disclaimer: one piece © eiichiro oda.

— tranquilize
by breakable bird

'Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro' the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,

edgar allan poe.

She is not dying, Shirahoshi thinks. She is very young and a little bit silly but she knows this:

A mother cannot die. A mother is immortal. Love conquers all, and blood never cools on a child's hands.

Shirahosi knows because when she discovered the wonderful, terrible, strange mystery of death, she asked her mother if she was going to die. "Not until my angels are ready," she replied, smiling and beautiful and Shirahoshi doesn't think she has ever loved someone so much. She likes her mother's gentle touch and she likes her pretty face, she likes the soft wave she leaves after her, like glittering sand.

(She remembers something called stars— yes, that must be.)

So, her mother is not dying, Shirahoshi thinks, but she is very hurt and her heart is beating so wildly it makes her want to cry. Shirahoshi cries, but not because her mother is going to die because she is not.

She can't see anything but bright colors and red lips and why isn't she moving?

(don't you see, mama? she wants to say but doesn't because there's no need, right? right? mama! i'm not ready.)

—her brothers are crying and wanting to make her laugh and Shirahoshi feels so warm and so heavy, and she wants to sleep or maybe that's mother?

Fukaboshi makes a promise and Ryuboshi and Manboshi are singing a grief's song with the wrong words.

Mother's hands are very cold, but Shirahoshi doesn't worry (she just cries a bit because she's such a crybaby!), because Otohime, mama's not dying. Not at all.