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She was thinner than he remembered.

Her color wasn't all that good either, observed Hatsuharu Sohma, as he stood silently in the doorway, watching the woman he had loved for so long, the woman who had rejected him.

Rin Sohma lay peacefully sleeping, unaware of his powerful stare. She was the very embodiment of Sohma feminine beauty, even in her illness. Haru's breath caught painfully in his chest, a familiar wave of longing washing over him. He made it no secret to himself how much he wanted her- he never believed in self-denial- but it was still shaming to need her in such a way, even after she had cut the ties between them. They had shared so much together; it shouldn't have mattered for him to hesitate now. But he did.

He remembered all too well her carefully hidden fear, her hesitation and doubt, the emotionless, cold as ice tone she had used to tear his heart apart and toss him aside.

Forcing his mind back to the present, Haru knew that was the reason he hesitated, frozen in her doorway, fear of being hurt again.

It would be so easy to be angry, to let go to his Black side and rampage until he could do or say no more. He could try and make himself hate her, give her back some of the hurt she made him feel, but it would be a useless effort, to try to make himself feel the exact opposite of the truth.

Since the time they were children, he had set his sights on her. As he grew older, he learned to control the more intense aspects of himself, the aggression and violence of his Black side. He faced the world with a mask, swallowing back his heavier emotions to embrace composure. But his interest in her never waned, as he waited patiently to grow older, and during that time, his interest blossomed into attraction and finally love. A love that ran so deep he nearly drowned in it.

He loved her. There was no denying the fact, and he had never made any effort to do so. He loved her so deeply and truly he could hardly remember a time when he hadn't. He wondered if it made him weak in Rin's eyes, for him to be so hopelessly in love with her. Even with her body weak and ill, Rin was still so incredibly strong, if not in body, then in heart and spirit. That strength was one of the qualities he admired most in her. He had always wished so desperately for some of that strength, to be strong enough to heal himself, and endure, find a way to move on with his life. There was a time when the most certain thing in his life had been Rin's love for him, no matter how short a time it was, and then he had never questioned his standing in her eyes. But she had put a cruel end to that fantasy, and now he failed to measure up, afraid to be found inadequate in her eyes.

Uncertainty. It made him frozen now, made him hesitate in her doorway lost in his own thoughts. He hesitated, caught between fears and longing, need and anger. It was confounding enough to have the Black side of his personality lingering inside of him, but when Rin was around, her presence triggered feelings inside him that felt as if he was torn in a thousand different directions. Part of him wanted to turn his back and walk away, leave behind her and their tangled history. Another part just wanted to break down and scream his frustration, feeling so helpless in the tidal wave of change that had enveloped his world. Yet another part of him was so overcome with longing, thick and palpable, he hurt inside. So intense it ached, the urge to go to her bedside, pull her into his arms, and never let go for the world.

He wearily raised his head, feeling suddenly exhausted, as a sudden rustling came from inside the hospital room. Rin was stirring.

Indecision. Hesitation. Uncertainty. Hatsuharu Sohma had never felt these before, and he was not about to start now.

With a trembling breath that caused his body to shudder, Hatsuharu steeled himself, letting his expression fall into a familiar mask of imperturbable calm. Rejection awaiting him only a few steps away, his mind overwhelmed with a lover's affection and concern, Hatsuharu hesitantly stepped forward, leaving uncertainty in his wake.