It's all water under the bridge, fish that comes to the net.
Based on A Fish Dinner in Chijou by Phoebe Zeitgeist: http://p-zeitgeist.livejournal.com/17040.html
Please read the original first. (It's Muraki/Tsuzuki, R)
Ikizukuri (Chijou Rivers Prelude)
There was no moon that night; the light glinting off the ripples that lapped sluggishly at the riverbank and the pillars under the bridge was the same colourless muddle of city lights that bled into the sky and washed out the stars. They huddled together on the mud and stones against the cold, waiting, wondering -- was that all? was it over? The air seemed still with expectation, yet no less cold for the wind that moved the weeds without touching them.
Their clothes were wet and smelled of the river, but for now, it was only a comforting reminder that they were together, at least; perhaps later, when day came and went and came again and they remained wet, they would remember the cries and breaking wood and water that reached out to pull them under, the way the rescuers' eyes slid over them without pausing. Or would they would never notice the continual damp, the absence of hunger and thirst, and keep waiting futilely? It was hard to tell, which ghosts would understand their new state, and which, without intervention, would drift, caught forever in the moments of their passing.
An amusing question to meditate on in the aftermath of a too-hectic night, that had blurred his sense of time in much the same way in the endless moving from one patient to the next, faces and injuries blending one into the other. But these children would not be tested thus, fortunate for them. Death had found them under the bridge, a Death he knew well.
Something to test another night, then, or perhaps not. He smiled, watching Tsuzuki trying to comfort, cajole, coax the children to leave with him while they, frightened, baffled by his strange story, and mindful of warnings against well-dressed strangers without identification or uniform, resisted. They wanted their parents, there was a missing sibling, a friend lost in the wreck of the ferry that he thought might have passed through his emergency room.
But eventually Tsuzuki persuaded them, his transparent misery over the situation more convincing than any disguise or plausible explanation. If he could bottle that sincerity, genuine enough now, but equally effective applied to gloss inane good cheer over Tsuzuki's constant guilt, even Hisoka's cynicism might be induced to accept his heartfelt regret for his many and assorted crimes. Granted, Hisoka would still want to kill him messily given the opportunity, but the boy would believe in his honest contrition.
The children left, but Tsuzuki remained, wandering idly by the riverside as though one of the lost himself, murmuring to his ghosts.
"Will I still see you, after you move on?" Tsuzuki asked, without giving any sign he had noticed his presence, but Muraki replied anyway.
"I wouldn't know."
Tsuzuki turned, seeming at once surprised and unsurprised to see him, and curiously accepting of his presence. Interesting. He allowed himself to fall into pace beside Tsuzuki on the banks of the Sumida River, willing to see where it would take them.