Title: The Dying of the Light
Rating: G
Genre: Angst/tragedy
Pairings: ChigusaxRakan implied
Warnings:
Alternate timeline, suicide (technically?)
Spoilers:
None
Summary:
They say the monsters only die when they finally lose their minds. And there is only one loss that Chigusa's sanity couldn't survive.
Disclaimer: Silver Diamond is safe in the capable hands of Sugiura-sensei, who is surely less cruel than me. I hope.


Chigusa vanished the night Rakan died.

Narushige could not be sure exactly when he left, only that he had seen him kneeling at Rakan's side after the battle with the Ayami Prince. He had been too deep in his own turmoil to approach him then. By the time he collected himself enough to seek him out and see if he was all right, he was gone. When he remained missing, he sent Kazuhi and the guards to look for him, but there was no sign of the man.

"He knows my power," Kazuhi said upon returning, with frustration. "So he must know how to hide from it. This isn't right. He should have been here for Rakan's burial."

"Perhaps he couldn't face it," Touji said quietly, and voiced a truth none of them would have said before the battle: "You know, of all of us, Chigusa loved him the most."

"Perhaps," Narushige echoed, stroking Koh's head sadly. Losing Rakan was bad enough, a second missing friend only opened the wound wider. But there was a country that needed re-structuring, that was difficult enough in the midst of grief. He sent out as many search teams as could be spared, but couldn't take the time to indulge in worry over Chigusa, especially if he didn't want to be found. Maybe he needed to deal with his loss in his own way.

It was several days later before Narushige discovered what that way was.

He woke before the others, to take some flowers to Rakan's grave. On his way there he saw boot prints in the dust, and his heart leapt to his throat when he saw the black-haired man lying beside the grave marker.

"Chigusa!" he called, running closer. "Chigusa, thank goodness–"

His friend moved slightly, raising himself up on one arm and turning his gun on him. Narushige stopped, holding up his hands. "Chigusa? It's me. Put your gun down."

His grey eyes narrowing, he fired, but badly. The bullet went far to the right. The force threw him back down to the ground.

"What are you doing?" Narushige demanded, aghast. "Don't fire at me! I'm your friend! Have you gone–"

…Mad?

His ire turned to fear.

The monsters only die after they lose their minds…

Tentatively, he stepped forward. Chigusa tried to lift his arm again; before he could, Narushige kicked the gun from his grasp and knelt beside him.

"Chigusa?"

The eyes glaring back at him showed no sign of recognition, but when they turned toward the grave marker, they lost their fierceness and went blank. He slowly lowered his head to the ground, and there was dust smeared across his face, marking old tear stains. Narushige pressed his hand to his chest. His heart was still beating, but barely, and his breathing was shallow. Every now and then his hands would twitch in a weak spasm. Narushige had lived in the desert long enough to recognize the signs of dehydration. The only thing Chigusa's regenerating body couldn't save him from.

"Just hold on, I'll get you water," he said, starting to stand, when Chigusa's arm reached out and grabbed him by the wrist. He met Narushige's eyes once more, that spooky non-recognizing gaze boring into him. Slowly, his lips moved, forming words. "Let me."

Staring down at him, Narushige wanted to say no, no, this wasn't what Rakan wanted. Rakan had gone down in that war to prevent more death. The rest of them had found the strength to pick themselves up and move on. To lose him, too, so soon? It was too much to bear, and Chigusa was only being selfish.

But watching him curl upon the ground, limp as if he was already under it with the person he had sworn to protect, he realized his friend had died when Rakan had. His body was just now catching up.

Perhaps, he thought sadly, he was the selfish one. He had the others. He had Koh, who had always been by his side. He had things strong enough to hold himself up with.

We could hold you up
, he thought desperately, but knowing inside that even if there were a million of them, they wouldn't be enough. The person Chigusa wanted…the first person who had ever truly wanted him back, criminal and monster that he was…was gone.

If he fetched the others, they would all help drag Chigusa back and force water into him if they had to. Once he had water, the sanome Midori could revive him and repair any damage the dehydration had done to his organs. They could keep him alive, but was it truly worth it? Chigusa no longer recognized him, and he doubted he would know the others. To force him to stay alive in irreversible madness...

Yes, that was selfishness.

"If this is what you want," he whispered, taking his hand, knowing he was too weak to attack him again. He remained by his side, forcing himself not to give in and call for the others. He argued within himself that they deserved the right to say good-bye, that they would hate him for not telling them, but he also knew they would overpower his choice if they were here.

If you'll be happier this way, I'll face their anger for you.

It didn't take much longer before Chigusa's eyes closed and the rise and fall of his side slowed to a halt. For a second, in that moment between life and death, a smile flitted across his lips. Narushige felt his tears escape and clung to his hand for a moment, hoping beyond all hope that the smile meant what he thought it did; that Chigusa had glimpsed the place he was going, and that he had recognized the person waiting to greet him.

Tell Rakan we'll never forget him…or you.

Gently, he set his hand down and struggled to his feet to find the others, to tell them the immortal monster had finally found peace.

X - X - X


Note: Because I'm a sadistic little bugger, that's why. And I wanted to write something to address how Chigusa could die, considering that hasn't really been mentioned in canon for awhile. (Maybe it has in the Japanese volumes, but I'm dreadfully behind. Damn you, TokyoPop.) Plus, I like writing about madness.

I named the Sanome Girl (who I assumed would join their side) Midori since it's the modern word for 'green.' And I am so uncreative. ^^;

I really, really hope the series doesn't end this way. ;_; Please be kinder than me, Sugiura-sensei!