Okay, so, being the rabid fangirl I am, I wanted to write a SantaClover fic to replace the other trashy story I put up... but if you read the first two lines of this story, you'll realize I've failed.

I have no idea if Santa and June are IC or not. I tried my best with Santa, but I fear I overdid it with the cussing.

Also, I have no idea if this story is possible or not. I understood what June was doing about as much as I understood the movie Inception. That is to say, I didn't. Just think of this as an alternate universe or something. It's really just a expansion and short continuation of the safe ending.

Does anyone know how to say Aoi?

Blood seeps out of the gash in her back. Her face grows paler with every passing second.

What the hell? This was not supposed to fucking happen! Clover was not supposed to-

I need to get the hell out of here. The atmosphere in this room… I can't freaking stand it…

He turns his back on the fresh corpse and flings open the door. He walks into the hallway and abruptly stops.

Her face was so damn peaceful.

- ( - 9 - ) -

"Santa, you take care of June! I'm trusting you!"

He nods at Junpei and watches as he and Seven run out. "You think he'll save her?"

Akane giggles as he sets her down on a hospital bed. "Of… course, Aoi… He's… Jumpy… after all…"

He sits on the bed next to her. "Akane-"

"He's done… well so far... Why… would he stop now…? And… I'm… with him…" She laughs her lighthearted laugh. It turns into a coughing fit.

"Akane, you're getting worse." Of course she fucking is.

Akane smiles a sad, tiny smile as she says, "Aoi… You know what… this fever means… "

Fevers cause heat. Heat is caused by fire. Fires can be made by incinerators. The reason for the Nonary Game was to prevent Akane's death inside of an incinerator.

Of course he knows what this fever means.

The implications of Akane's statement are enough to unleash his building frustration. He jumps from the bed. "No, Akane! You can't fucking leave me here! I've spent- We've spent the last nine fucking years working to keep us fucking together! We've come so far, Akane!"

He huffs. Yes, he's sorry for what he just did. But she has to understand that he can't live without her.

Akane's smile never leaves her face. "But… Didn't you realize… when you saw… Clover…? Don't you remember… we said that… we… could only succeed… if no one innocent… died…?"

His sister blamed herself for that. Of course, it was her fault… but it was his fault too… an innocent life, a little sister, taken. It was exactly what Gentarou had done nine years prior. "Akane-"

"I'm sorry… Aoi… but… I think… I should… rest…" Akane closes her eyes, and he sits back on the bed, head in hands.

He knows that this isn't like what Gentarou faked hours before. Akane won't die; not here, not now.

No one speaks for God knows how long. The eerie sound of creaking metal prevents total silence.

Finally, he says, "I'm sorry."

After a short pause, Akane opens her eyes and smiles. "You know, I think I'm feeling a little better now, Aoi."

- ( - 9 - ) -

He walks to the chapel at a slow pace, so not to force Akane to keep up with him. However, considering the short distance, they find themselves there in a matter of time.

"The casket is open," Akane says, not wanting to say what the both of them are thinking. "Light is gone."

He can't bring himself to say it either. "When Light finds out what happened to Clover, he'll kill Hongou. And the asshole deserves it, but he's got a freaking gun. Light could…"

Akane sits on the floor, leaning against the side of a pew. "But Aoi… Even if Light stays alive after this game, Clover will still be gone…"

Even if Aoi stays alive after this game, Akane will still be gone. He doesn't say anything.

A short interlude filled with the sound of creaking metal.

And then, Akane voices it: "Aoi… You won't see me again once you leave here…"

He avoids her glance, instead choosing to examine the floor. "I… know…" It's impossible to fathom, never seeing his little sister again. The thing he's been working for all his life will be gone.

What will be the point?

"Aoi, I'm lucky to have a brother like you." He still refuses to meet her gaze. "When I'm gone… I don't want you to throw your life away. We've spent so much time working for mine, and yours is worth just as much. Promise, Aoi."

He turns his head to look at her. Is my sister a freaking telepath now?

But this is Akane's wish. This one last thing that will make her happy…

"I… promise." Before Akane can say anything, he says, "I should go now…"


He moves to face his sister and crouches down. He smiles out of the blue. "I'll miss you, Akane," he tells her. He kisses her on the forehead, and then turns to leave.

Akane grins. "Bye, Aoi. I'll miss you, too. I love you."

"I love you, too, Akane. Find your true path soon." The door closes behind him. Akane's fever spikes.

- ( - 9 - ) -

In the captain's quarters, he fiddles with the keyboard and returns it to live feed. He's done this just in time.

"Don't gimme that 'I was' crap! You're gonna see me again lots more times!"

Junpei… Why can't he realize their relationship was impossible since the damn beginning?

He can barely bring himself to do it, but he takes the microphone out and opens his mouth.

"Game over."

- ( - 0 - ) -

Sitting in his truck with the unconscious bodies of Seven, Lotus, and Junpei (or Kenta, Hazuki, and Junpei, as the Nonary Game was over), he knows what will happen.

Kenta will wake up in his apartment in Shibuya and find a letter on his kitchen table. The memory of his basic information will return upon its reading. Later, everything will come back and he'll recognize Santa and June as Aoi and Akane Kurashiki. He'll wonder what the hell was going on, but after failing to find the Kurashikis, he'll seek out Junpei and the woman he knew as Lotus, and both will fail to have any useful information.

Hazuki will wake up in her house in Hachioji and find a note on her dresser, signed by Zero. She'll feel a closer bond to Nona and Ennea after having gone through the same experience they went through nine years previous. Unless Kenta finds her, she'll live the rest of her life trying to forget the nine hours she spent inside of Building Q, but she'll occasionally wonder at a giant bulk of a man, a college-age adult with no fashion sense, a rude punk, and a sweet, naïve girl.

Junpei will wake up in Apartment 201 and find a folded letter inside of his pocket, read it, and proceed to completely disregard its advice. He'll search for Kanny Kurashiki for the rest of his life, never believing it futile. He will never find her.

Aoi starts the engine, steps on the gas, and briefly wonders where his sister is. Maybe in another universe, she's still with him in Building Q, but this time, they'll stay together.

It doesn't matter. This damn wondering is useless. In this damn universe, I'll never fucking see her again.

But I guess it is kind of nice to know she's finding happiness. Even if I can't be with her.

Because, for Aoi Kurashiki, time was a river that only flowed in one direction.

How badly characterized was Santa? It was practically impossible to get inside his head.

Seven's name just came from some random Japanese naming site, based on his trademark characteristic. Hazuki comes form the questions on the 999 website. (Thanks to epobbp.)

Well, thanks for reading!