"What would you do?"
The voice shook Clover from her thoughts. It was Quark. He had been there for a while now, wandering around the room, rambling. Clover hadn't really noticed.
"Whatcha mean?" She blinked at him.
Quark shrugged and adjusted his hat. It was kind of a stupid hat, though Clover would never say that to him. If she really was stuck with these people for the rest of her life, she didn't exactly want to be on bad terms. But it was still a dumb hat.
"Weren't you listening?" Quark didn't give Clover time to do anything other than open her mouth to speak then close it as he pushed on. "If you could start your life over? And you could do anything different, what would you do?" Quark sat down next to Clover.
"What would you do?" Clover said.
Quark just shrugged. "I dunno. Grandpa sometimes says he wishes he could go back and change things and I was wondering."
Clover would change a lot of things if given the chance.
The first thought in her mind is the one that's been lingering since she found out she's been in a cold sleep.
She knows what she'd change; the fact she had no say in whether she was shipped to the moon, leaving her brother to roam the world.
If she was given a chance like Quark says, given a time machine to correct her mistakes; she'd choose never to set foot in a Cradle Pharmaceutical hospital.
That's where it began. That's where her life went downhill.
Thrown into that horrid project, left in a strange building with strange children to test a strange theory. Being told that her brother was in danger and it was up to her to save him. That's where everything went wrong.
Then, nine years later, another one. That wasn't so bad, at least Light was with her. For part of it. There was the time he was no where to be found that made Clover's heart sink, made her head feel empty like she was floating along. They had found him though and it had been alright, everything went back to normal.
For the most part.
There was the whole thing with Alice and SOIS. Light was always there though, there for her through everything she could imagine. It didn't matter what she went through because Light was always, without fail, there for her.
Not now though.
Now, Clover was on the goddamn moon with Alice, Junpei and Akane. And strangers. Like the kid next to her. It wasn't right. Junpei and Akane had been so young when she last saw them a year- no, 45 years since she had seen them. She was still nineteen though. It didn't make sense. Though, when it came to Akane and Junpei, she found nothing ever tended to make sense.
Who knows what Light had done. 45 years waiting for Clover to come back. 45 years trying to survive the outbreak. Had he even survived? Clover wanted him to. Even if that caused him pain to stay alive it's the world dying around him, Clover wanted it so that when she came back she'd still have him.
She was going back. She had too. For her Mum and for Light. She wanted to hear Light play the harp again, gentle and lovely like there was nothing wrong. She wanted to hear his voice again, hear him laugh, see his hair tickle his face, God, anything so long as she had her brother back.
Maybe he had found someone else. A replacement, someone he had found and stayed with, despite the odds.
Maybe he'd fallen in love.
And Clover wasn't there to see it.
What if he'd found those people from that second nonary game, Hazuki, Aoi, and... she never had learnt Seven's name. She might never now. What if they'd banded together, a last ditch attempt at survival? Has they seen each other die? What about Hazuki's children? Nona and Ennea, were they okay? Clover had become friends with Ennea while they were in that building. Well, they had shared some smiles and they hadn't argued, which was good enough for Clover.
What if, what if, what if. Maybe, maybe, maybe. All of these thoughts, all the things she could do differently, the life she could've had but didn't. If she had her time again.
"So? What would you do?" Quark's voice broke her from her thoughts once again. She smiled at the boy, and shifted in her seat.
"Well," she began. She looked down at her hands, clenched over her near bare legs. "I think I would've worn warmer clothes," she said, trying to blink away the tears in her eyes and swallow the lump in her throat.
Quark smiled softly. He took off his hat. Clover had considered it was glued to him at one point. She watched in curiosity as he popped open a compartment, revealing a hoard of sweets. He handed a strawberry one to her.
"It matches your hair," he stated as he pressed it into Clover's palm. "And you don't have to lie," he added in a whisper.
Clover didn't look at him. She twisted the wrapper off. "What?"
"You're nearly as bad at lying as Grandpa," Quark said. He put his hat back on. "You'd change a lot of things, wouldn't you?"
It wasn't really a question. You could see in his eyes Quark knew the answer. He was just making sure he was undeniably right.
Clover shrugged and shoved the sweet into her mouth. Then she nodded.
"I wouldn't have blown up at Grandpa." Quark tucked his legs up as he spoke. "Scared me when he was in hospital, and it was my fault."
Clover frowned. "You blew up at Tenmyouji? When?" Her voice was only a little difficult to understand with the sweet in her mouth.
"When I was little, I ran away after shouting at him... when I found him he was lying down in the cold and the rain. He'd been looking all night and I couldn't even hear him. He got a fever from it. Grandpa almost died," he said. They both took a breath at the same time.
"But he's okay now, so everything is alright." Quark said with an air of finality surrounding it.
"I know what I wouldn't change," Clover said, a voice so small she was surprised she heard it, much less Quark.
He was sweet. Sweeter than he needed to be for this hellish scenario he was in. On the moon with a group of strangers, Quark didn't have any reason to be even remotely pleasant. But he was. That's what Clover liked about him. He listened and he thought about what was said. Perhaps he reminded her of Light. She didn't really know.
"I wouldn't change meeting you."