They say when you die your life flashes before your eyes. So it was when you died. First came the pain, the unbelievable spike of agony rushing through your body as slick, wet crimson colored your hands and your clothes. Then came the fear, the fumbling of your hands to pull out your phone. Kusanagi had to know, had to tell Anna that you'd be unable to wish her a happy birthday (the thought was just as painful as the bullet tearing through you). Kusanagi's voice washes over you from the phone, he's telling you to hang in there
and you're telling him that you'll try. Third came the beauty of the stars twinkling above you, eyesight blurring with tears. They scald down your cheeks, but you don't try to stop them. You're worried that Mikoto will be mad. It's all you worry about, as you tell Kusanagi on the phone that the sky is beautiful- even on a day such as this. Fourth, they come. Yata at your side, his arms around you and his tears dripping down upon your cheeks. You tell them about the Colorless King, the man that murdered you. Well, you try to. It's gotten hard to speak, to think about anything really.
So you apologize.
It's the second before you die that you remember everything, that it comes filtering in at the speed of sound. Abandoned by your parents in the park and taken in by a couple is the first thing to remember. It comes in waves, this memory. It's as though you're looking at it all from an outsider's perspective, as the judge on your own judgement day. It doesn't hurt as much as you thought it would, to watch as your nameless, faceless parents deposit you in the park with the soft nightly breeze ruffling through the folds of your small clothes. For a brief moment, in this tide of memories that were lost to the swell of time and growing up, you wish you could see their faces. The faces of your biological parents. You wonder who you look like more, your mother or your father. You wonder if you have his nose and her eyes but they are nothing but blurs even this recollection cannot give you clarity to.
You see your adoptive parents stop, you see your mother hurriedly scoop you into her arms and you see her mouth moving as she speaks to her husband. You see yourself snuggle into her arms, your wide hazel eyes staring up and maybe past her to this you: the one watching your life frame by frame. The movie of your time on this earth. You want to stay here for as long as you can, basking in the warmth of her memory. It's gone too soon, just as it was when you truly knew her. You loved her when she was there, she was warm and happy and her smile lit up your day like no other. Only a year. You spent only a year in her embrace until she left, her departure an eruption of anger and loud voices that left you in tears. By the time you'd stopped crying, she was gone leave you and your father and his gambling addiction behind to rot. Rot in the sins of his own making, the ones he gives to you as the money flies out the window, bill by bill, debt by debt.
He calls you cold-hearted, your father, watches as you drop and drop and drop everything that once interested you. Distanced, different. That's what they said you were. Really, you were just searching for something, anything that would hold your interest long enough to bring you some reason. The plants stayed the longest, it was for survival at that point with you and your father so dirt poor that they filled your belly when a regular home cooked meal couldn't. Or wouldn't. Negativity becomes your playground, your heart quickly numbing and desensitizing from it even as school rounded the corner and you went. You shouldered your backpack, your books, your studies, your fears and the wall around your heart. It wasn't a purposeful wall and it didn't protect you from friendships, those you welcomed and fed off of. Ate up the smiles around you because you knew the darkness of your home would be void of them.
Mikoto Suoh is the one subject that does not fade. He is your red fire in the nights where the cold leaches into your bones and you have naught but a ratty blanket to hold against your chest for warm, the rough mittens on your fingers scratching at your nose. You admire him, you admire the crown of gold atop his head and the heavy title that comes with his name. So begins, the following, your footsteps in the prints left by his. They were much too big and you were much too small but that didn't stop you for a second. You pranced after, and for once there was a sunlit sky above you instead of the dreary rainy days and the plattering of the drops against the roof, collecting at your feet and soaking into your socks.
Don't worry! It becomes your slogan to the king. You don't know if he ever believes you or if he ever stops worrying - if he did to begin with, but you keep saying it. You say when he comes to your bedside after the fight that landed you in the hospital. It had been a short thing, considering you were naught but skin, bones and a smile big enough for you, the king and Kusanagi Izumo. It was hardly a fight, more along the lines of you being beaten up in the street, broken bones and bloody nose in all. It hurt, everything hurt and yet the smile remained and you promised that one day you would be a part of the Red King's clan, that someday you'd follow him like you had always wanted to. You don't know where the thought was born from, maybe it was in the schoolyard when he was tall and quiet and strong. Everything that you had wanted to be, everything that you knew you couldn't be. Maybe you could find it in him.
You keep your promise to become his vassal and it ends too soon.
The world is encased in red and all you can feel is the guilt, the regret as the lights flicker and dance in your vision. You've gone on adventures with your clan. With Misaki and Fushimi. You saw the latter join, falter and eventually leave. You tried to learn to skateboard, but was never any good at it. You can still remember falling and their laughter, the floating sound that corrupted the bar and made it more of a home than it had ever been before. You remember launching into the seat and begging Kusanagi for drink even before you should have been allowed such a thing. You remember it with tears of laughter in your eyes and you remember the songs you wrote, the friends you made. The one you sang because of them, with your back against the counter and Anna nestled beside you.
Oh, Anna. It's a fleeting thought, a strong one despite it's smoky quality. You still feel bad for missing her birthday, for being unable to be there. You remember the pictures and you hope your family can hang them somewhere to remember all the good times they all had together. You hope that Anna will look at them and remember that you loved her most of all. Your little sister. You hope that Misaki will look at them and smile, laugh about the time you fell off the skateboard and skinned your knee.
"Don't worry!" you say one last time and the memories cease, your eyes peering into Misaki's just long enough to see the tears form before the darkness closes in. You were smiling when you died.