He hunts for her through a maze of futures; around him, Shangri'La spreads, its whiteness obliterating everything in its path. He does not know how long he's searched, or how far, but he knows the hollows under his eyes have deepened, and he knows each time there is only death; his Haruka, it seems, is forever destined to leave him.

There is this: a car accident, three friends dead and his sensei unconscious at the wheel. He is on the ground. Gasoline on pavement. A spark.

There is this: the same car accident, the same three dead friends, but this time, a door twists open. She staggers outside, but the blast catches her anyway.

There is this: death, the only link to his present, the only thing in his past. There is no timespace where she survives.




He flips through futures like playing cards, searching those spaces that are not linked. He sees Haruka killed in the midst of war; he sees her shot, sees her body flung forward like a broken doll's. In all these universes, Yuu is alone; in all these universes, Yuu has to leave her In all these universes, Noein feels inexplicably sad.

There is no hope, Noein thinks, and his body shimmers. Shangri'La spreads as another reality is obliterated, the fires of his sorrow quenched by Shangri'La's destructive peace. Sorrow and pain is replaced by grassy fields and nothingness, the soft rise of the wind soothing the war-torn landscape of this other time; it fades away, as the other dimensions do.

He will always be alone.




He wears his sorrow like a scar, drifting through universes like a phantom. There is no cure for loneliness, for that dull ache that eats at his core and leaves him sleepless for days. He tells himself he does not need, does not feel. He tells himself he has evolved beyond all that. There are no people in Shangri'La; there is no reason to be sad.

And yet: he wakes. He sees the hollows of his eyes and the sorrow etched in his face, and as yet another Haruka in another dimension dies, he wants to tear his hair and howl in despair.

There is no end. Only nothingness.

Only the bitterness of being alone.




This, he thinks, is the beginning.

Timespace ends, and he blinks and sees another Haruka standing before him. Older than he remembered, and weary around the eyes. The mists clear, and Noein realizes he is standing in a graveyard. Standing by a grave, his grave, the moonlight dusting the tombstone across from him.

"Yuu?" Haruka says. She turns. "Yuu...."

No, he thinks. Shangri'La spreads. The graveyard turns into a field; the night sky lightens. Sunlight eases around them as another universe is devoured whole.

Haruka's eyes widen. "Yuu!"

She is alive. Beautiful, vibrant. Alive. She rushes toward him, and he sees she is cloaked in light. "Haruka..."

"Yuu!" Haruka's face is bright. "You're alive," Haruka says. Noein stiffens. Her hands reach forward, touching his mask.

"I swore I'd find you when you died," Haruka says, and Noein realizes in this timespace, Yuu was the one who died. Haruka smiles, sad eyes crinkling slightly at the corners. The soft glow of her body fades, and she looks like a normal woman now, pale and sad and trembling with joy. And Noein realizes in this timespace, Haruka is Noein. He steps back, shaking.


"I knew I'd find you," Haruka says. Her face wrenches. She steps forward, then presses her face against his chest. "I've searched for you for so long."




This is how they spend the end of days: watching universes unfold and spin.

He is Noein, and so is she. But none of that matters. They make love with the birth of stars, and worlds spin as he holds her hand.


A/N: So I was thinking, what if there was a timespace where Haruka is the one who survives the car crash, and this came from that. The idea of Noein!Haruka and Noein!Yuu finding each other made me happy, so there :)