Then it dawns on him. It's not finished. And though he's been trying to reassure everyone around him that they'll all be safe, he knows better. There is real danger on the battlefield. What if something does happen? What if he never finishes the song? He knows he won't have time to concentrate on it. He can't be certain it will ever be finished. Since only he knows how it needs to sound, he can't trust anyone else to finish it for him.
A thought crosses his mind. There is someone. He glances at his brother, who is in a deep sleep despite the noise. A smile comes to his face. Their minds run on the same wavelength. They both love music. Perhaps...if something happens to him...his brother can finish it for him. His mind begins to wander as he thinks of all the good times they've spent together. He forgets where they are for a second. He forgets where they're going.
The ship comes to an abrupt halt, and he gently nudges his brother's shoulder to wake him up. The younger man is still sleepy and asks if the sushi is ready yet, not realizing what is about to happen. They both stand and grab their other two friends, following the rest of the soldiers out of the crowded room and onto the ship's deck. The cold ocean air is strangely unmoving, as though it, too, is waiting for something. They can see the shore from here. He wonders about his other friend, the one trained as a doctor. No doubt he will soon be out there on the battlefield, saving lives alongside them.
They file into the smaller boats, somehow managing to stay in their group of four. The trip to the shore is not long, but it seems to take forever. No one speaks; the tension and fear is too thick. He absentmindedly hums to himself, trying different melodies and rhythms for the song. Nothing seems exactly right. His brother sits next to him, face white with fear. He wants to reassure the younger man, to comfort him, but the words won't come.
Suddenly they hit the shore. They are rushed to the ground in a flood of fear and fury, caught in the midst of all the others, and the gunshots quickly rain down upon them. They hide behind large metal structures on the beach and try to fire a few shots of their own, without much success. One man next to him shouts an order, and they all charge forward. He realizes his brother has not followed him, but it's too dangerous to stand and run back, or even turn around to look, or he will be killed for sure.
Just like the others around him, he flattens himself against the dirt bank in hopes of remaining unseen. Finally he is able to look back, and he wildly glances around for his brother. He calls the younger man's name, but the single word is quickly lost within the flood of shots and explosions around them. He watches as his younger brother waits for the next group of soldiers to run by, and joins them.
He hears a single shot ring out above the rest, and his world seems to fall silent. His brother falls to the ground, screaming in agony, and he sees the blood. He can't stand it any longer and tries to run back to him, wanting to comfort him and save him, but the others hold him back. It's not worth it, they shout, but he doesn't hear them. All he hears is his own voice screaming his brother's name again and again.
And then he sees his friend with the red cross on one arm, and his hopes rise because he knows his brother might have a chance. But then he sees that the medic can't stop the bleeding. He continues screaming the name, all the while knowing he didn't keep his promise. He didn't keep his brother safe, and knows she's going to be heartbroken. He also knows she won't be the only one.
The soldiers keep restraining him. He struggles against their combined strength, not even realizing that two of them are his friends trying to look out for him. He doesn't care. He only wants his little brother.
He watches as the medic tries desperately to save the younger man's life. He takes it all in with horrified eyes, hearing the gunshots and the screams of the dying and wounded fade into the background completely. The only thing he can see is his brother, writhing in pain and crying for help. Then, suddenly, it all comes to a halt. The medic looks up at him with sorrowful eyes and a wounded heart, saying nothing because there's nothing to say. All sound has ceased. The dying man's screams have stopped.
He stops screaming, too, because he feels like a part of his heart has just died. He feels like he was the one shot, and he wishes with all his heart that that had been the case, because anything would be better than what he has just witnessed. All thoughts melt away from his mind, and he swears he can see his brother's spirit standing and looking at him with that same calm smile.
And then he blinks and it's all gone.