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rumors of my death have been greatly exxaggerated

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The beast had finally been exorcised. It had taken Mob and him to get rid of the agamamation of phantoms. It had been more than a shock to see so many small spirits flock together as they tried to cleanse the old battlesite and form into one humoungus beast. 

 

It had swatted away Reigen like a fly and sent him crashing into the stone pillar of rememberance. The impacting crack still echoed in his ears. Serizawa groaned and opened his eyes again. It had taken quite a lot of him to not only keep the site from being completly destroyed in Mobs rage and the spirits assaut, but also exorcise the spirit completly. Mob had done a great job at that though. 

 

Now he looked around at the calamity and was glad none of the actual memorials were severly damaged. The spirits attacks has simply fazed through them and for that Serizawa was slightly glad. Maybe in the afterlife they had lost their way and strayed but in life they had been young people trying to fight a war and make their country proud, make their families proud. All they had wanted once the battle started was to survive. In some way they did. Their burning desire to make it out of there, to see it to the other side had prevailed even death. Serizawa admired them for their strength but was glad that he had helped in finally letting the soldiers find their rest. They more than deserved it.

 

Their echoing of their last battle had left everything else in ruins though. The trees around them had come crashing down, there were huge slash marks across the ground big dark maws split open in some places, looking as if they could devour an entire house whole.Tourist informations building had been all but de-cemented and was lying in broken piece all acorss the place. It looked once again like a battlefield. The algamamation had raged and bit and thrown and slashed and screamed at anything that dared to even move and at anything that didn´t even do that. They were incredibly lucky for their barriers. Without them they would have met their certain doom and most likely joined the soldiers still fighting a battle long lost.

 

Serizawa groaned again when he sat up and realized his arm was most certainly broken. They all had been attacked brutally by the beast and he was glad all of them made it out alive. There was so much destruction around them and the dust was just beginning to settle. Wait, where were the other two? Had they made it out alive? The sun was beginning to rise, their fight had lasted that long. When they´d gotten there it had been a few hours until dawn. Serizawa surpressed his pained grunts and ground his teeth as he got up. He was sore all over and he could feel cuts rip open again. 

 

"Mob? Reigen?", he called out, cupping his mouth with his uninjured hand. His voice echoed across the plain. Silence followed and panic was settling in. Had they made it? Where they alright? They had grossly underestimated the strength of this spirit and had come underprepared because of it. What if that had cost them their lives? What if Serizawa would be all alone again? He tried to keep his breathing steady as he stumbled forward, his eyes desperatly roving over the scene before him. He spun in place trying to see a glimpse of blonde hair and that dark schooluniform. He was about to cry out again when something to the left of him moved. 

 

Debris moved out of the way and revealed a diminishing shield. Mobs small form slowly got up and Serizawa ran towards him, ignoring his body crying out in pain. Once the boy had noticed him too he made his way carefully over to him. The two of them hugged, relieved to find the other alive and well. Mob immediantly noticed how he held his arm out of reach. "Are you hurt at all? Are you okay?", he asked, his voice raspy and shaky. His relief turned into concern when Serizawa frowned. "Relativly, yeah. My arm is probably broken, but aside from that I am fine. The more important question is are you alright?", he asked in return. Mob nodded with a tired but small smile.

 

A few seconds of silence passed as they took in their surroundings together. "Where is master?", asked Mob suddenly. The panic that had washed away once he had set eyes on Mob returned tenfold. Reigen! Where was he? Was he alright? How could he have forgotten to look for him? Fear gripped his heart and held it tight, vines gripped his lungs in a firm hold and Serizawa felt a layer of sweat build up on the back of his neck. "I don´t....I don´d know", he breathed and started looking once again.

 

"Reigen! Reigen where are you!?", Serizawa shouted and started to frantically look around. Mob was starting to shake a little and began walking towards bigger pieces of debris from the house. The both of them started spreading across the field, looking and calling out to their boss and friend as loud as they could. Minutes passed and nothing. Then the first hour and then the second.

 

Mobs eyes were watery when they met at the memorial once and Serizawa could barely breathe, could barely think. Reigen was dead. He was dead and buried somewhere underneath a tree or a rock or in one of the yawning openings in the ground. Pictures of his dearest person broken body, bloody and battered flooded Serizawas mind and his throat closed up. He had been alive after the impact against the pillar, but had something inside him broken beyond repair? Had he bled out silently, trying to get their attention, while they had fought his killer? Had he called for them? Had he been in a lot of pain. 

 

"Master must be somewhere here. He has to be", Mob insisted and shook his head. His usual indifferent face was scrunched up in barey contained grief. They both had seen how the monster had launched him across the field into that solid pillar of pure stone. They both had heard that crack. They both had seen how he had been barely able to keep his eyes open as they had shifted the battle and errected a barrier around them. Was that really the last time they had seen Reigen alive? There had been barely any blood, but Reigen had been so, *so* pale. He had tried to stand Serizawa could remeber but where had that been. It seemed like so long ago. 

 

"The spirit only got him twice and master is strong. I have faith in him, he has to be here", Mob kept insisting and rubbed at his eyes. It was no use. The boys sobs pierced Serizawas eardrums and his heart finally broke. Reigen was strong. He really was, but he was only human. Not only had the spirit hit him once but twice. Where he had landed the second time neither of them knew. They had gotten seperated trying to dodge attacks and somehow Reigen must have gotten out of the safe zone. 

 

"Mob, I don´t-" 

 

"HE ISN´T DEAD! HE CAN´T BE!"

 

Mobs eyes started to glow dimmly white and his skin darkened. Wind picked up around the both of them and Serizawa just hugged him tighter. He didn´t want it to be true. He wished that somehow Reigen would be aright. That they would find him, get all of them to a hospital and then go eat ramen at their usual place. The chance of that were so diminishigly low. Reigen was so impressivly human. He was kind and cunning, he was wise but incredibly stupid at the same time and he cared so much while trying to make his efforts seem meaningless. He was wonderful and Serizawa loved him so much. So, so much and god he´d never get the chance to tell him that.

 

Serizawa sobbed into Mobs hair and started to rub his back with his unbroken arm. "I don´t want him to be, believe me", he murmed back as Mob gripped his jacket tightly. "He can´t be", Mob held onto his broken determination, "We need him." They really did. Reigen had made him the man he was now, had shown him how to live and not just survive, how to not be scared and he had taught Mob how to believe in himself. The kid had grown so much and without Reigen he had most certainly ended just like Serizawa had. He had been the glue holding their life together. What would they do now? They couldn´t give up just yet! They hadn´t even found his body - No! No...they hadn´t found Reigen yet. 

 

How could anyone survive an direct attack from that beast with nothing but their wit though?

 

No one.


Not even Reigen.

 

Serizawa wept and crumpled and held onto Mob as tightly as he could as the both of them shook apart. Not even Mobs denial would fix this. There was no fixing this. No one could have survived that and they both knew it. It was stupid to get their hopes up and try to fight the sinking realization that they would never see Reigen alive again, because they would lose. Just like the soldiers did. Serizawa wondered between his hitching breath and loud grief strucken cries if those soldiers felt the same sense of dread of knowing that the end was steadily approaching and that they could do nothing about it? Wether they wanted to just turn and run but knew with this terrible sense of finality that no matter what they did it would change nothing

 

Mob screamed and dragged Serizawa down to the ground with him as he collapsed. With a thud they hit the ground and Mob curled up into himself. All Serizawa could do then was to just hold Mob as he screamed and cried and begged for his mentor and best friend to just come back. Serizawa tried his best to be the adult in the situation, to put his grief aside and make sure the kid was alright, but how could he when he was drowning. He couldn´t bear to even imagine a world without Reigen in it. How could that even work? How could he even work without the very thing that held him together?

 

"What are you two crying about?"

 

Their heads whipped around towards the source of the sound so fast they almost gave themselves whiplash. 

 

There he stood. Reigen Arataka in all his bruised and bloddied glory. The sun went up behind him and Serizawa swore he looked like an angel as he stood atop a broken chunk of cement. Gracefully and smoothly he hopped down onto the ground on their level. Mob ripped himself away from Serizawa and came barreling towards Reigen, screaming his name in relief. He pressed himself against him and buried his head in his chest as Serizawa started to get up as well. 

 

With a content sigh Reigen hugged Mob back and leaned his head on the younger boys. For a few seconds this picture looked like the definition of peacefulness. The sun behind them made Reigen´s hair glow golden like a halo softend all edges. Mob was tinted in yellow golden light, finally looking his age for once. Serizawa couldn´t help but smile at the scene unfolding before him. He wished he had something with him so that he could capture this moment and keep it forever, pristine and safe. 

 

Relief made his heart soar and he thought he would burst out of happiness. The darkness, grief and helplessness from hefore was once again chased away by the man he loved most. Everyone was safe. Everyone was alright. Reigen was alright, he was right here and he was holding Mob, because he was safe too. They were okay. It would all be okay. The memorialsite may be slightly laid in ruins and wrecked only a bit, but that all faded into the background. He was just so glad that they were all there. He wanted nothing more than to join the embrace, forget the worst few moments of his life and return home.

 

Reigens eyes blinked open and the smile slowly faded from his face. A sick sense of dread pulled at his stomach, making him feel like he was free falling once again and Serizawa stopped dead in his tracks. They locked eyes. Reigens expression shifted from relieved and grateful to sorrowful, guilty and..apologetic. Serizawa swallowed around the lump in his throat. Serizawa felt hot pressure against the back of his eyes and his heart clenched so tight he wanted to scream. Reigen shook his head slowly. That one small movement was all it took. It felt dooming. It felt like his world was ending. It might as well was.

 

The sun was shining brightly, framing the two desperate figures clinging to eachother, as they reunited in front of his eyes.

 

 

 

There was only one shadow.