She looks so lovely, her abandoned dreams melting in the corners of her eyes. It softens her, somehow.

When she notices him, she straightens slightly and smiles tightly. She is too strong.

"Hiiragizawa-san, how good to see you."

Without asking, he slides next to her on the park bench. She doesn't protest. Of course, she was too polite to.

"Same here, Daidouji-san. How have you been?"

She doesn't look at him, looking straight ahead and curling a strand of her long hair around her finger. She is silent for a few seconds but it feels like an eternity, so long that he is almost startled when she finally answers. He can hear the tears swirled into her words; he is reminded of broken silver.

"I've been thinking of cutting my hair."

She doesn't ask for his opinion and he doesn't offer one. They are both gazing at the flowers, the trees, anywhere but at each other. They are both good at tucking secrets neatly away. But
she, she was starting to falter. Composure was becoming too hard. Her hands no longer look perfectly relaxed, clasped so tightly in her lap. If he had looked more closely, he would have seen that her hands were shaking.

He is so tired of this.

He ostensibly leans back against the bench, his elbow grazing her briefly, and pretends that he doesn't notice her startled jump.

"So, Sakura and the boy?"

For the first time, she turns to face him, amethyst eyes glimmering limpidly. Before their eyes can meet, she looks quickly away.


She answers with measured casualness. She doesn't ask why he decides to bring that particular topic up. She knows. Her lips look uncertain. Oh, the ignominy of selflessness.

"Well, I'm sure they're happy."

She is still smiling pleasantly. But now, she looks faintly exhausted.

"Yes, I am very happy for them. Sakura deserves to be happy."

She pauses. He eyes the chasms between her broken words. He could pretend that he did not see the distances which were much too far to jump. It's what would have been polite. It's what she would have infinitely preferred.


He speaks quietly, so quietly that she almost does not hear him.

"So do you."

He turns to meet her startled eyes.

Their hands brush fleetingly.