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stop it.

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shintaro sat up in bed, having been just staring at the ceiling for hours. he hadn't slept in god knows how long, and he hasn't heard from her in hours. all he does is sit here and wait. and sit. and wait. and wait.

what for ? he .. can't be sure.

there's something he's waiting for and he knows it. maybe it's for someone to check on him. to make him eat something. to make him sleep, even if only for 20 minutes. to care for him. maybe it's for .. her. maybe it's for that virus to disappear.

who really knows. all he knows is he was waiting.

he was done for now, though, and as he got up, he heard her making an appearance finally.

" you're up ! "

ene's shrill voice cut through the air, not even coming close to slicing in half the deafening silence. this silence would always be so much sharper than her voice, and both of them knew that.

" unfortunately. "

although normally cheery, the cyber girl paused, staring at shintaro. he seemed so tired. he had dropped several pounds in the past few days, and his movements were sluggish. everything about him .. it really just emphasized that he had become a husk of who he was before. he had succumbed to the pain. to the depression.

" master .. "

" don't. "

the glare that came from him clearly took effort just to shoot her way, but it was still present and still made her furrow her brows.

" you look like you're dying, and you want me to stay silent ? jesus, master ! " she threw her arms down, only further furrowing her brows. " do you not know what self worth is ? "

he had looked away for a moment, but when she said that, he threw her a look that gave her his answer. she went silent for a moment after that, seeming bewildered.

how could he care so little for his own life ? of course, she had witnessed multiple moments where it was clear he couldn't care for his own life any less than he already did, but it would never be something she could just .. accept and be used to.

as ene stared at him, she was reminded of the other times. three other times he had tried to take his own life where she could only sit and watch and try to stop him with her words.

there was the first, where shintaro had tried to hang himself. she had tried everything in her power to get him to move the noose away from his neck, but he refused, so she did the only thing she could think of. she blasted music, and it led to momo coming in only moments later. his sister had screamed when she saw him, but ene begged her to get him down. told her he had only just stepped off the chair. and that's what momo did. in moments, the noose was no longer around shintaro's neck, as he was passed out on the floor in momo's arms. his poor sister spent a long time sobbing over him both before, during, and after the hospital visit.

then came the second, where he had jumped out the window. it was a miracle he survived, really. he had just been on his computer, and ene turned away for one second. when she looked back, he was opening the nearest window. she was quick to turn the volume up and scream as loud as she could, and it startled shintaro, leading to him jumping and nearly stumbling out of the window. his mother had come in upon hearing the scream, though, and had rushed forward just in time to grab her son's hand before he was entirely out of the window. his left leg had been fractured upon hitting the building, but he survived.

the third came at an even more unanticipated time. nothing had seemed to be wrong, so ene let her guard down. she had been so wrong in assuming nothing would go wrong, though, as she had watched shintaro pull out a blade and raise it to his skin. she was quick to blast whatever she could think of as she watched him cut his own skin open. he had passed out right as his mother ran in yet again, screaming her heart out as she ran to him. when he eventually was released from the hospital, there was a bandage on his left arm.

" you know this will kill you, right ? "

" of course i do. " he was staring into the distance, eyes half lidded in a way that amplified how tired he looked. " not gonna stop me a fourth time, are you ? "

ene scoffed, giving him a look. " of course i am. i'm not letting you die just to get to be with her. "

his head whipped towards her, a glare on his face. " don't. "

she immediately went silent, knowing she was a touchy subject, especially when he was like this.

shintaro looked forward again, silent for a moment. he missed her. missed the way she smiled and laugh. missed how he would have to tutor her. missed how carefree she always seemed. he missed everything about her. everything

so he finally moved, stepping towards his desk. he opened up a drawer, and ene immediately knew which one it was. she watched him pull out a pair of red-handled scissors in terror.

" master, no ! "

he turned towards her with a glare so threatening she feared it might wipe her from existence.

" would you shut up ? for once, don't fucking stop me ! this is what i'm meant to do ! " he made his way towards the computer, glare never faltering. " i'm nothing without her here and you know this ! i was never anything before, but she at least gave me purpose. i've always been a worthless sack of shit, and that was just made worse without her. " he went silent for a moment. " of course, i screwed that up, so it's not like i'd even see her in the afterlife. that doesn't make me want this any less, though. "

" master .. "

" stop. i've never done anything useful in my life, anyways, so don't. there's no use keeping a useless person like me in this world. " he had looked down at his desk, but looked up at ene again.

she looked a mix between shocked and horrified, almost like she couldn't choose.

" now. " any signs of a glare that had disappeared were back now as he spoke once more. " are you still going to stop me ? "

it took her a moment before she nodded. " of course i am. i already told you, i'm not letting you die. "

" god ! " his hands were up and reaching for the screen in seconds, and before he knew it, it was like he was in a different dimension. his hands were really wrapped around her neck, and he kept squeezing and squeezing before he realized what was happening. " stop getting in my damn way ! i hate you ! "

suddenly, she shattered like glass. he stumbled away and back into the real world, but she was gone. just ... gone. there were no signs of her, and he backed away in panic.

he didn't mean to do that. he didn't mean to kill her. that wasn't his intention. he just .. he just wanted to shut her up. but he didn't want to kill her !

oh god oh god oh god.

his hands were over his mouth and he had stumbled back by his bed. he couldn't believe himself. what had he done ?

that piled on another reason to go through with this, so he rushed to grab the scissors. he then backed up until he fell down onto the bed, holding them level with his neck. he only stared ahead of him as he brought them down.

as he felt the pain bursting in his neck, he fell backwards. he pulled the scissors out and away, them falling by his side.

he was finally dead.



shintaro woke with a scream, hands immediately on his neck. it took him a moment to realize he was crying, but it took him even longer to register the arms wrapped around him.

" shintaro. "

the call of his name brought him back, and he looked over at the girl holding him. ayano gave him a worried look, and upon seeing her face, he completely broke down.

that's right. she was alive and well. so was ene. well .. he could call her takane once again now. he was alive, too. everything was over. 

he turned his body slightly and clung to her, sobs racking his body. she held him just as tightly, being able to figure out what the nightmare was both because he used his ability to show her and because of his hands on his neck.

she would stay with him like this as long as he needed her to, though. she knew how tough recovering had been, so she wouldn't just leave him alone.

she didn't plan to leave him alone ever again.