Disclaimer: I do not own Tactics, and I am not profiting from writing this drabble.
Word count: 566
Notes: This is my first Tactics drabble. It was written in 2009 as an apology fic for the wait between chapter eleven and chapter twelve of Shades Of Grey. I thought it would be fitting to upload it now to apologise for a two year hiatus. I'm sorry it is a rather weak one-shot. It certainly was different to write Kantarou as the master!
Haruka stands silently, his eyes not looking at anything in particular. He listens to the rain pounding down in sheets onto the roof. Youko rustles sheets of paper to his right, her brown eyes occasionally flicking to Kantarou's pale, rigid form. The folklorist is breathing heavily, the fever taking its toll on his weakening body.
The house has never been so quiet, and in any other situation, Haruka would relish it. But this eerie silence is unnerving. Youko is back to fretting, kneeling at Kantarou's side, wiping his brow with a wet cloth and whispering to him. Haruka still doesn't move. The rain keeps lashing at the windows.
"Kantarou…" Youko sighs, worry evident in her soft voice.
"You should rest, Youko. You have work tomorrow." Haruka says. He knows the fox youkai is tired from looking after their sick master all day, but her loyalty and genuine concern for the human would prevent her from retiring for the night if he didn't speak up. "I'll watch him."
Youko wants to protest, but they're running low on funds again, and medicine didn't come cheap. She takes one final look at her master. He looks small, and far too white. Her mind is made up, and she nods in resignation.
"Goodnight, Kan-chan." She whispers, brushing stray hairs out of the human's face. "Haruka…if he gets any worse, please-"
Haruka places his hands on Youko's shoulders. She's shaking a little. The fox youkai takes comfort in the silent gesture. Haruka would rarely reach out and touch someone, it made him uncomfortable.
Haruka is aware of Youko sliding the door shut behind her, but it's Kantarou who holds his attention now. The human's breathing pattern has changed – only slightly – but the tengu can sense it. Kantarou is awake.
Yet when his master finally speaks up, it shakes him.
"Haruka…wh…what time is it?"
"It's late…" Haruka replies. "Youko's gone to bed." He adds unnecessarily.
Haruka watches his Master's futile attempts to get comfortable, his weak limbs as useless as his manuscript paper when it got wet.
The demon eater moves forward a couple of steps, lessening the distance between him and his master. His eyes never leave the human's form, but the tengu is unsure of what to do. For a moment, he feels a sense of weakness. Those soft, pink lips are moving but his sharp ears don't pick up a sound. His heart is thumping hard in his chest, his body on fight or flight mode. How could this one person on the floor in front of him cause him such an internal struggle?
"Haru…ka…are you listening?" Kantarou asks softly, his blood red eyes open but still a little unfocussed. "If you only had one day left to live…what would you do?"
Haruka slowly digests the question. What would he do? In the past, he had only wished for a different present; a more pleasant future. One day left to live…would it be enough to live it with no regrets?
"Haruka?" Kantarou cocks his head to one side, patiently waiting for an answer. He's smiling faintly, his cheeks still flushed from the fever.
Haruka drops his eyes. "I don't know." He says slowly, sadly, and something nags in his stomach. He chooses to ignore the feeling, still unable to look at his sick master.
"Oh…" Kantarou takes a deep breath and closes his eyes.
Outside, it's still raining.
Thanks for reading!