Author's note:

I wrote this one-shot on the spot a few months back after listening to one of the sound pieces from the OST which inspired me for this piece. It does not tie in with my main fic "Gate: Thus the Van Doos fought there!"

GATE and its characters do not belong to me. Any real world organisation belongs to their proper owner as well.

Finally Home

95 years old Youji Itami got up from his living room chair. The decorated Special Region veteran was finishing his day and started his usual bedtime routine. He went over to a dark room and opened the lights. It was his memory room. As every day, a lone tear trailed down his right cheek as he looked over the various souvenirs he had as he toured the room.

First, there was his medals and decorations for his various deeds. He could see his first medal for his actions at Ginza when the Gate opened as well as pictures of him receiving his reward from the Minister of Defense. He could still remember the happy-go-lucky Takeo Kurata and how their friendship began shortly after the Ginza Incident over their love of anime. He remembered the poor girl that he helped that fateful day. Unfortunately, she had lost both of her parents and ended up living with her kind aunt. He remembered the day when he first crossed over the Gate and saw her with her aunt grieving at the monument for those killed during the Empire's attack on Ginza.

As he moved on, he saw his old uniform that he wore during the campaign in the Special Region. It reminded him of Recon Team Three and his adventures with them. He could still remember everyone in the team from Tomita to Kuribayashi. He missed them all since he couldn't stop death. Itami was the last living member of RCT 3. He then went over a frame. It was filled with pictures of RCT 3 in the Special Region. It reminded him of the happy times he had with them. He had a beautiful painting of them all together that was given to him by Princess Pina Co Lada after she took the throne. He remembered that she found out that he didn't assist her coronation and how mad she had been at first.

She did forgive him though and had her best court painter paint RCT3 as well as the girls. It was her personal way of thanking them for their rescue of her and her father which ultimately saved the Empire from Zorzal's madness.

After her coronation, Japan helped Pina defeat her brother's armies at the Second Battle of Italica where a maddened and revenge bent Zorzal led his men in a suicidal attack. He was killed by rifle fire when his personal guard and him charged a trench, believing Itami to be in it. It had not been the case. Afterwards, the JSDF and the Empire worked together to rebuild the Special Region. The Empire, under Pina's leadership, became a better place to live with slavery being abolished. Many of those oppressed found themselves free to enjoy. It had been a long and hard process but it paid off.

Itami's tired eyes then went over to the next frame. It was the one with Rory, Lelei, Yao and Tuka. They had become his surrogate daughters. Rory had finally ascended to godhood some thirty odd years after the Gate opened up. She had become a Goddess of Justice and Judgement, protecting those that defended the innocent against the scum of the earth.

Lelei became one of Roundel's greatest masters of magic. This was due to her understanding of chemistry and physics that she had gotten from books in Japan. As such, many respected her. Her talent had helped advance magic in a scientific manner for the better of both worlds.

Tuka had finally healed from her father's death after the Flame Dragon's death. She would live on happy though she still called Itami 'dad' much to the poor man's chagrin. He hoped that she hadn't relapsed after he left Falmart.

As for Yao, she returned to her people at Itami's insistence. They worked together with the JSDF, Empire and the Kingdom of Elbe to rebuild their villages and heal the wounds made by the Flame Dragon. Itami had a display case with all the rewards he had gotten from his exploits in slaying that monster.

The last frame was the most bitter for Itami. It was a single newspaper cutting that announced the closing of the Gate. It said that the Gate had disappeared. Luckily for the JSDF, a godly Rory had come to warn them to leave before it was too late.

It was one of Itami's greatest saddest memories since he was discharged and couldn't choose to stay or not. Some members, like Tomita, had chosen stayed behind since they now had families in the Special Region. It wouldn't be too hard for them to adapt since modern technology and science was being implanted during the Reconstruction of the Empire. He wished he could have stayed.

For Itami, this room was the closest he could get to the Special Region. It was only a memory for him now. It is getting late and he grows more tired though it is not just a lack of sleep. He heads to his bedroom, a simple room with white walls and a single bed. There was posters of long past conventions. Itami had continued to go to conventions as well hoping that maybe the Gate would reappear once more. The conventions, with their merchandise, cosplays and booths helped Itami remember his adventures in the Special Region as well though it was nothing like the real thing.

He is tired as he gets into his bed. Yet it is a weariness of the heart. Itami is tired of no longer hearing the voices of those he loved. He longs to see those he helped in the Special Region once more. He wishes to see the ones he cared about. He would love to listen to the musical sound of their laughter. He is weary of the nostalgia of happier times alongside his now long gone comrades in arms.

The Special Region veteran closes his eyes. His dreams, they take him back. It is in them that he can once see more the ones he misses. Where he can talk, sing and laugh. Where he is the closest to home. Yet when morning comes, it takes away this moment of happiness. These dreams, they are a blessing and a curse as well for Itami. With each passing day, his yearning to return to the Special Region grows because of them. Yet he knows he cannot.

When Itami wakes up that morning, a strange feeling hits him. His body feels different. It is no longer frail and old but instead, is young and strong. He feels just like when he was 33 years old. As he looks around, he can see that the surroundings have changed as well. It is familiar to him for it is the bedroom he stayed in after the First Battle of Italica and his beating by an overzealous group of female knights. As he gets up, he can hear voices and laughter. He recognises them... it's a reunited RCT 3! He runs towards the door with even greater haste then he does for conventions in his youth. As he opens the door and runs down the hallways to the main dining room, he recognises the place as well the faces of some of the maids.

The sight that welcomes him when he reaches the room leaves him speechless. In front of him is RCT 3. They are just like he remembered when they first set off on that faithful recon mission so many years ago. Cries of happiness fill the room as the team greet their old squad leader and embrace him in a bone crushing hug.

"Welcome home dad!" calls out a familiar voice. As Itami hears this, he turns his head. He sees none other than Tuka, Lelei and Rory. Rory runs up to him and kisses him on the cheek while Lelei does something that Itami never saw before. She smiles at him.

A lone tear runs down Itami's right cheek. He is finally home after all those long years.

The End