The sun was setting when I returned. He was still there, unmoving, silent. I felt a part of myself crumble to dust whenever I saw him. This was not the Shiki I had known. This was not the man who had forced me to my knees and made me beg for death. This was a husk. A husk of the man I had once feared and despised. Now, he invoked only pity… and regret. I walked over to him, tossing my sword – his sword – on the bed. He makes no remark, does no look into my eyes and smirk. He does not acknowledge my presence in the slightest. There was a time when I had wished for that, for him to ignore me and allow me freedom. Now… I ached for his voice. It was as though I was an alcoholic, stranded in a vast desert with nothing to drink. I dropped to my knees in front of him, my eyes blurry.

Why?

"Shiki… talk to me, please…" I begged. I had begged many times for him, but not like this. This felt… raw… burning… I took his hand and stared into those eyes, eyes I had once hated, eyes I now loved. They were all but lifeless now, dull, not like they had been when we first met. I felt a single wet streak flow down my cheek. "Shiki…" His hand slipped from mine as I loosened my grip. My fingers strayed to the piercing on my abdomen. The only thing Shiki had ever given me. I was his. I had denied that when he spoke those words, but now… I knew they were true. He owned me, all of me. And I was happy. I wanted to be his.