Author's Note : The final chapter in Israfel's Digitalis. Sorry for the delay. My muse finally rose from the dead.

Before you read this chapter, let me first mention that this story is not, in any way, driven by plot. This tale does not even have a plot. This character-driven story is all about a girl's infatuation for someone she could never have and the lengths she would go to give him up.

This story is written for those who believe loving someone may as well be the end of the world.

x.

Holy angel's tears streaked her butterfly soul in a thousand shades of silver sunrise. Gossamer wings were wrapped around her like a chrysalis, and a jeweled crown sat on her head. Her pale face was hidden beneath a dream-catcher veil; she was far too shy to smile at anyone tonight. He, too, looked regal in ebony silk; like dark waves tossed on pearly sand. They stood before a shrine, faces pink from giddy excitement, ready for politics. This, after all, couldn't be love.

The girl then turned around, her face a million shades of happiness. Her eyes were lighter than the usual darkness they were, and her skin seemed more than the crumbling wallpaper that reeked of coffee. But she didn't smile… No, she never could, but this was the closest thing to euphoria she ever had tasted. And this wasn't love, but it felt like it.

And she felt like running, away from everything and away from him. She just couldn't stay. But her feet were glued to the marble floor that was a thousand times more expensive than she would ever be. When the cherubs started singing, all she could hear was words of doubt from everyone around her. But she tried to let go and let her soul take flight. A grin broke through her façade and reality came crashing down.

This wasn't love, even if she knew it had to be.

. . .

"Nakamura-san! NAKAMURA-SAN!" 'No, don't wake me up.' She wanted to dream, because in dreaming, not even she was deemed to be a failure. It was her only escape and it provided a more stable mind than coffee did. 'No, not again. Leave me alone.' Her eyes then fluttered open and the dream disappeared, leaving her soul in the void.

"You can't avoid this day, you know." Tsubasa's voice echoed inside her skull. He had kept on telling her, in hopes of her 'facing her insecurities.' Nakamura Kaiya scowled. She had always fled when trouble came close, so why couldn't she run away now? She knew the infatuation would fade over time, but time moved so slowly…

The dark-haired girl then propped herself with her elbow, sighing tiredly as she glanced around. Silk and lace clothed geisha-beautiful women and they all giggled sheepishly, faces tinted rouge and lips pale and shaking. She knew this day would come, but in between running away from her problems, studying and drinking coffee, time wasn't so important anymore. Kaiya just hoped that time would be nice to her today and would leave her behind.

"Ahh…Nakamura-chan," It was Fuyuumi. She was clad in a dove-grey kimono, almost as if columbine feathers were growing from her skin. She looked regal, and Kaiya looked like a mess, "Why aren't you dressed! The wedding's about to start! Hurry up!"

She winced at the word 'wedding,' but she quickly forced herself to grow numb as the sole Ootori female shoved her into the dressing room with similarly-colored garb. Minutes later, she was done dressing up. Finishing the obi, Kaiya exited the room and ran towards the other girls.

As the guests surrounded the radiant couple, the ceremony began. Traditional Japanese music played and they all wished for luck from the gods. They looked so happy; Haruhi and Kyouya. But no longer did she feel envious. She felt nothing now. It was finally the end. It was time to cut the strings, time to let go, time to forget, time to burn the purple roses. She did not want to do this one bit, but if she finally believed that the infatuation would end…perhaps, perhaps it would.

. . .

Between bites of Ootoro and sips of green tea, Ootori Haruhi (she herself even said it aloud just to feel how it was like to be married) pondered about her life. She now had a supernova-bright future ahead of her. She had the one and she had the job. As she moved table to table smiling for photographs, she felt like a marionette. Haruhi couldn't decide if it was a positive or a negative feeling, but it felt…odd. As if the puzzle pieces won't fit and the picture wouldn't form. There was still a piece missing, and she didn't know what it was and where to look for it.

Everything and everyone around her was moving far too quickly and it was as if she could never touch the replay button in her life. Everything was too fast, too unfair. But she was beyond pretending to be unhappy. So she grinned wider in the pictures, hugged her guests tighter and held onto the string that kept her with Kyouya.

She, after all, only hid her feelings of pure ecstasy because she cared about Kaiya. But now that she knew Kaiya would finally let go of the object of her affections, there was no use in lying to herself. She did not want to let Kaiya – her best friend – down so harshly, but if she let the sadness end and the happiness begin, perhaps…perhaps Haruhi, too, would learn how to let go.

. . .

As the ceremony ended, realization dawned on the great Ootori Kyouya. He was married now. Married to the person he thought he loved. He could have everything in the world now. His father's business, more money, more property. That was his dream, and now he was able to catch it between his ivory fingers.

At the after-ceremony tea, faces blurred and passed him. They all gave him his thanks, and he put on that perfect son façade once more. He decided it would be the last time to wear the mask, before he would finally throw it away. He did not need to pretend anymore. He, after all, pretended only for her. For the girl he had watched, for the girl he never knew he had loved.

Ootori Kyouya only wore that mask so that he could play god for her, and now that he let her slip between his fingers…it was time to cut the red thread that bound her to him, time to pry her away from his hold, time to erase her from his mind, time to burn the mask. He did not want to do this one bit, but if he forced himself to believe that the infatuation would end…perhaps, perhaps it would.