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He heard the click of the trigger before he heard the gunshot; it was the instinct of a professional, maybe. It was too close, the man was too fast. He still doesn't know what could have happened, whether he could've ducked, or whether the bullet would've hit him. But then he heard Kaori's voice, screaming his name.


Normally, he loved to hear her voice, it made him feel alive. He loved it more when she said his name, it made him feel needed, wanted, like he was a part of something. A family. But at that moment he hated her, for coming after him when he had asked her to stay home. For leaving Aiko alone at home. For loving him, because he was destruction.

She threw herself in front of him, too fast, before he could do anything. It saved him, but the bullet hit her.

He didn't remember much after that, just a rush of everything. There was an ambulance, and there was so much blood. He begged her to stay alive, for him, for herself, for their daughter. She only raised a blood-smeared hand to his face, and smiled.

She had smiled. He still doesn't know whether she was forgiving him, or asking for his forgiveness.

And then, she died. In his arms.


Ryo likes to think she died happy, because she died with a smile on her face.

Looking down at the two graves, the two people who had loved him, who had believed in him, he couldn't help but think that he'd failed them. Today, they were both dead, because of him. Or rather, they had died trying to save him. Which was worse. They had died so that he could stay alive.

She had saved him. He wishes she hadn't. For what's the use of living like this, an endless empty wait for death?

Kaori had been so full of everything, when she was happy, her happiness spread to everyone around her. When she was angry, her anger burnt the room. When she was sad, her sorrow overflowed in tears.
Kaori had been many things, but she had never been empty .

Kaori would forgive him, she always did. Knowing what he was, she had still loved him. He just wished he could forgive himself.

Death must wait, for she had left him with a charge. Her daughter. Their daughter. She had given him his only reason to live. The coincidence struck him, sometimes. Makimura had died, leaving him to take care of Kaori. Kaori had died, leaving him with Aiko. The people he loved died, leaving him in guardianship of someone they had loved in their lives.

He looks at his daughter. She looks exactly like him, black hair, dark skin. He is afraid to become too attached, because he wouldn't be able to bear it if she left him too.