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Death isn’t anything like Chie expects it to be.

First off, she doesn’t really have any viable experience with it. Her only firsthand account of it is when her pet fish died in grade school (Was it underfed or overfed? Chie’s never been able to figure it out). The rest of her ideas on death come from kung-fu movies, but those don’t really seem applicable, either. For one, the people who die in those movies generally die in some sort of explosion or by some Secret Technique that only the Hero knows, leaving them alive one second and dead the next, quick and, she imagines, painless.

It’s also only the bad guys who die in those movies, but she chooses not to think about that.

She wishes this would be quicker, but hey, this isn’t so bad. It stopped being painful a while ago, though she would have preferred to have avoided the pain all together. But that’s not what’s getting her now.

She knows she is going to die, but she has to wait, and what a long wait it is. Somehow the rest of her party is still fighting the shadow that took her out like this. Though it looks like they have made some strides against it, she still is watching them from what feels like a distance, and there’s nothing she can do to help.  

Chie has never been patient, always too determined and too ready to jump into whatever if it meant saving people because hey, that’s who she is-though, admittedly, it was probably this that dropped her into her current situation. Maybe they should have trained more, or taken a day off? Maybe she should have studied instead- exams were coming up again, after all, and man she’s gonna hear about it if she fails again and-

Well, it hardly matters now, she supposes.

Finally, somewhere beyond the ringing in her ears, the explosions and grunts and summons of battle have stopped, replaced by hurried footsteps and- she can’t make out the rest, it’s all running together.

Suddenly she’s being moved and- how long has it been since she’s moved? Hours? Chie decides it’s been hours- but she’s being lifted by a hand she’s held too often, while Yukiko’s other hand ghosts over her wounds before attempting to wipe away some of the violent sobs she had somehow restrained during the rest of the battle.

It’s weird, Chie thinks, because she’s being lifted, being held, but she doesn’t really feel anything. She knows it’s something that’s happening to her, but that’s it.

Chie’s body shakes now, but it’s not of her own doing, as Yukiko tries desperately to summon whatever energy her persona can still muster in a desperate attempt to heal her, a faint yellow glow emanating from Chie's wounds, and Yukiko’s still crying and quietly repeating her name, and, well, this is sad.

The new verdict from Chie is that death, and everything that comes with it, sucks.

They stay like that for a while- Yukiko trying to heal her, saying things that Chie probably couldn’t have made out even if she were still alive. And it hits her, like a roundhouse kick to her spirit, that this is how it ends, with Yukiko crying over her and her not being able to do a damn thing about it and wow, what a shitty ending this is.

She’s notices, barely, the blur of crimson smeared over part of Yukiko’s face, and she’s tries to make a comment that, hey, that’s one shade of red that doesn’t look good on you, but it comes out as a harsh coughing fit and burning in her throat and she doesn’t bother trying to say more.

On a dime, Yukiko’s sobs pause, and she looks Chie in the eye (she thinks? Her vision is still incredibly weak). There’s a sharp intake of breath,  and within three seconds Yukiko’s holding her tight, crying and shaking even more, but these sobs seems less violent and more teary and- wow, fuck that hurts and god, Yukiko can you lay off a little these are fresh stab wounds and-

 She can feel Yukiko, feel the burn where Yukiko is pressed against her injuries, feel the distinct wetness of tears as they soak into her uniform and, man, Chie’s never been so happy to be in such horrible pain.

She can feel the static heat of whatever Yukiko’s persona’s healing spell is- she’s always thought that healing spells felt a bit like a knit sweater- and her strength returns to her, slowly, and Yukiko is still crying.

“S-some kinda prince I am, huh?” Chie’s finally able to sputter out, punctuated with a small chuckle that dissolves into more coughing.

Chie’s still struggling to make out whatever words Yukiko is saying, but she does hear her giggle, quietly,  tentatively, and that’s all she needs to hear, really, all she’s ever wanted to hear, and now she’s crying and weakly laughing and finally able to somewhat lift her arms and hold Yukiko close. The two of them stay like that, holding one another and crying until Souji, who had been quietly watching off to the side, politely informs them that they’re still in the TV and this isn’t exactly the best place for this conversation, let’s call it a day.

It’s Yukiko who carries her back, though she’s exhausted, and it’s Yukiko who informs her that, for a few moments, she was very much dead.

Chie spends the next weeks recovering, both in body and spirit, and she spends the rest of her life sneaking ‘thank yous’ into her kisses.