Title: Stars

Day/Theme: January 12 / let me know what she looks like at dawn

Character/Pairing: Mayuri, Okabe

A/N:I feel like they trolled me in the anime series. Yes, let's put a lot of emphasis on Mayushii and then we suddenly flip to the other girl. Couldn't they show a little more Kurisu, then, if this was their plan?

Anyways, I hope my writing hasn't gotten even more rusty...

Summary: Her hands have waved goodbye more times than he can count.

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It's an innocent gesture, a normal one for Mayuri. Her eyes stare at the sky, an arm outstretched as she reaches up. Out of habit he follows her, looking up at the clear blue sky. Just what she's reaching for, what she sees up there he'll never understand. Only that she seems to find it every time and it is only the promise of a hostage that is keeping her tied here.

She stands still for a moment and it is not this day he is seeing anymore. No, it is the darkness that surrounds them as night falls, the street lights dimming in the cool evening. It is the bright lamps of a car and the flash of blue that saves him. Her blood was warm in his hands and her head heavy in his lap.

Even when she reached up for him, he could see her vacant eyes, her life slipping away like the sands in that hourglass.

"Okarin?" Mayuri is looking up at him now and his throat tightens. Which death was it that hurt the most? The first, the last, the 31st? He can't tell-he had seen her die too many times, in too many ways for him to know. They all hurt. They always will, when he lets the memories flood over him. The Mayuris he couldn't save are reflected in her eyes and he gives a weak smile.

"It's nothing."

She stares up at him, not quite believing him, but then she turns away. "Okay." She moves the shopping bag in her left hand to her right as they walk forward once more. Without hesitation, she reaches down for his hand, gripping it tightly as they head to the grocery store. "Mayushii hasn't walked here before. Okarin, is this a short cut?"

Her hand is warm, even now. For once it doesn't grow cold as times passes. He's doing it again, he knows, worrying her. In every world line, without fail, he managed to do that. It's not something he can explain, the sight of her body breaking, the sound of her last breath.

He starts to laugh loudly, but the memory of her words and the feel of her falling hand still lingers strongly. "The Agency can't follow us here," he weakly explains, his hand gripping hers tightly.

She is alive here and for once, he is content to just walk beside her and listen to her talk.