Starring Ei, and Jasmine's Kit. I don't think I've really done Kit's character justice, though.
It was windy on the roof of the Hospital. It was also oddly dark; there was barely an electric light on within fifteen blocks.
Neko Einado lay on an angled solar panel, his staff nowhere to be found, looking up into the cloudless sky. A dozen stars were visible, as was the slightly darkened shape of the new moon; despite the local blackout, the rest was washed out by the city’s lights. Still, he stared, studying what he could see intently. The drawstrings on his hoodie blew up alongside his face, and his hair was standing up like something out of a Dragonball series, but he didn’t notice, so focused was he on the sky.
The door to the roof opened with a soft squeak, and a young woman stepped out. She looked around for a moment before spotting Ei and crossing to him.
«When the lights went out in my lab,» Kit said quietly, «I figured you must have had a hand in it.»
Ei’s eyes never left the sky. «I wanted to see the stars.»
Kit lay next to him, looking up too.
«Back in Hyperkyoto, when the moon was gone and the weather was right, I would sometimes do this. Black out a few blocks, sit on the roof and watch. It was always in the middle of the night, so few people even noticed that the lights weren’t working. But the Hyperkyoto mission is closer to the outskirts of the city…there, four or five blocks was enough. Here…» he sighed «…I can’t do it. Fifteen is my limit, and that doesn’t give me enough to see much of anything.»
«Do you ever go camping?» she asked.
Ei shook his head. «I feel weak out there. In the city, the technology helps me—just its presence gives me a little boost, like an extra cup of coffee in the morning. In the wild, I don’t have that, and it’s a little disturbing…like feeling that part of you is missing.»
The half-kitsune nodded. «What do you look for up there?»
«Wisdom, and the courage to face the future.» He paused, then continued when his companion didn’t speak. «Those stars have seen everything. That one up there»—he pointed to a dot in the sky—«is eight billion years old. The oldest one I could see in Hyperkyoto was thirteen billion years old…almost as old as the Universe itself. Some of these stars will be here until the end of time…like me, I guess.»
«You’re immortal?» she asked. That hadn’t been in his file…
«Yes. Unless someone kills me, or I run out of food, water, or oxygen…I will see the end of the Universe.»
Kit had a long lifespan, but even for her, “forever” was a hard word to contemplate. «Wow. Must be nice, knowing that you have all the time in the world.»
Ei nodded. «I look forward to that life…but at the same time, I almost fear it. I…there are so many people in this world who bring regrets to their graves. And then I look at someone like Lightsider-sensei…he made one mistake once, and it’s haunted him for five hundred years. It could do so for the rest of time. And…I guess I’m afraid I’ll do something like that. I’ll screw up so badly, and death will never come to end the pain.»
«No. There are a few things that are outside my nature—I can’t even seriously contemplate doing them. A meaningless suicide is one of them.»
«Einado-san, that fear is exactly what will keep you from making that mistake. As long as you remember what can happen, you will never make such a mistake.»