She's drowning, consciousness merely lapping at her toes. The waves pull her in, farther and farther from the distant shore; tiny wind-swept bungalows and white sand that tickles at her feet and a voice that begs her to wake up.
("Please, Himari-san, please!")
But she pays it no mind. Drowning isn't such a bad way to go, she figures, peace and serenity and the little guppies twittering around her bare feet. It's calm, it's beautiful, it's home. Back to the blue depths of origin, where a brave fish flopped onto land and sprouted legs, where Aphrodite rose up from the cream of foamy waves.
(Midas claims her for his own, turning her pale skin into pure gold beneath the sunlight.)
The ocean is nothing like Shoma's vulnerability, or Kanba's flash bang of brilliance. Just the lull of seagulls and the chatterings of the whales, taking her away from the world she had loved and hated. Suffering, where she was ground into glass, and joy, with waddling penguins and a warm bowl of miso soup.
(Two boys, welcoming her home; giraffes and painted cardboard.)
It's fading now. The sobs grow dimmer, the sky whitens, and she sinks deeper, deeper. All she is conscious of is the beating of the waves, the thump-thump of her heart, and the shock of her auburn hair as it drifts past.
(She can feel the tubes and the air mask for the briefest moment, smells the sharp odor of chemicals.)
Two hands encircle her wrists. Something shimmery, something warm; the ocean feels icy in comparison. It might be her imagination, but there's a girl floating alongside her, lips pursed, eyes wide and the color of thick honey. Her hair is a vibrant bubblegum, almost surreal in a pool of pastel blue.
(A familiar face, a memory rekindled.)
"Are you here to take me away?" Himari hears herself whisper, barely audible over the hypnotic whine of a dolphin. She reaches out to brush her fingers against the girl's jaw, strangely tangible. It's an odd contrast with her blurry figure, all pulsing skin and peachy fuzz.
The girl shakes her head, eyes crinkling into a little smile. She leans forward, breath ghosting against Himari's ears.
"It's time to initiate the survival strategy."