Ella

“Listen,” he murmured softly. “I want to thank you.”

“There is nothing,” the younger man replied. “It is what we are meant to do.”

“This is… wonderful.”

They sat for a while in a soft silence, feet dangling over the edges of the rocks, gazing out at the rocking sea. The waning crescent moon hovered high above in the misty, slightly overcast sky. The air was crisp, the view was beautiful, and the younger man was content. And Haku was dying.

It was in their custom to ensure that a dying person’s desired last sight was met. If that could not be achieved, any universally beautiful scene would suffice.

“Listen,” Haku said slowly. “Is there anyone… anyone you want me to see?”

The younger man thought about it. “Will you visit my sister?”

He nodded. “I will visit your sister.”

“I don’t get to see her so often now…”

“Is there anyone else?”

“Make sure you go see Ella.”

Haku did not reply.

“Go see Ella,” the younger man maintained. “She’s probably lonely. It’s… the least you could do.”

“… I will see her.”

At this slightly reluctant agreement, the younger man relaxed. He turned his face toward the sea and sighed. Haku lay more heavily against his shoulder, and he wrapped an arm around the man to better hold him up.

“Does it hurt?” he asked.

“No… it does not hurt.”

He could not tell if that was true or not, but he accepted the words regardless. Even people who are on the brink of death can have valid reasons to lie.

“Do you think…” Haku began. He shut his mouth and closed his eyes for a moment. “Do you think Ella died like this?”

“I suppose so. I can’t imagine anything else.”

“She was staring at the sea… like this?”

“I’m sure someone brought her.”

“I… keep thinking about it…”

His voice faded off into the rocking of the sea. The younger man held him, soft and silent. Haku would not last the night. It was unbeknownst to them then, but the younger man would not either. Below them the waves crashed and fled in a steady rhythm, and the waning moon above continued to shine. It was a scene that could not be captured, in images or in words. But it needed no capturing.

Their feelings in the moment were enough.

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