When darling, sweet Chrome fell, to him it seemed as if the whole world had fallen with her.
The Vongola family and other famiglias of note had been engaged in battle, trying to ward off the advances of the Millefiore. It had been slaughter; utter carnage. Both sides had been suffering heavy casualties and neither was showing signs of relenting, though the Millefiore mafioso were steadily gaining ground, forcing the Vongola and their allies to slowly retreat. The plains were littered with the lifeless bodies of subordinates of both ends.
While everyone else had been fighting off Byakuran's subordinates, Tsunayoshi and his Guardians were duking it out with a battle royale against Byakuran himself and his six Funeral Wreaths at the very heart of the battlefield. Byakuran and Tsuna fought with the viciousness of feral tigers, each ceaselessly raining attacks down on the other, looking for an opening while their Guardians battled around them.
Mukuro and Chrome had naturally been left to deal with Torikabuto. It was an epic battle of illusions, counter-illusions and illusions to counter the counter-illusions. Great pillars of flame shot up to the sky, scorching everything in their paths; a sudden blast of freezing wind and the inferno turned into spires of ice which then shattered; before the wickedly glittering shards could impale any of the fighters they were turned into individual ravens with deadly beaks that threatened to pluck out the eyes of the unfortunate– it went on and on.
Mukuro had been locked in close combat with their opponent when it happened – or at least, he had appeared to be. The real him was concealed within one of the many trees making up the illusory forest he had conjured. All this while, he had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike while Chrome and his illusionary-self distracted their hulking opponent. Chrome sent thousands upon thousands of arrows flying towards the illusion-Mukuro and Torikabuto. With a wave of his hand, Torikabuto changed them into soft feathers which halted their deadly trajectory and floated harmlessly to the ground like fluffy, gentle snow. In that split second in which Torikabuto had taken to change the illusion into illusion, Mukuro himself leapt from his hiding place; smirk upon his handsome visage, his long ponytail flowing gracefully behind him like flowing water and the promise of death glinting upon his trident. At the same time, Chrome was also rushing towards Torikabuto to catch him between their respective assault –
A blast of light and sound from Tsuna and Byakuran's general direction effectively stopped everyone in their tracks. The Vongola Decimo had been temporarily disarmed, blown back from the sonic blast that had apparently emitted from Byakuran. Suddenly, without anyone really knowing how it happened, an even brighter burst of light and wind from Byakuran blinded everyone present.
Mukuro clenched his eyes shut against the light; a natural reaction to block out the obtrusive light that seared his eyeballs through the lids, burning burning – and then nothing. Just as suddenly as it had appeared, the blinding brightness was gone. The gale was also dying down, allowing his bangs to fall back to their natural positions. Reopening his mismatched eyes, all he could see were sparks and dots of darkness. But even as he waited for his eyes to adjust, he tensed like a lion about to pounce; crouching into a battle stance and readjusting his grip on his weapon. Something was wrong. Very wrong.
Blood-curdling screams and pained groans filled the air which was now heavy – heavier than before – with the scent of blood. Mukuro could hear other fighters grunting in surprise and stumbling around blindly as they too tried to recover from the temporary blindness and figure out what was going on. He did not move but stood his ground, waiting. When he could finally see again and his vision was clear, Mukuro found himself surrounded by an ocean of corpses.
Lacerations covered each of their bodies – deep gauges, rivers of blood flowing freely from these wounds of the mutilated figures to form a sea of red that stretched across the battlefield. The ground was slippery with it – the blood of all mafiaso; Vongola and Millefiore alike. Whatever it was Byakuran had unleashed, it had killed a great many.
Those whom had been spared from the fatal blast called out frantically to fallen comrades, scrambling to save them. Mukuro knew better, most of them were already dead. Those who weren't had injuries too great for them to have a chance at survival. As the plain began to be filled with the cries and wails of grief and despair and anger, Mukuro noted that the unknown blast had killed a number of Byakuran's own men from his inner circle as well – the one they called Kikyou was down, multiple wounds had torn up parts of his body which now lay still upon the slick ground and devoid of life, while the long-dead body of a monk lay at his feet with the mask of Torikabuto cracked into pieces beside it. Ah. A mere vessel. Still, thought Mukuro, the fact remained that his willingness to sacrifice the lives of his own men showed Byakuran's true nature.
But none of that was what disturbed Mukuro. He could still feel it, a deep-seated nauseous sensation that clawed at his lungs, constricted his heart, pressed against all sides of mind until he felt he could not remain standing on his feet for much longer, the feeling of his blood turning into ice in his veins – that piercing, desperate, screaming voice in his head that was telling him that some irreversible damage had been done.
"Mu… ku… ro… sa… ma…"
He whirled around – and there was Chrome right behind him, as she always was; his sweet, cute Chrome. But the Chrome before him was one he never wanted to see, one who was born from his nightmares – a Chrome who was on her knees and kneeling in the blood-drenched soil saturated in her blood with more of the red, life-giving fluid gushing from deep, gaping wounds on her torso and abdomen. The Chrome whose hands were clutching at her throat where more crimson flowed forth from between her fingers. The Chrome whose was expression was shell-shocked, eyes wide and pupils dilated either from fear or shock – or both.
Weakly, she called out to him again "Mu… ku…" She reached out a blood-stained hand towards him only to fall forwards. Three strides and he was there to catch her before she hit the ground. Falling to his knees as well, he supported her torso with one arm so he could see her face and she, his. No he thought no, no, no – this couldn't be happening. This had to be a lie. This couldn't be reality.
His sweet, innocent little Chrome was dying.
"… ro… -sama…" she coughed violently, hacking up the blood that was entering her lungs and preventing her from breathing. But she still tried to speak to him "Is… Mukuro… sama… hurt?"
Mukuro ignored everything around them. Ignored all the chaos and destruction and pain. His vision had narrowed to include only Chrome. Chrome with her one, good eye, her signature black eye-patch covering the other, damaged one. Chrome with her long, royal purple hair, a short tuft of it on top of her head styled to imitate his. Chrome with her pale skin and small stature, making her look like a delicate china doll. Chrome who was now grimacing in pain, whose breaths were ragged and whose blood was spilling to the earth like a morbid fountain.
He placed a trembling hand over hers, the one over her throat, trying to staunch the bleeding but to no avail. Soon enough, the blood was gushing out from between his fingers too. "I'm all right, my cute Chrome, I'm all right," he assured her, surprised that his efforts to keep his voice normal, calm and cool, were successful when inside, he felt wild with panic and an impending sense of doom. "Keep quiet now, do not speak. Save your strength." he advised her, his voice had gotten strangely soft – hushed, as though they were in a graveyard or a morgue or some other place of deathly silence. But he knew better than to believe his own words. He knew, he knew-
She knew as well.
"I'm glad… Muku… ro… sama… not hurt…" and, through her pain, she smiled at him – gave him her naïve, adoring smile she had always given him. Red trickled from her delicate lips and down her chin, joining their bloodied hands at her ruined throat; like a river meeting the sea. "So… please… Mukuro-sama… don't… be sad…"
Mukuro did not cry, he instead returned her smile with his own; the shrewd and cunning upturn of his lips that did not quite meet his eyes. "Ah, but how can I not be sad, my cute Chrome? Just look at you, you've gotten blood all over your clothes! We'll have to get you cleaned up when we get home." His tone was slightly admonishing, like one would reprimand a child for stealing cookies from the jar. But no, he was the one who deserved the scolding. He was the one who deserved the punishment. Because in the end, he was the one who had failed her.
"But please, little Chrome, don't make that face, or I might start crying too." he said, for transparent drops of water were running down her face from her one eye, clearing a clean track upon her skin where there once had been blood.
"Mukuro… sama… should not… cry… " Chrome weakly insisted, reaching with her free hand to touch his face. He took her hand and held it there, against his cheek, not minding that his face was being bloodied too. "Muku… ro-sama… is… strong… the strongest- " Chrome stopped as another coughing fit overcame her, her petite body convulsing with each cough. Mukuro held her closer to his body, squeezing her hand slightly, offering what comfort he could. His head dipped lower and his shoulders sagged. Somewhere, someone screamed. The voice was familiar, but he did not care to check. Only Chrome existed now, Chrome and nothing else.
But that was about to change.
"Mu… " whispered Chrome, regaining control over her voice "Mukuro-sama… I don't… don't want… to die… Not… not yet…" He bent lower, closing the distance between their faces until their foreheads nearly touched, as lovers would before they clashed their tongues. He caressed the dainty hand still on his cheek. "Don't be afraid, my cute Chrome. Don't be scared. Please don't cry. "
"I don't… don't want… to… leave… Mukuro-sama… alone… "
"Hush," he said. "Everything will be alright, it will be alright." The words came out soothingly, though he did not know for which of them they were intended to comfort.
"I wish… stay… with Muku… ro-sama… longer… " she mumbled, becoming more and more incoherent as her remaining eye began to glaze over and become unfocused.
Mukuro bowed his head until his marine bangs shielded their faces from view of anyone who might be looking. He brought his mouth to her ear and whispered something only the two of them could hear. When he withdrew, she was gazing at him with renewed hope.
She smiled at him one last time and said, with her last breath "Thank you… Mukuro…" With that, she departed; her hand falling from his face, leaving a red handprint in its wake – marring his otherwise perfect visage, falling limply atop her midriff. Her eyelid fluttered shut over her single, dark violet eye. Her body had ceased shuddering, its battle against the inevitable finally over. She was no more – her blood and his name were the last things upon her lips.
He stayed there for a while longer, feeling Chrome's body grow colder and colder in his arms with each passing minute. Finally, he gently placed her prone, lifeless shell upon the wet, bloody ground. Mukuro made a move to rise, but then pressed his fingers against her cheek; as if reluctant to leave. Rise he eventually did. When he did, he stopped to wonder at the blacks, whites and shades of grey all about him. The once garish crimson of blood now appeared black, Chrome's skin was now truly white and everything else were in uncountable, infinite hues of grey.
For the moment Chrome had slipped away, his world had lost all colour.
Mukuro turned. From his vantage point, he could see Byakuran. It seemed that Tsunayoshi had survived the Millefiore boss' attack, but had not yet recovered. The Vongola Decimo groaned from his place on the the ground as he struggled to find his footing. Byakuran was advancing upon the vulnerable boy, smirking, predicting his victory.
Something within Mukuro twinged. Annoyance? He wasn't sure – he felt so detached to his body now, as if he was observing the actions of another person from somewhere far away. The feeling grew, grew and grew still. He dimly recognised them now – anger; anger and hatred.
Byakuran. Yes, he decided, Byakuran would be his next target.
He was vaguely aware his body's position had changed – taking up an offensive stance, he readied the trident in his hand in preparation for a fight.
Chrome had trusted him. Trusted him and adored him with everything she had. She had seen him as her saviour. He was supposed to be her saviour. He was supposed to protect her. He was supposed to provide for her and make sure she was well cared for, make sure she was happy and he was supposed to shield her from the ugliness of the world. He had sworn to do just that the day he had found her in his unreal reality.
He had failed her. He had failed her trust.
He was supposed to guard her, supposed to be with her night and day. He was supposed to be by her side, for he knew that she would find a way to be by his anyway. He was supposed to stand with her, walk alongside her and hold her hand and see her smile, letting her know that her dear, precious Mukuro-sama would never let her be alone. She would never have to go anywhere alone.
With that one thought, Mukuro charged towards Byakuran.
He had failed her before. He will not fail her again.
A/N: So, my first fanfic after a really, really long while (say, six years?) What do you think? I really like Chrome and I think she and Mukuro would be real good together (I got a 6996 badge from Comic Fiesta a few days ago X3 ). I'm currently going through the KHR fanfic archives though I'm not done yet, far from it (I only just joined the fandom two or three months ago) and I kind of wanted to read a Chrome death fic with a grieving Mukuro but haven't come across any so far so i thought 'Ah hell, I'll just write it myself :D'
Not to be blowing my own trumpet, but I think my choice of title was rather brilliant. It expressed what Mukuro was going through, his thoughts, his feelings and his tunnel-vision on Chrome as she was dying. The word 'monochrome' means 'one colour', but is usually used to refer to 'black and white'. Also, the word 'mono' means 'alone' or 'one'. This followed by 'Chrome' made me feel it could also be taken to mean that the only thing Mukuro really sees is Chrome. Get it? Well, it probably only makes sense to me since I was the one who thought of it... Please tell me you guys understood it as well! ^^;
Please feel free to tell me what you think, don't pull any punches if you think I deserve them (but no flames please, though I love me some constructive criticism). This has only been proofread once, and that proofreading was done by me (the author) so there may be some errors in there still.
Ah, and one last thing; if you think you found some typos in my writing, please note that I use UK spelling (I'm too used to it to change xD). This means that I use 'colours' instead of 'colors' and 'criticise' instead of 'criticize'. Hope you all understand :3
EDIT: In hindsight, I realised that I must not have been very clear about the last line of the fic: Mukuro died too. -is shot- I got some reviews (thank you so, so much! 8DDD) saying that they were sad about Chrome's death and I thought 'Doesn't anybody care about Mukuro?' but I guess it's my fault for not explaining properly xD
He thinks he's failed her and he doesn't want to doubly fail her by leaving her alone in death so he went to join her, so you could say he charged against Byakuran with the intention of dying in battle. Corny, I know. D: