew it, I was eloped in light, and the snowy coldness had disappeared. The howling wind had been replaced by a nice smooth breeze, and the sounds of the cherry blossom leaves swaying with the wind. I felt the familiar fabric of my jacket, and the squeezing of my uniform pants. ("They were always tight...") I thought. Just as I thought that first silly thought my mind caught up with itself. "Wait...What?" I shouted, flinging my eyes open frantically. Before me was the familiar walk way, that rested beside the cherry tree path. A little ways ahead was a young Nagisa, her hands clutched together in some sort of prayer.

"Sweet..bean..bread!" she shouted, blushing slightly, then shaking her head. I laughed at her, just as I had the first day I saw her, the first day I ever met her, and the first moment I fell in love. My heart felt warm again, like someone had put the pieces back together.

She faced me with a smile, and extended her hand. On pure impulse I walked up the walk way, passing the sweet cherry blossoms trees that tossed their petals as my feet and took her had. "Okasaki, don't ever regret it." She nearly whispered when I took her hand. After saying this, she lead me up the path we had taken every day to school and the light once again took us.

This time I was flashed back, five years earlier. The room was moist, and overcrowded. Anxiety was thick in the air like it was traveling on our nerves like telephone wires. A shrill cry filled the air, and a warm little person was handed to me, wrapped in a pink blanket. "Ushio's birth..Nagisa, why here?" I thought to myself, staring at the red little child in my arms, crying and squirming. I then flashed my eyes to my wife, she was alive! Panting and sweating like she had run all over Tokyo and back. Her eyes closed and my heart sunk like a rock in an ocean. "Why make me relive this?" I wanted to shout, but just as they closed, they opened again, and she smiled at me sweetly. I took her hand instinctively, and then pulled Ushio near her. She took the child from me and cradled it. "Nagisa, I love you." I told her, over and over again, patting her little head, stroking her warm little cheek, kissing her damp little lips.

She giggled and hoarsely replied, "Tomoya-kun, look out the window!" I started at her anxiously, but her eyes wouldn't leave the window. I rushed to see, and what I saw almost made me fall to my knees.

A sea of happy little orbs of light floated outside, bouncing on the air lighting up the sky like little stars. I still had Ushio in my arms, and I showed my daughter the miracle of the floating wishes, like the miracle of her life.

"Dango..Dango..Dango..Dango..big happy dango family." Nagisa hummed before falling sweetly into sleep.

I stayed with her all night, lying on the floor next to her, waiting to start life all over again..our life.