Hello to everyone! I know I said I would post this chapter on the 12th, but it kind of got erased, so I had to write it again, and then my editor went on vacations, so...But don't worry. The last chapter is finally here. I know it is not what most of you expected, but I'm sure everyone will be happy with the resoult. Writing this story had been wonderful, and I'm a little sad that it is finally over, but that just means that I'll be writting more stories, yey!

I'd also like to thank my editor and of course, all of you reviewers and readers, though I mostly appreciate the support of:

tigger093061, Macky, Inda, IAMSOAP: You reviewed every single one of m y chapters, and I'll forever love you.

Olileslie: Your review inspired me. Thank you very much.

snowdropsinwinter: An amazin review. What more can I say?

And now, please enjoy the last chapter.


The pain of loving you

At the still point of the turning world

I told you once the only thing I wanted to do was fly as far away from you as I could.

I wanted nothing more than to free myself of your eyes, but now...

Now all I want to do is crawl into your arms and never let go.

I can't go on without you, and it scares me. I shouldn't feel this passion that's burning my heart.

We were never meant to be together, and yet, somehow...

When you kiss me the world disappears,

It is just the two of us, and for just one mere moment

Nothing else matters, and I can forget about the world and get lost in your eyes

The war was over.

After moths of no-stopping battles, endless fear, uncountable deaths, and so many sacrifices, it had all ended. There were no more soldiers with swords preparing to go to a battlefield. There were no more meetings to plan strategies. Nurses had stop receiving injured men. Women were no longer crying because their loved ones went away. The kings and leaders didn't look that stiff. A big burden had been lifted from their shoulders.

The world was silent. There were no more yells or cries. No more agonizing sounds. No more…nothing.

There was nothing more to do but re-create what had been destroyed and pick up the pieces of what had been broken. The ones that had lost loved ones had to go on without them. The children that had seen way to much had to learn to live with the nightmares. The kings had to gather their people and build their kingdoms back. The world had to be restored. Everyone had to try to go back to the way things were before the war.

If only it wasn't so difficult…

If only things hadn't changed so much…


"Dryden is dead." Millerna repeated in her head for what had to be the millionth time since the war. 'He is dead, and I am the only queen to Freid, and I have to help my people.'

She took a deep breath. All through the war, she had helped by curing people. It had not been difficult, and it had taken her mind from Dryden. She hadn't really done queenly duty. She had kept her people together and had brought them all the way from their home to Kansaki, but that was about it. Now…now was different. Now she would have to go to them and help them build their homes again and make it safe for them. She would have to re-build Freid from little more than ruins, and she would have to do it without Dryden by her side. She'd be all alone…

"Hey."

Millerna turned towards Allen. "Hey."

Allen smiled tiredly at her. "May I know what you are thinking about?"

"I was just thinking about the future…and the past."

He smirked. "So you were thinking about Dryden and your queen duties?"

She laughed. "You always know." She told him.

"I know. I'm great."

"You wish."

A silent spread between them, and Millerna got lost in her thoughts again. It would be so difficult…She knew how to be a queen. She had been born royalty and would die royalty. As a princess, she was expected to study politics, etiquette, relations, and even administration. She had been prepared from birth to be queen, but she had never had to do it alone. She had always had someone by her side. Her father, a counselor, Dryden…

How would she be queen alone?

"Don't fear." Allen told her, and Millerna managed to not gasp from surprise.

"Excuse me?"

"You are afraid of being queen alone, but you won't be alone. I'll help you as much as I can. I'll even let Boris go with you until things are better. Besides, ruling a kingdom by yourself is not that difficult."

"How do you know?" He looked at her strangely. "Oh yeah."

Allen's father had died, and he had had to take over the kingdom at a very young age. If she remembered correctly, he was little but fifteen.

"How did you do it?"

"Rule over Asturia? With a lot of patience. It really is all about looking after your people and being okay with your neighbors. At least that part won't be difficult. No one wants another war."

Something clicked in Millerna's head, and she asked him a question she had forgotten when Allen had arrived with Van and Hitomi. "What happened…I mean, what made them…oh, I don't know how to say it nicely so I'll just blurt it out." She took a deep breath. "What happened to the people of Zaibach, to Dornkirk, and to…"

"To Hitomi?"

She gulped. "Yes."

Allen stayed quiet for some time, and Millerna realized he was thinking. "I don't really know…" he started "I saw Hitomi run towards Fanel and…and then she took a sword that was meant for him. Dornkirk's sword, to be exact."

"But she has no injury…"

"I know. I ran towards her after I saw what happened, but I never got there. A pink light surrounded everything, and I lost consciousness. When I woke up, there were no signs of Zaibach's soldiers, and Dornkirk was no were no be seeing. He just…disappeared with his people. I sent scouts to Zaibach. There is nothing there. It is as if it had never existed, except for…."

"For all the damage it caused." Millerna finished for him. "It is all gone but the chaos it created."

"Yes, that is all that's left of Zaibach. They are gone, and I don't think we will see them anytime soon. Hey, how did you know that something had happened to Zaibach?"

"I…well, you didn't bring any captives and…and some of the men we were taking care of were from Zaibach. They…I don't know, evaporated? Went away? Blew with the wind? They simply disappeared, not a sign that they had ever been there."

"The same happened on the battlefield."

"Did you know where the light came from?" Millerna knew it was a stupid question. She already knew the answer, but she needed someone to tell it to her.

"We were losing." Allen said with something in his voice that she didn't recognized. "Zaibach was way too strong, and we would have succumbed to them in a matter of hours, but then…" He closed his eyes. "The light came from Hitomi. My best guess is that she used the Heart of the Dragon to destroy our enemy. That is the only explanation, so I guess I owe Boris an apology. He was right. Hitomi was our only hope. We wouldn't have won without her, but…"

"She paid a price."

Allen's hands went into fists. "No one knows if she will wake up. It has been a week since that day, and she just…it's like she is sleeping, but god, how I want her to wake up."

Millerna looked at Allen with sadness in her eyes. Dryden had died. Amano was injured. Hitomi…she could sleep forever for all they knew. And that hadn't been all the sacrifices that had been made. Van had to kill his own brother. Lots of people had died. Many persons had suffered. King Leon was dead. Luva had lost an arm. Only five pirates had survived. The rebels were without leaders. So many young people were gone…

The only thing that kept her going was her people; the fact that she knew Dryden would want her to continue, and the knowledge that it had all been worth it. All the deaths, the sacrifices, the suffering, it had all been worth it.

They had peace, at long last.

She didn't have to fear a surprise attack anymore. She didn't have to go to bed wondering who she would lose in the morning. She didn't have to be scared anymore. Right now, Gaea was at peace. Zaibach would no longer be able to cause problems. Dornkirk was gone, and he could no longer spread his evil.

Peace, finally.

She could breathe and live peacefully.

It had all been worth it, regardless of the pain.

"She did it for him." Allen whispered.

"What?"

"She did it for him. " Allen repeated. "I saw her when she galloped towards him. She was not looking for me. She didn't want to kill the enemy. She didn't care about anything but him. She went to the battle field for him, only him."

"Allen…"

"She jumped off of the horse, ran towards him, and took the sword, just like that, without hesitation, without fear or doubt. She used the Heart to save him. I'm sure she wanted to save Gaea too, but it really was for him. She is in a coma because of him. She didn't even hear me call out her name"

"Oh, Allen…"

"No, I have to get it all out now, and you'll just have to listen."

Millerna went towards a chair and sat in it. "I'm listening."

Allen looked at the horizon. "At the beginning of this war, I thought that Hitomi loved me. When she went with Fanel, I thought that it pained her as much as it did me, and perhaps then it did. She told me she wanted to marry me, and I believed her. It never occurred to me that perhaps she was doing it because it was her duty and the best thing for her people. The only thing that kept me going after she was gone was you and her memory. The moment she came back and kissed me in front of everyone I thought she truly loved me. But she kept looking at Fanel, and there was sadness in her eyes. I guess I always knew, but…"

"It will be alright." Millerna said, going towards him to comfort him. "I'm sure she never meant to hurt you."

He chuckled. "She is too good for that. I think she just wanted to…to keep her people safe."

"She didn't want to go against what she thought was her obligation, and she thought she could love you eventually."

"She never loved me, did she? Not even in the beginning."

Millerna opened her mouth and thought of lying, but then she saw how pained his blue eyes were and told the truth.

"No, she never did."

"I…" Allen buried his head in his hands. "I need some time alone."

Millerna left the room. She didn't turn to look at him. She already knew what she would see.


Van didn't know if he was tired, exhausted, or about to pass out from lack of sleep. He also didn't know if he was in pain, deep suffering, or dying from all the hurt he felt. He only knew one thing. Actually, he knew two.

The first one was that Folken was dead.

He had killed him with his own hands, his own sword…the very same sword he had used to end thousands of innocent, and some not so innocent, lives. He had killed Folken with the same sword their father had used once to protect them. He had used the sword that represented his family to kill Folken. Van hit the nearest wall and swore. He hadn't meant to kill Folken. At least, he hadn't meant to kill him in that way.

When he had told Folken in Zaibach's cell that he would kill him, he had meant it. Van had been mad, angry, and had felt betrayed. The brother that had been his hero had suddenly transformed in an ally of his enemy. Folken had let him believe that he was dead, and he had accepted the torture that Van had been through. He had captured Hitomi and given her over to Dornkirk, and he had had the audacity to tell him that it was all for his own good. Van had definitely been mad. He was sure that if he had been given the chance, he would have killed his brother with his own hands. After he had escaped Zaibach and had been able to think, he had thought about the words he had told Folken. Did he really want to kill him? After much thought, he had come to the conclusion that yes, he wanted to kill him. And it was not only that, he had to kill him. Folken was a menace to the world, and he had, in a way, betrayed his own family. Van would kill him if only to honor the memory of what Folken had meant to him.

It had been a lie. Deep down, he had never wanted to kill Folken. The problem was that he had realized this after his sword was already through him, and Van really had no more choice.

There was no going back in time, after all. He could not undue the past, or he would have done that long ago to fix many things.

So the moment he realized that he had, indeed, killed his brother, he had wanted to go back in time and not kill him. Of course, as most things in his life, it was only a wish, something he wanted. And as it often happened to him, his wished had not been granted.

He had wished once for a normal childhood. He had wished his parents had never died. He had wished he hadn't had to grow up so fast. He had wished Folken had stayed by his side instead of playing hero. He had wished he had never believed Dornkirk. Sometimes, he wished he hadn't met Hitomi, or he wished Allen didn't exist. He wished she loved him back. How he wished he hadn't killed Folken!

None of his wishes had been heard.

"I don't want you to die…"

Van hit the nearest wall again and again and again. He hit it until his hand bled, and then he hit it a little bit more. "Damn it, Folken. Even dead you make everything complicated." Van whispered.

What really bothered him was the way in which Folken had died. It had not been in a fight, like Van had thought. Folken had actually died to save him. Once again he had played hero, but this time he had really died. This time Van would not see him again, and he wished he had told him how much he had missed him and how it had hurt to lose him. He would have told him that he would always be his brother, even if they were on different sides. Now, though, it was too late, and that brought him to the second thing that he knew, and to the person that was peacefully laying on the bed in front of him.

Hitomi had not woken up, and it had almost been a week.

He still hadn't decided which was worse. Killing your own brother or having the woman you love die for you? He guessed they were in a tie. He also knew he was putting to much hope in his insinuations.

Hitomi had not died for him.

She had died for her people, for Gaea, and perhaps for Allen.

She had died for the people she loved and cared about, and although he knew Hitomi considered him a friend, she did not love him enough to die for him.

And that, he guessed, was what hurt most.

He wanted to yell, and he wanted to destroy something, and he knew he had to get her out of his head and heart, or he would go mad. Instead, he sat in the chair and stared at her. He heard her voice in his head and felt her touch on his skin. He could feel her soft lips against his and see her big, green eyes in his mind. Her laugh haunted him, and her smile would not vanish from his thoughts. If he could go to sleep and dream, he knew his dreams would be filled of her. Everything in his life was filled with her.

He longed for her in his heart and missed her presence with his very soul, and that was not helping right now.

He had never been this scared before. The mere thought of Hitomi not ever waking up again…He wouldn't be able to talk to her again or see her dance again. He wouldn't be able to gaze into her beautiful emerald eyes. And god, he had tried to protect her so much! She just couldn't die like that. She couldn't give up, not now, not ever. If she died…

Oh, kami, what would he do if she died? His whole life had meaning because of her, and if she died…

He let out a mortified yell and punched the wall again. It only bled more. As Van looked at it, he thought it was fitting. His heart was bleeding because of Hitomi, and now his hand was, too. To make it worse, he just couldn 't get the image of Hitomi after she had used the heart out of his head. He saw her take the sword meant for him, and then he saw her use the Heart, and then her eyes closed.

Flashback

"Don't cry." She told him again. "Crying doesn't suit you, warrior."

Van shut his eyes, trying to stop the tears. "I didn't even weep for my parents." He told her.

"But you would do it for me." He nodded. "Because you love me." She whispered.

Van almost didn't catch that. "Yes, Hitomi, I'd do anything for you."

Van didn't know what to do or say. He knew she was dying. He could feel it, and god how it hurt.

"Smile, just once..." She asked him. Van did his best to smile through his pain. "Oh, Van, if only…"

But then she went still, and her pretty, green eyes closed.

End flashback

Her words kept repeating in his head.

'If only, if only, if only….'

"If only what?" Van said under his breath. "If only what?"

What had she meant? Why had she said that? Why had she done something as stupid as take that bloody sword? He could understand her need to use the Heart. She had always told him that she only wanted what was best for her kingdom. She would die for them, but why had she taken that sword? Why had she come running out of nowhere just to save him?

"I adore you"

Why? Why risk everything for him? If she had died from that injury, if she hadn't used the Heart at that exact time…She wouldn't have been able to save Gaea. Her people could have died, and they would have never known what peace was again. He had thought that they had gone to that dangerous quest to find the only thing that could save Gaea: The Heart of the Dragon. If they had found something else along the way, it did not matter. Hitomi had always only cared about her duties as queen. She had shown him that much the moment they set foot on Kansaki.

"Is this real?"

But if she had risked her life for him, then none of that made sense. If she had gone to the battle field just for him, then all her actions did not made sense, and that was bloody confusing.

"I want to get to know you."

He had thought that she loved him. After all they had gone trough, the Temple, that hideous black witch, the small town where they had almost been killed, the Valley, Atlantis, Dornkirk's spell, and over all, their differences and their fears, something had formed between them. Van had not wanted it at first. He told himself that he did not need anything that came from her or any living being. He was just fine by himself. He had always been alone, and he had not seeing any reason to change that. Besides, he had been trained to reprimand his feelings as much as possible. Van had gotten so good at it that it was almost like he had no feelings at all. Then Hitomi had come into his life, and it had all changed. Suddenly, nothing was certain, and everything was new. He had tried to push her away. He didn't want to get hurt, didn't want to care for anyone else. Caring for someone created a weakness, and he did no want weaknesses. It had all been in vain. At the end, she had melted his cold heart and broken the walls around him.

"I love Allen. I could never love someone like you."

She had told him that she hadn't played with him. She had gotten confused along the ride, and that was why she had kissed him so many times. She was alone, and he was there, and she missed Allen. That was what she had told him. Van didn't know what to believe anymore. What did she feel?

It was probable that he may never know the answer to this question because no one knew when she would wake up. If she ever did.

Van grabbed her hand and kissed it gently.

"Look where all we felt brought us to." He told her gently. "Look what all my love did to you. Look what all your honor and duty caused you." He let go of her hand. "You may never see the sun you love so much, and I will always love you, regardless of anything, and oh, how it hurts."


"Wake up!"

Hitomi did not want to wake up, and even if she had wanted to, she couldn't move. All her energy had been given to the Heart, leaving her dry. She had nothing left in her. She had saved Van and Gaea, and she felt that her duty on the living world was finished. She was tired, and she so wanted to give in into the darkness that was so very tempting…

"Wake up."

"No." Hitomi thought. "I want to sleep forever."

She was sure she deserved this. It was her award, and she really wanted to take it. All her life, she had sacrificed everything for the good of others, and now she wanted to be left alone. She wanted her heart to stop beating so she could finally stop hurting and fighting and wanting and not getting anything. She thought it was only right for everything to end right now.

"But what about the people who need you?" The voice that wouldn't let her rest questioned.

Hitomi didn't even want to think about them. "I already saved them. What more could they want?"

"They need their queen."

"And I wanted to love Van and to live with him. We can't always get what we want."

"You were born with responsibilities, and you must accept them."

"I wan to rest."

"But you can't!"

"And why not? I've given up so many things for them, for the world, I think it is time for me to go."

"Your time is not up."

"But I used the Heart! I should have died after that. Why am I not dead?"

"Because, mistress, he saved you."

"What?"

"The protector stood by your side, held you even though he knew he could die. Stood by you even when he thought you loved someone else. And you…you were ready to die for him and for Gaea. Your act was unselfish. You wanted nothing from the Heart but to save those who could not save themselves. There was nothing in it for you. You would sacrifice your life for their happiness, and that is why you are not dead."

"I have no more energy left."

"You have to wake up!"

"Why?"

"For him."

"Him?"

"He needs you."

"I only cause him pain."

"You are his only chance at finding happiness."

"I only make him suffer."

"You made him feel again."

"Only to hurt him once more."

"But he loves you!"

"And I love him." Hitomi thought calmly. "But that doesn't change anything."

"Wake up."

"I can't."

"Because you won't even try."

"I'm too tired to try."

"Wake up."

If Hitomi had been able to, she would have yelled at the voice in that instant, telling it to leave her alone, but she couldn't move her mouth. Instead, her frustration build inside of her, giving her some kind of strength.

"Wake up" the voice repeated "Wake up, wake up."

"I can't." Hitomi answered back. "I can't. I can't."

She would wake up, if only to escape that voice.

"Open your eyes!"

And then, surprisingly, she did.

Her eyes shot open, and she sat on the bad quite abruptly. Her energy returned to her body as images of all that had happened returned to her. Her emerald eyes filed with tears, and she choke out the only name that made sense to her.

"Van."

And then her eyes focused, and she saw Allen.


Hitomi met Allen's eyes. His blue eyes were calm and controlled, but Hitomi knew it was a façade. The man in front of her was angry, and Hitomi had a feeling that she knew why.

"Allen, I…"

But he wouldn't let her continue. He brought his finger to his mouth, and Hitomi closed her mouth.

"You said his name." He said. "It was the first thing you did when you woke up."

He got up and walked towards the window. Outside, the day was sunny. Inside, Hitomi trembled.

"You never loved me." He said.

Hitomi hesitated before answering. If she said yes, then Allen and her would be living a lie, but if she said no…what would happen if she said no?

"I…" But then Van came to her mind. He had endured so much for her…and Allen, he had fought so hard for her…It wasn't fair for either of them to continue this way. They were completely unhappy because of her, and she just couldn't keep this farce anymore.

'But what about the peace treaty?' A tiny voice in her head said, and Hitomi let out the tinniest of smiled.

'I already gave peace to my people.' She thought. 'It's time I get my own peace.'

And with this, she finally let out the truth.

"No." She told him. "I never loved you in that way."

He nodded. "In what way do you love me?"
"As a friend." That, Hitomi thought, was all that she could offer him. A deep friendship that would never end. Nothing more. Her heart had already been given, and she had given it all. "My heart belongs to Van."

There was silence after that comment, and Hitomi waited for Allen to explode and yell at her. She would receive all he had to tell her without a comment or protest. She owed him that much. Instead of yelling at her, though he asked her another question.

"Why did you agree to marry me if you didn't love me?"

"I…" Hitomi started. How could she ease the truth of him? Deciding that to just tell it would be better than to go around it, she started. "At first, I thought I could come to love you. I mean, you were handsome, brave, gentle, and everything a woman could want, but…"

"But I was not what you wanted?"
Hitomi blushed. "You were everything I ever wanted, but I felt nothing for you. There was no spark, no heart beating, no excitement."

"Then why did you stay with me? Why did you tell me you wanted to marry me?" He demanded, and then in a voice so low Hitomi almost didn't catch. "Why did you kiss me when you got back?"

"Because, well, I wanted peace. The magical and unmagical kingdoms had been angry at each other for way too long, and if I married you…if I married you everything would end, and there could finally be peace among us, but then…my father dies, and I had to become queen, and you were there to support me, but…

'His eyes, his beautiful, brown eyes that looked at me, just me…'

"I had to go with Van to find the Heart, and I was so very scared, but I went anyway because it would stop the war with Zaibach, and it would bring peace to the world, and so I went. I told you I wanted to marry you because I thought it would be the best, and I…"

'I didn't love Van then.'

"I hated Van. I couldn't stand him, and I started missing you, and I thought that as soon as I got back to Asturia I would marry you, but…"

'Something drew me to him, and god how I wanted to get to know him…'

"We became friends, and little by little I started feeling for him without realizing it. One day, I just…"

'Couldn't live without him. I needed him to survive, to pass the day…"

"I didn't mean to fall in love with him."

"But you did. He was what you needed, not I." Allen said. He chuckled. "You know, I always told everyone that tried to make me a fool that I was not blind or stupid, but I guess I am."

"Allen, please…"

"Why did you kiss me?" He turned, and Hitomi met his gaze.

"I kissed you because I knew that if I used the Heart I would die, and Van would never let that happen. I had to make him believe that I didn't want to be with him. I had to get him out of my way, so he would let me save Gaea." She paused. "I'm sorry. I thought it was for the best."

He looked at her as if inspecting her and Hitomi felt herself go little.

"You did save Gaea." He said. "You saved me, too, but you did it for Van."

"Yes."

"I see."

"I wish…"

"Don't. Don't wish things were different because they aren't."
"Okay."

Allen sighed. "How did you save Gaea?"

"I used the Heart"

"But how?"

"I…I wanted Van to live. I didn't care about what would happen to me. I guess I wanted peace too. It was a combination, but mostly for Van."

"What did you do to Zaibach?"

"What do you mean?"

"There is not a trace of the city or its people. Dornkirk is also gone."

"Oh" Hitomi said, and then "Oh, I killed them using the Heart." Hitomi shut her eyes. "I did not want to kill them, but…" God, she had killed so many…

She felt a hand on her shoulder. The hand squeezed it. "But you had to." Allen said simple. Hitomi looked at him. He understood. "Just like I have to let you go."

Hitomi gasped. "What?"

"I'm breaking the engagement. Don't worry, though, our parts of Gaea will live peacefully, even if we don't marry, and I…I think I would like to be your friend."

Hitomi smiled at him and hugged him. "Thank you, Allen." She told him softly. "Thank you very much."


Allen went out of Hitomi's room. He couldn't stand to be there any longer because even though he had told her that it was okay, and that he understood, and that of course they could still be friends, it hurt way too much.

He loved her, and letting go of her had been the hardest thing he had ever done. It had been harder than burying his father, harder than being king, and much harder than going into battle. It had taken all of his self control to not go up to her and kiss her until she said she loved him. It had taken all his strength to not shake her until she came to her senses and told her that she was joking, and she could only be with him. He had wanted to yell at her, to tell her that what was she thinking. She couldn't love Fanel over him. Still, even though he just wanted to take her in his arms, he was a gentleman, and he respected her decision. There was nothing more to do or say if she loved that…man. He could not change her mind, could not make her love him. He could tell her that she was making a mistake. Allen knew he was perfect for anyone, and he could tell her that, but it would do nothing. At the end of his long speech, Hitomi would still love Van Fanel, and there was nothing he could do to change that.

Still…

He had fallen in love with her from the moment he had laid eyes on her. He had done anything possible to win her love, and perhaps he would have succeeded if Fanel had never shown up.

But that had not happened, and now Hitomi was not his. She had never been his. She had always been waiting for a great love. You just had to take a look at her dreamy face to figure out that she was waiting for the one person that would be able to give a spark into her life. Allen had never given her that spark. If Hitomi had married him, she would have ended up having a peaceful live, but she would not have a love only few people found. She would not have married the love of her life.

Really, from the moment she had decided to go with Fanel to that stupid quest, he should have known that he had lost her. It had taken Hitomi one look at the mercenary to go with him. When they returned, something had formed between them, and it was obvious to anyone that looked carefully that they loved each other. Allen had just refused to accept this. He had looked the other way. He had done that since he had met her, and now he was paying the consequences.

Allen looked up from the floor only to find the one person he did not wish to see right now, or ever, really.

"Fanel." He said. He did not bother to hide the disgust he felt towards him.

"Schezar." Obviously, he wasn't happy to see him either.

A silence stretched between them, and the Fanel did the one thing that Allen did not expect. He passed a hand through his messy hair and blurted out the most incoherent thing Allen had ever heard.

"I killed my brother."

Allen stayed quiet.

"I killed him." Fanel repeated. "He died because of me, and Hitomi would have too, and I'm sorry."

Allen blinked again. And then he found his voice. "What?"

Fanel sighed and looked at the ground. It was obvious that telling this to him was not easy. "Everything I touch becomes rotten. My parents loved me, and they got killed. Folken tried to protect me, and he got tangled up with Dornkirk, and I ended up killing him. And Hitomi…" Van closed his eyes. "She tried to befriend me, and now she won't wake up, and it is my entire fault."

"Why are you telling me this?" Allen asked him.

"Because…because I had to say it to someone, and you were the first person that came across me."

"And?"

"And because Hitomi loves you"

And quite suddenly, everything clicked in Allen's mind. "Don't be a fool." He told Fanel. "You are not important enough to have caused so many deaths. Your parents were killed because Dornkirk killed them. Folken died because he wanted to keep you safe and Hitomi…" She loves you and would do anything for you "You'll have to ask Hitomi yourself."

"What?"

"She woke up a few hours ago."

"But…"

"I was just with her, Fanel."

He saw how Van's face fell, and Allen wondered why. What more did he want? He had Hitomi. He had won. What else was there to it?

"Shouldn't you be with her?"

"What?" Allen asked, not quite sure if he had heard right.

"She loves you. You should be with her. She'd like that."

Allen realized in that moment that Van Fanel was the most stupid person he had ever met.

"Fanel, you are just impossible." He said, turning to leave. Really, if Fanel hadn't figured out what Hitomi really felt, he would not make it easier for him. But then he saw the pain in Fanel's eyes and swore in his mind. "But you should go talk to her. I'm sure you'd find some very interesting things."

There was, after all, no reason to have two persons pinning after the same woman. Besides, Fanel would make Hitomi happy, and that was what mattered.


"Hitomi, I'm so glad you are okay." Yukari told her friend as she hugged her fiercely. "I thought I would never see you again."

Hitomi smiled at the red head. "How is Amano?" She asked her. After Allen's visit, more people had come to her room, and she had found more details about the war.

"He is slowly healing. The blow he took was almost fatal, but Gadess brought him here on time."

"I'm glad."

Yukari frowned. "What's wrong?"

Hitomi bit her lip and looked away. "Nothing."

"Don't lie to me."

Hitomi sighed. "It's just that…it has been two days since I woke up and…"

"Van has not come to visit?"

Hitomi shook her head sadly. "No." And oh, how it hurt.

Yukari looked at her as if she was trying to solve a puzzle.

"If he has not come to you" she finally said. "Why don't you go to him?"

"What?"

"Well" Yukari continued "He is the one that has come after you, and he is the one that got hurt because of you."

"Yukari, if you are…"

But Yukari stood up and looked at her angrily. "No, Hitomi. You are my friend, but even I have to support Van on this one. He loves you, but you left him for Allen. You can't just expect him to guess that you love him instead. You've always done everything for others, why won't you do this for yourself? This is your chance, Hitomi. The war is over. Allen has broken your engagement and will help you and Van with their kingdoms. Amano and I, and so will your people, agree with whoever you chose to marry. The only thing between you and your happiness is yourself. I recommend you, Hitomi, to start risking your heart. He has done so, after all." Yukari stopped for a moment, and then continued. "He is leaving Kansaki today with a group of people. He is going to build back Fanelia, and you could help him. Kansaki and Fanelia are not far away. So, Hitomi, go and tell him how you feel before it is too late."

And with that, Yukari left the room, and Hitomi was left with her mouth opened.


Van smiled at Millerna. "I'll keep in touch." He told her. "I won't be able to visit you for a while." He grinned at her. "I have to build back Fanelia, but I swear I will find the time to escape and visit you at Freid."

"You better." She said. "And you have to build a room for me, for when I come visit." Van nodded at her.

"Amano" Van said. "Take care of Hitomi."

"I will." And then, Van turned to the last person he had to say goodbye to.

"Goodbye, Schezar."

Schezar smiled evilly. "You'll have to see more of me. After all, I am helping you with Fanelia."

Van sighed loudly. "I'm afraid you are right.

"Then farewell, Fanel, though I think you should stay a little bit more."

There was something in Allen's voice that made Van hesitate. He hadn't said goodbye to Hitomi, but then again, he hadn't intended to. He shook the feeling that something wasn't right and got ready to ride his horse.

"Come on, Merle." He told the cat-girl. "We have to go." He was finally leaving. Hitomi would marry Schezar, and he would lose her forever, but that had been her choice. Nothing was left to say between them, and it was time for him to let go. He had to leave her behind...

"Wait!"

Her voice reached his ears, making weird things happen to his heart, and stopping him in his tracks. He turned to face her.

"What do you want?" His voice was indifferent, and his eyes were a little angry and hurt. He saw Hitomi's eyes fill with hurt, but she did not waver as she spoke to him.

"I need to speak to you."

Van crossed his hands over his chest. "Then speak."

"In private." She said, and Van sighed.

'Now what?' he thought, but Hitomi was already walking to the gardens, and Van followed her against his better judgment.


Her heart was going to escape her chest. It was beating so hard that she did not know how Van couldn't hear it. Still, he must not hear it because he was facing the flowers and the trees and the clouds and anything but her.

"This is where we met." Hitomi told him.

In that cold night, when everything changed, and you looked into my eyes…

"We shouldn't be here." Van said, as if he hadn't heard her words.

You and me all alone
it's too late to say we didn't know
We shouldn't be all alone
One of us might lose control
Of these feelings we've been hiding
Deep down they might start to show
Not here not now watch my frustrations grow

"And why not?" She asked him.

"Because you should be with Schezar."

Hitomi smiled. Really, he could be so damn difficult when he wanted to.

"I want to be here."

"No, you don't."

"What?"

"I'm leaving, and you are staying, and…and it hurts to be close to you, and not…not have you."

"Van, I…"

"I know. You love Schezar, not me. You were only confused, I get it. I'll go away, Hitomi." He looked at her, with those beautiful eyes that always made her lose her head. She wanted to cry at what he saw in them. So much hurt, so much love, when would his pain end?"

"No, what I want to say is…"

"I don't want to hear whatever you want to say. It's over. I understand. Let me go." He spoke with anger, and Hitomi felt her own anger build inside of her.

'Let you go?' she thought 'Let you go?'

I know what I feel and you feel it too
I dream of that first kiss and who'll make the first move
Who's gonna put their heart on the line
It could be me it could be you tonight

"You idiot." She yelled at him. "You bastard, arrogant, unmannered idiot!"

"Unmannered?"

"Shut up!"

"It was you who started it."

"No, it was you. It is always you. I'm trying to tell you something important, and you just won't listen!"

"Perhaps because I'm tired of listening to your lies."

"I am trying to tell you the truth!

"I think I've heard enough of what you have to say."

Hitomi glared at him. "Hear me out."

"No."

"Yes."

"No."

He turned to leave, and Hitomi stepped forward and grabbed him by the arm.

"Don't you get it?" She told him. He looked at her confused. She smiled at him and brought her mouth to his ear. "Don't you get it?" She whispered to him, and Van felt his heart stopped. What was she doing? And then, softly, she pressed her lips against his. It was a tender kiss, nothing like the others they had shared, but it said so much…and then, her lips were gone from his.

"It was, is, all about you." She toldhim against them.

Show me who you are
Stop me before I go too far
'Cause it hurts to hold back
So hold me or I might crack
I'm gasoline you're the match
I'm not sure if we can handle that
We might explode could be a mess
I say we take the chance

"I don't understand." He said. He had been hurt way too many times, and he just didn't want his hopes to rise only to be crushed again. To his surprise, she laughed.

"Of course you don't" Hitomi said. "I…since the moment I first met you…"

Cold, arrogant, selfish bastard…

"…To now…"

So many things have happened, so much had changed…

"…It has always been about you." She said. "I…I made you think I loved Allen because if I didn't you would have stopped me from using the Heart and I had to do it to save…"

"Gaea?"

"You." She said softly. "I had to save you because…because I wouldn't have been able to stand it if you died."

"…"

"Stupid Van, don't you get it? It wasn't a lie, what happened at the Valley, what happened at Atlantis, or what happened at Fanelia. It never was a lie. I meant everything I said, but I was scared that Dornkirk would use my feelings against you like he had done at Zaibach, and so I decided to make you hate me, but you wouldn't hate me…"

"I hate you."

"It doesn't matter. I love you."

"…and then, well, from the beginning we knew that we couldn't be together. There could be no us between us because I wanted peace, and all you wanted was your revenge…A princess and a mercenary, it was simply impossible, but…"

But…god, how you made me feel…

"…I wanted you so badly, and I knew we could never, ever, be together. I was engaged to Allen, and you had a whole kingdom to avenge, so where, in all the chaos, would we find the time to make us work? And the…"

But Van pressed his hand against her mouth, silencing her.

If we wait a minute longer it could be the death of me
I know what I feel and you feel it too
I dream of that first kiss and who'll make the first move
Who's gonna put their heart on the line
It could be me it could be you tonight

"What are you trying to tell me, Hitomi?"

"I…" And she looked into those pools of brown that had so many times made her get lost into them, and she found out that this was not different because she could feel the world around her disappear, and there were only them, and nothing else mattered. "I want us to stop suffering." She said. "And I want to get lost into your eyes until we are old, and I want my children to have your hair…" She said, as one of her hands pushed one of his bangs away from his hair.

I'm mixed up confused
And I don't know what to do
'Cause I want to and I'd love to
If I knew you'd want me to
If you get any closer then I'm going to have to scream
I know what I feel and you feel it too ...

"…I love you" She breathed out, and he slowly smiled.

"What?"

"I love you." She repeated, and then he pulled her closer to him, so close she thought she might melt into him, become part of him, god this was everything she ever wanted…

"Your eyes were my downfall." He said.

"Green eyes."

Your eyes, your eyes, always your eyes…

They gazed into each other, time stopping for a second, and then it all came crashing down, and their mouths found each other.

At last…

There was despair, and tenderness, rudeness and sweetness. There were feelings that had been hold for way to long, and pain that had taken a long time to finally heal. Van held her even closer, and Hitomi passed her hands over his hair, his chest, his shoulders, his back, anywhere that got her closer to him. They were lovers that had gone through everything to be together, and that had at long last been able to rest in each others embrace. They were queen and king that had sacrificed everything for the world, and they were finally getting their reward. They were enemies that had fallen in love along the way and no longer cared about what the world thought. They were everything and nothing.

And as Hitomi kissed him, she could not think of anything but him, and how well it felt to kiss him again and hold him again and be loved by him again. She only felt him, and only wanted him, and she could only think of him,

Him,

Him,

Him,

Her Dragon. Her mercenary. Her Van.

And all the pain, the tears, the blood, the suffering, the lies…

Him,

Him,

Him,

Hitomi knew that everything would be alright.

-Fin-


And it is finished. I can't believe you thought I would kill Hitomi. I love Van/hitomi. I couldn't live with the guilt of separating them after all I put them through. And I even made Allen alright at the end. I particularly liked Yukari in this chapter. I loved this chapter. I hope you liked it review, please review the last chapter. That is all I ask.

For all the people that want to read more from me, I am already startin another fanfic. It will not be Escaflowne. It will be an Inuyasha one. but don't worry, I will write Escaflowne again, but I want to try my luck with Inuyasha.

You have all been amazing with me, and I truly hope you enjoyed my first lon story. Lots of love,

Eternal Fire. (Review, review, review :))