It was the day of the tournament. Hitomi and Van were still fighting.
I can do this. Van doesn't know who I am, and he's won already... But here, we can pitch our strengths against each other entirely without restraint. He'll manage if I hurt him. With that last thought, Van landed a fist in her gasped, and stumbled back. She suddenly had to wonder about her earlier reassurance that Van would never hurt her. She revised it: Van would never knowingly hurt me.
Van aimed another thrust, this time at her energist. Hitomi ducked, and tackled the Ispano 'melef. They landed on the ground, raising a cloud of dust. Van flung Hitomi off of him and tried to get to his feet. He was on one knee, and one foot when Hitomi decked his 'melef across the face. He didn't fall down, and swung his sword at her feet. She jumped back, barely dodging the attack. Then Van stood and charged Hitomi again. He feigned to the left... and Silver saw it coming.
Hitomi responded. She let Van attack her energist, because she was faster. Her sword would pierce his pilot chamber before he reached her energist. She had it in the bag. But time stopped. She saw her sword thrust into the chamber. She watched the blood spill, and saw Van's lively eyes turn dazed, and finally, he'd fall. And then she felt the impact of her energist being crushed. And then the shock overwhelmed her.
Over and over, the image of Van bleeding to death played in Hitomi's head. She could hear him cough, and the blood sprayed everywhere. His teeth were stained red. His breath was labored, and he gurgled. Red, and blood, and... it was Van. He was dying. She didn't care that he had actually come out alive. The important thing was that she had planned to do that to him. She had planned to kill him.
She lay on the ground, breath caught in her throat. She was being lifted, by her shoulders. It was the Ispano 'melef, helping her stand. She couldn't control the 'melef, so all the weight was put on Van, with the injured back. Hopefully, it was just the 'melef, and not Van who was hurt. Van started to speak while she relived that moment of insight where she imagined Van's death. "You did well," Van praised her. She didn't thank him. He just dragged her in silence.
Once they were in the hangar with all the other 'melefs, Van put her down and reluctantly left. Hitomi just stared at the ceiling and waited for someone to help her out. The pilot chamber wouldn't open if the energist didn't work. Either the energist had to be repaired or the chamber had to be forced open. She didn't care. She didn't notice that it took hours. She just stared at nothing, picturing Van's death in her head repeatedly.
Then the 'melef tightened around her. She snapped out of her daze and looked around. The chamber closed in on her, and the light from outside disappeared. It was dark, and she couldn't see anything. Still, she could feel the grip of the chamber, seizing her and choking her body. The insufferable pressure had her gasping within seconds. "What's going on?" she yelled, "Someone, help!" She tried to move, to get out, but the walls had closed in and she couldn't move anything but her head. "I didn't mean to! I was - this isn't fair! I didn't kill him!" But you almost did... You were planning on it... He can't trust you... You lied to him, and planned to kill him..."It's not like that! Someone! Anyone!" She sobbed, and the 'melef grabbed her neck. She couldn't even move her head. "Van... help..."
Hitomi opened her eyes. She was safe, in her bed. The sunlight streamed on her face, and a comforting arm wrapped around her waist, while a callous hand grabbed her shoulder. She turned her head to Van and blinked. His eyebrows were furrowed, and his entire countenance screamed concern. "You were tossing and turning. Are you okay?" he asked. His hand on her waist gripped her tightly, as well as his hand on her shoulder.
"You're hurting me," she whispered. He immediately let go of her, and drew his hands away. Hitomi exhaled loudly and looked around. She really was safe. Her heart still pounded, even though she knew everything was fine. She looked back at Van and asked, "Are you... unhurt?" Van's concern didn't dissipate as he nodded and assured her that he was fine. She exhaled again. "I had a dream you died," she mumbled. Van sighed, with nothing to say. Hitomi looked at him again. "Did you notice that anonymous pilot had her sword pointed at you when it ended?" she asked.
Van hummed and murmured, "Yeah, it's been bothering me." He froze and slowly inquired, "Silver was a girl? How do you know?" He met her eyes, but she looked away. "Hitomi," he said urgently, "How do you know?" Hitomi sat up and swung her legs over the side of the bed. Van grabbed her wrist. "What's wrong, Hitomi?" he asked softly, "I want to help you." Hitomi thought briefly of her dream, and how she begged for help. She'd asked for Van in the end.
"You never figured out who Silver was?" she asked and turned to him. Their gazes met, and Van searched her eyes for the answers he wanted. The look told him everything.
"You're Silver?" he asked, completely incredulous. Hitomi turned around and buried her face in her hands. Van sat up and gripped her shoulder. "Why?"
Hitomi mumbled, "I had to make sure you won. It was so important to you... and Dilandou was entering... I couldn't sit still and hope." She looked up at him, tears in her eyes. "And then when we started to fight... I couldn't help myself. I had to give it my all." She leaned closer and pressed her face against his chest. Tears streamed down her face and a muffled sob met Van's ears. Van held her for a moment and wondered what to think of it all. "I almost killed you!" she sobbed. And that made up Van's mind.
"I'm safe," he whispered, "and it's all over now. Don't worry anymore."