The Closing of Azure Eyes

Shinonome Laboratory

"Professor, I'm off to school!" Nano was hurrying to put on her shoes when the eight-year-old Professor came in.

"Is it morning already?" said the Professor as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

"Professor! Did you fall back asleep?"

The Professor pointed to a black cat with a red scarf around its neck coming down the hallway. "Sakamoto said I could sleep in today!"

The cat look shocked. "Excuse me? Why are dragging me into this?"

All Nano could do was sigh.

"You two better behave yourselves, or you won't get any dinner tonight!"

Both the Professor and Sakamoto quickly grew very nervous. "Hehheh…we'll be good! We're always good, aren't we kid?"

The Professor laughed nervously. "Of course we are! So good in fact, that I deserve shark chocolate!"

Sakamoto glared at the child prodigy. "What happened to 'we'?"

By now, Nano was at the gate. "Maybe if you're good!" she called out as she waved goodbye. The Professor waved until the robot girl was out of sight.

"So what shall we do today, Sakamoto?"

The black cat stretched out its front legs. "I don't know about you, Kid, but I'm going to take a nap."

The Professor's mouth dropped. "But you just woke up!" she whined.

"Correction," Sakamoto stated. "You just woke up. I, on the other hand, woke up hours ago. I'm overdue for some z catching."

"But you're supposed to play with me! We're supposed to play hide and go seek! We're supposed to tell jokes to each other!"

Sakamoto was already going out to the porch. "Maybe in a couple hours…"

The Professor's deep blue eyes filled with tears. "It's not fair!" She fell to the floor and stared at the ceiling trying to figure out what she was going to do for the rest of the day. Boredom quickly overcame her. She decided to pass the time absorbed in her coloring books.

As she began pulling out her books and crayons, a slight pain arose in her chest. The pain lingered for a moment, and then subsided. The child prodigy pondered over it for a moment or two, before dismissing it at nothing more than heartburn.

The Professor set her coloring books on the floor, laid on her stomach and set about coloring the several kinds of sharks.

After about two hours of serious coloring, the child's stomach told her it was time to eat. She went into the kitchen and set her sights on a couple of cake rolls with some milk. The Professor giggled about remembering when she put a cake roll in Nano's arm.

As she began eating, The Professor remembered that Sakamoto was still napping. She quickly wolfed down the two cake rolls and downed the glass of milk. She felt it was time to go wake up the snoozing cat.

Sure enough, the Professor found Sakamoto asleep on the backyard wall.

Snickering to herself, the child prodigy crept quietly over to the wall until she was right under the black cat. The Professor cupped her hands over her mouth and took a deep breath. "SAKAMOTO!"

Sakamoto jumped about ten feet into the air before landing face first at the Professor's feet. The black cat glared up at the blonde-headed face that sweetly stared back at him.

"Sakamoto, did you sleep well?"

The thought of mauling came to Sakamoto's mind. The Professor just giggled.

Suddenly, the same pain she had felt earlier returned to the Professor's chest. It was much more severe this time. The eight-year-old winced as she clutched her chest.

"Hey kid, are you okay?" Sakamoto asked, a little worried.

The Professor forced a laugh. "It's…nothing. I guess I just…ate my lunch too quickly." She slowly went inside and sat down still clutching her chest. After a few seconds, the pain went away. The Professor sighed and smiled at Sakamoto. "See?" she said. "Nothing to worry about, just heartburn!"

The black cat sighed. "Well, just be more careful next time."

"Well, it's your fault you know!" said the Professor.

"My fault? How is it my fault?"

The Professor put her fists to her waist. "If you hadn't have slept for so long, I wouldn't have had to eat so quickly!"

"I told you I was going to take a nap this morning! Don't go pinning this on me!"

"Well, I still say it's your fault!" contested the Professor.

Sakamoto just shook his head. "I give up. You're hopeless."

Suddenly, the cat felt himself being lifted into the air until he came just inches away from the pools of azure that were the Professor's eyes.

"Play with me, Sakamoto!"

Sakamoto protested. "Why should I? You're just going to blame me for something I didn't do!"

The girl's cheeked puffed out. "Play with me! Play with me! Play with me!"

Sakamoto closed his eyes and shook his head. "Not in the mood…"

There was silence for sometime after that. The Professor normally would have thrown a tantrum at this point. When Sakamoto opened his eyes, they opened wide. Instead of seeing a teary-eyed little girl, Sakamoto saw a blank look.

Sweat was running down the Professor's face. Suddenly, she dropped the black cat as she fell to her knees clutching her chest with both of her hands.

"I-impossible…I'm too young to have a…." She collapsed to the floor.

"KID! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?" Sakamoto was panicking. He had no idea what to do.

He contemplated going to get Nano but he didn't want to leave the Professor.

"S-saka…Sakamoto?" the girl's voice was very weak.

"What is it, kid? What do you need?"

The Professor, still sweating, still in pain, tears running softly down her face, cupped Sakamoto's face in her trembling hands and smiled sweeter than ever.

"Don't tell Nano…" The soft hands that held Sakamoto's face fell to the floor.

Silence…for several minutes there was nothing but the sound of the chirping birds outside. Empty sapphire eyes stared back at the black cat. She was even smiling at him still. Sakamoto's entire body shook like a leaf in the wind. He was still trying to wrap his head around what had just happened. He shook his head, slowly at first, then violently. "!….That didn't just happen! This is a bad dream! A very bad dream!"

Sakamoto pressed his paw against the Professor's golden head.

"Come on kid! Wake up! You've had you're fun! Come on!" His voice suddenly shook. "You're…you're not really..." He couldn't even bring himself to say the word. All he could do was stare into her lifeless eyes, hoping upon all hope that she was still there.

"What have I done?" he thought. He contemplated what he had said to her just minutes ago. He remembered how upset he had been about the Professor waking him up. He remembered how she had asked him to play with her.

"Why didn't I play with her?...Why didn't I let her grab my tail and blame me for everything? Why…."

It was too late. His chance to make her happy was now gone forever. Nevermore would he awaken to see those deep blue eyes staring back at him. Nevermore would he hear her young voice echo through the house.

Sakamoto hung his head low. He slowly lifted his paw over the child prodigy's eyes and slowly shut them. He then went into the bedroom and, with all his strength, pulled a blanket into the hallway. After some difficulty, he placed the blanket over the Professor, keeping her head bare. Sakamoto then sat and stared at her.

She looked so peaceful. The black cat had never stopped to notice how beautiful the young girl was. Her golden hair rested softly on the floor, her soft skin held no blemish, and her deep blue eyes had been a sight to see. Tears began to roll down Sakamoto's face. "Goodbye, sweet angel…"