Notes: This is from Erika's POV, and a short little songfic to a Collective Soul song. Usual disclaimers from me apply. (Aka, this sucks and all that.)


Has our conscience shown?
Has the sweet breeze blown?
Has all the kindness gone?
Hope still lingers on.

The MTCD was rebuilding even as we spoke, salvaging and creating anew. It gave people hope; they didn't have to live in fear of their houses, their offices, getting destroyed from day to day. Buildings could be repaired, their surroundings could be made over again. It was reliable, it set people's minds at ease.

Hearts cannot be repaired so easily.

I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don't know why.

I move back into MegaGamers. This is where I've been. This is where I can hide, isn't it? I know the people here, don't I?

And yet... and yet I still wear my mask. No matter what happened to me personally, there was always some sort of job to do.

Are we listening
To hymns of offering?
Have we eyes to see
That love is gathering?

Kimiko... she believes. She does what she can for others, worries about people she has no need to, tries to make it in a job that is all about faking emotion. And yet she's seeming to do well.

So I mask what has happened, with her. It is not difficult to do; after all, that's what I've done, haven't I? I've made my living from faking and manipulating emotions.

All the words that I've been reading
Have now started the act of bleeding
Into one.

"He's doing well. Last year he took a management position with a new company, so he's been busy. And... got married. A nice girl. Also an engineer. He seems happy."

It had been a long time indeed since we had spoken. But, even then, some things do not change. Hard to break old habits, and all that.

So hard to break...

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below.
And I laugh at myself
As the tears roll down.
'Cause it's the world I know.
It's the world I know.

The counter of the store has seen enough of my tears, and besides, it's not like it's saying anything. As long as others don't see, I'm fine.

I'll be fine. "It can't be helped", after all. That's the way the world works, and some things just don't change.

Some things just don't change...

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