Um. I've been needing to write this fic since last week to get some stuff off my chest, mostly about my grandmother and stuff. So, essentially, this is me venting to you all in my favorite medium.

This is sort of a companion piece/follow-up to In Memoriam but is more specific to my favorite pairing than In Memoriam was.

Angst.

Not mine. Please don't sue.

The End... by Lys ap Adin

I can't believe it's over. How did the years go by so swiftly? In the beginning, those first few wobbly days after the war ended, it seemed to us that we would have forever...

Forever only lasted for a few decades.

He's gone now, and has been for a few months now. At first, I thought that I would die too, and not have to bear the emptiness of my life alone. I was wrong... My friends stayed with me, subtly preventing me from taking my own life, and I lived.

If it can be called *living*. In my mind, the only thing that ever brought me to life was his presence, and it's always been like that, since the first time we met until the last time we said goodbye...

He believed in an afterlife, and knew that somehow we'd be together again... his faith sustained him until the very end, letting him smile at me through the haze of pain, letting him worry about my condition instead of his own. I wish I could have that kind of faith... but even if he was right, and death isn't the end of everything, what right would *we* have to be happy afterwards?

Is such grace really possible?

So I move through the routines of living, rising, eating, and sleeping alone, trying to step around the void in my life without tripping too much. I guess I'm a survivor, and always have been, even in my most self-destructive moments. That's the only way I can explain how I find the will each morning to get out of bed.

Not that it's easy, mind you. I'm old, and getting older. Age has stiffened my joints, and my hands tremble against my will. I can only barely remember what it was like to move at a pace faster than a shuffle. My hearing is practically gone and I have to wear thick glasses to read.

I can only be thankful that my mind didn't go.

As if I don't live inside my memories anyway.

I miss you so much... why did you have to leave me? Never in my life did I think I would be the one to live longer. I don't know what to do without you. I'm lost...

Sometimes, my memories of you are so strong that I can almost see you standing next to me and hear you as you converse idly with me about the commonplace rituals that fill my time these days. It's strange, really, that my memories of you have only grown stronger since you left... Every day my image of you grows more substantial, and I see you as you were in your prime--strong, tall, brimming with vital energy, and so beautiful that it makes my heart ache.

Perhaps my mind is going after all. Somehow the prospect doesn't bother me too much...

Lately you talk to me less, and just watch me, with an expression of waiting on your face... I'd ask you what you were thinking, but I recognize the mood. You're feeling cryptic, and won't tell me anything even if I plead with you to explain.

That's okay, you'll tell me eventually, I know.

I worry the others a little when they come to visit. I mention you to them, and they just look at each other. Not long ago, a nice young nurse started paying me visits every few days. I really rather appreciate the gesture; it's getting progressively more difficult for me to handle basic tasks on my own...

You watch me all the time now, wordless. I fill up the silence myself, talking more than any other time in my life. It's funny how our roles seem to have reversed. It used to be that I was the one that watched you while you talked. There's a certain humor there that I appreciate.

I do still wonder what you're waiting for. Don't you have better things to do than watch a lonely old man shuffle through the remnants of his days?

Surprisingly, you respond to this, a grin spreading across your face. "Baka. I *told* you I'd be waiting for you." You reach out and take my hand into yours, and I realize that I feel lighter and freer than air.

I feel young again... and your palm is firm and warm against mine, unusually substantial for an old man's daydream. I simply look at you, waiting for the explanation that you owe me.

You smile, and pull me to you, wrapping your arms around me... it feels like coming home. "Death isn't the end," you tell me, "except of the beginning."

And I laugh as I finally understand.

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~~Owari~~

For my grandfather.