A/N: Written in the dead of the night for the Livejournal 500themes writing challenge community using prompt #152 – Last breath. Strongly influenced by the song "The Morning Sun" performed by Thomas Godoj.

Disclaimer: Ono Fuyumi and all associated companies are the rightful owners of Shiki. No copyright infringement intended and no money is being made from this. Please support the creators by buying the original work when possible.

Warnings: none.

We Had It All

They had had it all, Tohru thought, hovering above Natsuno's still form. Natsuno couldn't even move anymore; too weak to turn his head, too weak to move his hand. He barely had the strength to speak, to breathe, to keep his eyes open. This was almost the same Natsuno which the older boy knew – almost. Just as calm, just as quiet; but the look in his eyes was different. It wasn't the way somebody should look at a monster, not in that way, not like he would still hope… There was no hope, not anymore. Couldn't he understand?

They had had their happy days, Tohru thought, their great days, the days when they almost didn't meet – almost. And now it was all drawing to a close in the worst possible way. Tohru could not stop the tears from falling. He could not control them just like he could not control the craving for blood. He could never silence the hunger tearing at his insides, repeating the words he had been taught to make it seem right, to make it seem acceptable, to make him believe. He had tried to stave it off, had tried to ignore it, but eventually it took the upper hand and he lost himself to it, becoming a monster he hated. Becoming a monster he was. Becoming a monster Natsuno might become. Natsuno, who didn't deserve such a life. Natsuno, who was his closest friend. Natsuno, who had always wanted to get out of this town, but never would now. Natsuno, who knew that this was it – this was the end.

If Tohru could have said how much he hated himself, he would have, but he knew that it didn't matter anymore. It wouldn't have made it any easier. It wouldn't have changed anything. And Natsuno… Natsuno knew it anyway. Tohru didn't need to say the things which Natsuno could read in his eyes; even if they were a monster's eyes now. Natsuno was right. He should act more like the thing he was now, more like the despicable being of the night, but he couldn't. Changing, he hadn't changed. He was, and he wasn't. Still the same, but different – a second existence with a mask of the original.

They had had it all. The friendship, the camaraderie. The quiet moments when Natsuno sat on Tohru's bed reading a book or a magazine while Tohru himself lost the track of time to yet another video game. The days when Tohru dragged Natsuno around, showing him all memorable things in the neighbourhood. The times when they had argued, though never seriously, and they had made up, quickly and with ease, and sometimes with a well-aimed punch from Natsuno's side. And now Tohru watched him die; watched how he killed him. Not just flesh, Tohru thought with a monster's remorse, no. He really was Killing him: mind, body, and soul. He was killing everything that was Natsuno – his wishes, his dreams, his desire, his will to fight, to get out of this town – everything that made up the person he considered his best friend.

Tears fell, cold and uncontrollable. Hunger tore at his insides, empty and overwhelming. He could only hope that Natsuno wouldn't rise. Tohru hated himself enough already; he resented having risen and loathed even the thought that his best friend could become the same way, suffer the same way. It would be too cruel, too much. He didn't want to be the one to turn Natsuno into a monster, didn't want to see him suffer, didn't want to hear him blame him. He didn't want to be the one to kill Natsuno's dream. He didn't want to be the one to take away the one thing his best friend cherished the most, and yet he did. And Natsuno, his dear Natsuno no longer cared about that dream, instead wanting to save him, to save the one who was killing him. It wasn't fair. It wasn't right. It was a nightmare never to wake from.

Leaning down over Natsuno for one final time was the hardest thing he had ever done. Hearing his last breath, feeling his last heartbeats – he wanted to burn it into his memory just to make sure that he would never take this sin lightly; just to make sure that he would never forget the price of his existence. And he hoped it would be the last memento he would have of Natsuno.

"Don't rise," Tohru whispered into an ear which couldn't hear him anymore.

They had had it all. Almost.

They could have had it all. Almost.