They all wanted a few more moments.
When Sho left that room, his vision was blurred with black and red, he wondered if he'd ever see that picture.
He remembered Kei screaming at him later. Hurt or confused, Sho couldn't tell. It was hard to hear over the guns. Hard to hear over all the other things rushing through his mind. He was shot. His ammo was running low. Hana would be an orphan. Shinji was dead. Kei was trapped by rays of light. There were a lot of holes in his coat. He wasn't going to make it.
He hoped Kei didn't hate him. Even in death, Sho didn't think he could handle the thought of those eyes staring at him in hate. Whatever Hell might await him could not be worse.
Kei was the only god he had ever worshipped. The only one he had ever needed. Yet even Kei had abandoned him once.
And later, when he opened his eyes to the violet-hued heavens, he realized it was Kei who had brought him back to life.
"You...made me like you." Sho had looked at his friend and mentor and everything as if seeing him for the first time.
"Yeah." And Kei looked back, for an instant seeing not the jaded man but the smiling child that had saved him so many years ago. "Now we're both monsters."
Monsters. Shadows. Living a hollow existence, extending a life that already seemed too long. But Kei didn't hate him for bringing him to this point, and Sho didn't hate the other man for giving him a tainted rebirth.
This time it was Sho who ran. From Kei, from Hana, from YiChe's grave, from a place that gave him so much but took even more. He traveled as far from Mallepa as he could until one day he finally realized that there was no way to escape life, no matter how far he ran. He couldn't face neither life nor death alone.
Kei had always said he was a crybaby.
They had forever, if they chose. An eternity that so many others would give the world for. The greatest in the world could be reduced to nothing when faced with their own mortality. Each and every one of them struggling for even a few, just a few, more moments. And yet, to those who had it, it was just one more curse.
"Sho. Let's go to the beach."
The ride there was mostly silent. So many things to say but somehow they both knew already. Knew that life had been unfair, that things should have been different, that in the end it was them together again. That in the end, it was meant to be this way. What could they possibly say?
"I'm tired. Let me sleep a little."
Sho smiled a little. Somehow, that seemed to sum it all up. Still...
"In the evening, I saw with you the orange sun," Sho sang softly. "You looked like you were going to cry...eternal goodbye..."
He was never one to be out-done.
Hours passed in silence, as they watched the eastern sky and watched the sea change constantly.
"Kei," The younger man started when the clouds started to break, speaking over the crashing of waves. So much to say. Goodbye and Thank you and I love you. But Kei already knew. "...here comes the sun."
And when the other man turned his head with a slight smile, Sho reached out for a few more moments. But the sun had already risen. Sho decided it was the most beautiful sunrise he had ever seen.
Soon all that remained was a faded photograph.