A/N: Written for 500themes writing challenge community on Livejournal, for the prompt #40 – Finality.

Disclaimer: Ono Fuyumi and all associated companies are the rightful owners of Shiki. Please support the creators by buying their original work.

Warnings: None.

Time Stand Still

Over. It was over. Natsuno lived no longer. The flower in his hands was a proof to that. Something simple. Something torn away from its roots like Natsuno had been torn away from his dreams, unable to do anything but wilt; both done by Tohru's cold hand. There was symbolism in the act – far beyond the reason why humans brought dying flowers to the graves of those they had loved and lost. Just a simple white flower; something that still survived in autumn when winds were turning colder and nights growing darker. Simple and white like life, like death. Simple like Natsuno had never been. Simple unlike the meaning, the gesture which brought it in front of a window that would never be opened again. It was a sign of remembrance. Desperate clinging to everything they had been. A reminder of what they could never be. A plea for forgiveness. A grave marker for the missing and missed. A killer's repentance.

Natsuno had no grave; would never have one, therefore Tohru did the best he could have done: he brought the token to the place where Natsuno had lived and died. There was no other place for him to go. No other place where he could mourn for his best friend, clinging to the tatters of his ever-dwindling humanity. Though he had told Natsuno that everybody embraced this sin, that they saw nothing wrong with killing people to feed, they were merely words taught to him by others. It wasn't something he believed in, not yet. He just couldn't believe in them – it felt wrong for him no matter how you tried to look at it. Killing Natsuno had been hard. Killing others had been no easier. And sometimes… sometimes he thought that maybe Natsuno had been right – maybe there was another way, had to be another way, but…

The flowers lie there in a neat row in different stages of wilting and drying. Seven flowers. Seven nights. Seven attempts to receive an answer, a hint, a denial of forgiveness, a quest for closure, for a proof that he had finally become the monster who had climbed out of the cold grave. Seven nights of cold silence, emptiness, and a realisation that he couldn't run from himself, had nowhere left to run. Tohru didn't hate the one who had turned him into this. He didn't hate the one who had made him do this. He hated himself for becoming what he had become, for doing what he had done, and for thinking of doing it again to survive.

Wind rustled in the foliage overhead. Whispering, laughing, and mocking, tearing down the already-wilting leaves, and finally answering.