Chapter 46

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            Fluttering movement drew Kallai’s gaze down, to Shuu’s face. Even as she watched, his eyelids opened, revealing his bloodshot blue eyes. Instantly she froze, one hand still on his forehead. He ignored her gaze in favour of looking up at the ceiling, his face still pale, his expression non-existent.

            She bit her lip, the pit of her stomach going cold. “Shuu?” she whispered. “Is there anything you want to do, or anywhere you’d like to go?” Just one look at his face had been enough to answer the question, are you alright?, every inch of him seeming to seep the feeling that he was dead inside.

            When he didn’t reply, only continued to stare straight up, she tried again. “There are some people who probably want to talk to you. Sevilen’s talking to them right now. We can go over there, if you want.”

            He shrugged slightly, a motion more felt by Kallai than seen. “I not do care,” he said, his voice sounding like the harsh caw of a crow, though no animal she’d ever heard had ever sounded so bleak, so completely finished with life. “It not as if matters it does. Everything gone is. Everything. Now what to me happens, I not do care.”

            Kallai’s hands slid down to cup either side of his face. She jerked it back so he was meeting her glaring eyes whose corners were slowly filling with tears. “You listen here,” she snapped, feeling her throat catch. “It might not matter to you, but it matters to me! So I don’t want to hear any of this about you giving up, about you not caring what happens to you. I won’t have it. I won’t!

            Without you… Without you I’d never have made it this far. I’d still be being harassed, I wouldn’t have an ounce of confidence, and I’d still be just enduring. But enduring isn’t living! You’re the one who taught me that. You’re one of the most important people in my life. And I’m not going to let you just not care! Not about yourself.”

            The tears that had been steadily gathering started to slip down her cheeks, leaving warm trails that ended with the drops splashing against her legs. Kallai ignored the prickly feeling, except to force the sobs that choked her lungs down. “I know you’re hurting, and I’d give anything and everything I have to make that stop for you. I wish I could do something to help you, but I know nothing I say or do can numb the pain, that only time can wear it away. But please, please don’t talk like you want to die. I couldn’t take it if you weren’t here. You’re the only friend I have.”

            Her voice broke on the word friend, the rest coming out in the first of the sobs. She tried to keep them down, but they had too much power, too much emotion behind them. She hiccupped as tears once again poured form her eyes, her nose going bright red as she continued to weep.

            For several seconds, all she did was cry, until a hand touched her face. She tried to blink away the continuing flood of tears, swiping them away enough that she could see Shuu’s face. He had two fingers touching her cheek, his face still mostly devoid of expression. He sighed as she looked down at him and shrugged. “Alright, Sparrow.”

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