Title: Steady Flame
Word Count: 960
Warning: Um, vague spoilers for most of the series.
Timeline: Post episode 50
Disclaimer: I own nothing and am making no money off this, please don’t sue me, thank you kindly.
A/N: A sequel to Slow Burn. All characterisations based on the anime.
I have always loved you, Saya.
She wakes with a gasp, his voice in her ears and his name on her lips.
Her heart thuds wildly in her chest, and her gaze searches for him before she can help herself; his calm voice and gentle fingers on her forehead had always helped dispel her nightmares, but he isn’t here now.
It has been two weeks, and she has begun to lose hope.
He is strong, of course, and she had doubted him once before—that time he had fought Solomon at the Zoo—only to find her fears unfounded, but the longer he stays away, the more difficult it is to silence that little voice in her head that tells her that this time, he is truly gone.
Even Chevaliers can’t survive having a building fall down on them, that hated voice sneers. Or you would have heard from Amshel by now, wouldn’t you?
She raises a hand to her forehead, clutching it hard, hoping that the pain will stave off the horrifying thought that perhaps it was true, and Haji really was dea—
She whips the covers back and stands from the bed, swaying a little with the sudden movement. She has been careful to hide her weakness from the others, but here she is alone and her mask can slip a little.
She moves to the cello case that sits in a corner of her room, her only reminder of him. It was fortunate that she had this much, really, it was only because he had left it at Red Shield headquarters that last night that it had survived the final fight with Diva and Amshel.
She opens it reverently now, her fingertips lingering on the cool metal of the cover before snapping the locks open. She gently thrums a string on the cello, picking up the bow and holding it close for a moment. If she closes her eyes tight enough, she can almost hear him playing it now, his song, their song—
It’s Kai’s voice, and her eyes snap open before closing again in defeat. Of all people, she has sought to hide any weakness from him, this last remaining member of her family. He has lost both their father and their brother to this war she had started, she wonders if he will be strong enough to let her go, as well.
‘Hey, Kai. What are you doing up so late?’
She had tried for a happy, bright tone, but it’s wrong; her voice is cracking around the edges and showing the strain underneath, and she clamps her lips shut before she can give away any more.
Kai hovers over kneeling form, and she can hear the concern in his voice, so she keeps her head bent over the bow in her hands, because if she meets his gaze he’ll see the tears in her eyes.
‘It’s just—he should have come back to me by now,’ she says softly, unable to hold it in any more. ‘I keep telling myself that he’s fine, but…he should have come back by now. And I’m just so afraid because he’s never made me wait like this, never, and if he’s not come so far, maybe he really is—’
Her voice breaks before she can get to the last word, and Kai gets down on his knees next to her, holding her tight as she gasps and shudders and tries to hold her sobs in. And she doesn’t tell him the worst thing, the thing that causes her stomach to churn with self loathing.
Because the awful truth is that Joel, Miyagusku George—Dad—and even Riku are all people she has somehow learned to live without. But Haji has been with her since the very beginning, always just there, and now that she has finally understood exactly what he means to her, he’s gone, and she doesn’t think she can learn to live with this hole by her side where he used to be.
Because now she knows that she loves him, that she has loved him for years, she has loved him forever, and he might have gone to his grave without ever hearing her say those words to him—
Kai’s voice is a gentle murmur in her ears, his arms hold her tightly to him, and she cannot stop the tears from making their way down her face any more.
‘Kai, I never told him—I never—’
‘He knew,’ Kai says softly, pulling away to give her a small, sad smile. ‘Haji knew you loved him. It was obvious to anyone who saw the two of you together.’
‘Do you really think so?’
‘I’m sure of it.’
Kai nods, but his eyes are so sad, and he looks almost pained for a moment—but then it’s gone before she can be sure of what she has just seen.
‘Come on,’ he says finally, getting to his feet and helping her up as well. ‘You have school tomorrow. You’re going to fall asleep in class if you don’t get some rest now.’
She nods, watching as he turns to leave the room, smiling weakly at him when he closes the door behind him. Her senses may have grown weaker with her long sleep approaching, but her ears are still good, and it is only when she hears him close the door of his own room that she turns to the cello case again.
She presses the bow to her lips for a long moment, wishing, wishing—
I have always loved you, Saya.
‘I love you, too, Haji,’ she says fervently, placing the bow back in the case and drawing the lid gently shut. ‘I will always love you.’
A/N: Heh. This was supposed to be a reunion fic sequel but then it mysteriously turned into a three-parter. *shrugs*
ETA: The sequel (and last part) 'Flashpoint' is here.
Many thanks for reading, all comment and concrit is welcome. =)