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Once More

What happens when dreams start to die? What will happen if your dreams, the dreams that kept you alive because you've placed your entire faith in them, start to crack and shatter? Will you die too?

I shuddered as I looked at my hands once more, dripping with thick, sticky blood that is not my own. The blood of the innocents that died in the Gaean War clings to me like a second skin, and I cannot wash it off, no matter how hard I tried. It becomes a guilt and burden I carry on my shoulders, weighing like a thousand stones that threaten to break me apart.

It succeeds sometimes. Occasionally. I try to be strong, for him. But it's so hard... so very hard, and so very tiring...

What helped were the dreams I clung onto. The dream of seeing him again. The dream of flying once more. It gives me the strength, the courage to go on.

Mother is worried about me. Everyone is. But it doesn't matter anymore. What matters is that he's dead. Dead. He dared abandoned me just to fight some stupid battle to protect his damn country...

The tears I cry are blood. His blood. For I know it's not his fault. It's his duty.

Damn duty.

He... he didn't know he was going to... to die. Who truly knows when their time will be? And yet...

It's horrible to have visions that don't only feel real, but come true as well. I felt that I could have saved all those people. The Fanalians. The Gaeans. Just like I could've saved him. But I didn't. I didn't have a vision. I didn't have anything but a damn ache in my chest that lasted for two days, the two days he was wounded and died.

Gods, why couldn't I have seen him for one last time? Why... why couldn't...

Meruru had taken the pendant, my grandmother's pendant, after he passed away, and tried to contact me with it. She didn't know how to use it, though, and Celena helped her figure it out. They told me he had rode off into battle against some country that had declared war on Fanalia, and suffered a fatal injury. That he had been having hallucinations due to an infection of the wound, and had screamed and raved and foamed at the mouth for several hours before he finally calmed down. And died. Peacefully. With a serene smile and my name on his lips.

I didn't cry at first. The ache that had begun in my chest spread over my entire body, and I went numb. I sat there, staring into nothingness until my mother found me and snapped me back into Reality.

Then I cried. I cried so much I swore I could have filled up a dozen buckets. My mother had simply held me quietly, held me like I was still a child and rocked me gently in her arms, asking no questions, until I had cried myself to sleep.

I dreamt of him. His raven black hair was cropped shorter than the last time I saw him. He was more sturdy and built, instead of the lanky arms and legs that he had when we had first met. His shoulders were broader, his arms and chest subtly rippling with muscles developed from regular practice with his sword. His wings were unfolded, pristine white against his tanned skin. His dark eyes focused onto mine, melting me with his intense gaze. Oh, how I had missed those wine-colored eyes...

He walked slowly to me, a small smile flitting off and on his lips. When he stood but a foot from me, he leaned and kissed me full on the lips. My heart thumped abnormally fast in my chest, and I almost collapsed from shock, pleasure, pain... I don't know what I felt then.

"Hello," he whispered. His voice had developed into a deep, rich baritone, and it made me weak in the knees.

"You're... you're suppose to be dead," I whispered back, fear lingering in my voice.

"Yes, I am," he agreed - was that a trace of amusement I heard?

"But... how..."

"Shh..." His eyes twinkled merrily at me, and I thought it to be so uncharacteristic of his usual serious self that I almost laughed out loud from the half-disappointed, half-relieved feeling that he might not be my Baan after all...

"Hitomi, did you remember our promise?" he asked softly. " 'We will be together, forever, and not even Death can do us part.' Remember?"

I inhaled sharply. If he wasn't my Baan, how did he know this? We had said it in our most intimate moment, and no one had been around us then...

"Yes," I replied shakily. "Yes, I remember."

He smiled at me again. Oh, how I had missed his smile... "Did you know Dream is Death's younger brother? Death, when she - yes, 'she' - came for me, told me that she liked you and me and wanted to grant us our wish. I'm officially dead in the waking realm, in Reality, but in the Dream Realm..." He gave me another kiss. "I am alive. Waiting for you."

"Alive?" I repeated. "In... in the Dream Realm?"


"Oh..." In all honesty, I was shocked, and did not know how to respond. My mind did not fully register his words, and I stood there like a deer caught in the headlights, completely frozen.

"Hitomi?" he asked worriedly.

I blinked. "I'm officially dead in the waking Realm, in Reality, but in the Dream Realm... I'm alive, waiting for you."

"I'm alive. Waiting for you."

With tears in my eyes, tears of happiness, of joy, I threw my arms...

... around my pillow and hit my hand against the headboard. My alarm clock was beeping its annoying series of beeps.

I sat up.

And I smiled.

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