Pleiades: Mayumi

Starry Sky, drabble, Nanami Haruka x Nanami Mayumi

Word count: 721

Warning(s): Canon character death, angst

The way he held her hand that day reminded her of their first date. It had been Christmas Eve, and he'd asked her to come with him into the town square so that he could take photos the glowing Christmas tree in the center, for a school project he had claimed. Once he'd fixed her with that bread-winning smile of his, there was already no chance that she'd be able to turn him down. That's how they'd gradually found themselves walking down the boardwalk with entwined hands as they watched the falling snowflakes as they drifted down towards the earth, pale little specks in the inky night sky. Gloves were too clumsy and made it difficult to handle his camera, so he'd left them at home. However, in that typical idiotic manner of his that she found so endearing and frustrating at the same time, he'd forgotten how cold it would be, so now the shaking of his hands made it impossible to take any decent photographs anyways, so he'd forgone photography for the night. Seeing how frigid his exposed flesh was, she'd taken pity on him, and decided to link hands with him, just to warm him up, she'd told herself.

His slim fingers had been laced between hers, a bit shy in the way they barely brushed her skin, almost as if he were afraid of making contact. The sentiment and intimacy behind the gesture, however, were as clear as it could be. After they had shared their first kiss on that night amidst the falling snow, she wouldn't be surprised in the least if someone had told her that this was the man that she would marry.

Many years after that night (but still not enough, nowhere near enough), he held her hand in exactly the same way, only his fingers were fragile and bone-thin, as though they could snap at a firmer touch. His hand was cold again, but for all the wrong reasons. His smile was fatigued and strained, no longer possessing the charm and persuasion it used to, but she didn't love it any less. As her husband reached over to hold hands with her from the sickbed where he lay wearing a hospital gown that matched her own, she didn't even know whether to laugh or cry.

Under normal circumstances, he wouldn't have been placed here in the maternity ward, but Mayumi worked at this hospital after all, and those had been far from normal circumstances. To this day, she only wishes that things could be different though she knows that she can't change these things that are out of her command. But the memory of the way a flash of concern would cross his face each time she suffered a contraction, the look of fear and helplessness that hung on his frail features whenever she gave a hiss of pain, it still breaks her heart.

Before she knew it, the nurses were rushing around her, pulling curtains, and she was being told to relax and just push. Loud noises and clattering sounded all around her until she couldn't tell which one of them the ruckus was about, as much as she tried. The birth had been fairly smooth and relatively painless process, as far as she can remember. Perhaps any pain that she felt during that time was numbed by the agony that came after. By the time the curtains had been pulled away and the nurses would allow her to see what had happened next to her, Haruka was gone.

Since then, she's tried her best, but she'd never been prepared to be a mother, really. Haruka had always been the parental, gentler one of the two of them. She knows that sometimes she's careless with her words, and accidentally hurts her son without realising it until hours, days, sometimes even years later. When she finds out that her child bears the same illness that took her husband away from her, she swears that she'll do all she can in her power to prevent the same fate from coming to Kanata, just as she knew her love would have her do.

Sometimes, what really breaks her is when she realises that, in the end, Haruka never did get to see their child. But she knows if he did, he'd be so proud.