Author's Note: Finally done. FINALLY!Make My Dreams Come True
"…there are more reasons than I can expect you to believe at once. That some things cannot change. That some things have to change." Peorth bowed her head slightly. "But mostly because we will not interfere anymore. Because this has gone beyond both of our ability to control."
Urd's voice was laced with accusation. "You've been using us. You've been using me Peorth."
"No. I haven't. The decision was always yours to make…" The Goddess shook her head vehemently. "And this is the result of our actions. The consequence that all of us must encounter. We have our own consequences to deal with. The Gate…the passage…the decision. Those are not ours" She glanced at the Fairie and the Mortal still on the other side. "That is theirs to make. It is in their hands."
"I made that mistake…of believing that. I let everyone make his or her own decisions without any of mine and never even whispered a complaint. And all I really learned was one thing."
"What was that?"
Urd's voice was pained. "That if I do what you say…that if I sit here and do nothing again, I am exactly what Morgan thinks you are."
There was not even a hint of surprise that flashed through the older Goddess' eyes. Deftly taking a step backward she crossed her arms. "Yes, I suppose you would think very little of me now, wouldn't you?"
"Stop this, Peorth. I won't allow it. I won't allow them to throw their happiness away. Not just because you tell me I can't do anything."
"…I see." Peorth nodded her head in understanding. "Are you sure that it's not because you can't stand to see Morisato-san holding another woman?"
"I understand your feelings more than you think, Urd, Second Born of Kami-sama. I really do. But you are finding out just like I did that there are promises you make, and promises you keep. No one will think badly if you can't keep all your promises. Not if they see what you do as I have. You've tried your best. You've matured in ways I never thought you capable of." And the implacable mask of Peorth of the Roses began to slip showing a very old, very tired Goddess. "But you can't change what goes on before your eyes. Because all the choices were not made by you. That they lead to his junction means it was just as much Destiny as Morisato-kun meeting Belldandy."
"This is not Dest…"
"Yes…it is." There was a firm resignation that brooked no argument. Shaking her head, Peorth replied sadly. "And I think you know it. You've done as much as you can for Belldandy. She would be very proud of you. But this truly is the limit of where and what you can do. It's time to stand down."
Urd's eyes narrowed as she took a meaningful step forward. "And why do you say that, Peorth?"
"Why?" Peorth's answer was simple but could not be misunderstood. "Because Urd, if you intend to interfere, you'll have to pass through this Gate to reach those on the other side. I stand at the entrance."
"…what are you saying?"
"I will put my beliefs on the line. I will place my everything here…now…at this moment. I will place it with the Fairie and the Mortal she has chosen to love. If you intend to pass, you must do the same." Peorth closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "I am not using you. I am not using them. Trust me…for I am your friend…and I would be remiss if I ever intended to leave you astray."
"They won't make it through. I sincerely believe that." Urd replied. "They might enter the Gate hand in hand but they won't leave the Gate that way."
"For one has passed the Gate and succeeded while the other has passed the Gate and failed. To ask them to do it a second time…with a second love…" Peorth smiled sardonically; "…one might consider the chances impossible at best." She slowly shook her head. "I know that."
"Because. There is something we have always forgotten. The Gate is a blessing. It symbolizes Kami-sama's approval of a union between a mortal and an immortal. Urd…you of all people should know this."
"Your blood is half demonic. Look how far you have come. The distance you have traveled with Kami-sama's blessing…or without Kami-sama's blessing…followed the same path. There has never been a difference."
It was like how Keiichi always knew it had been. There was a certain quality that virtually made Morgan and Belldandy diametric opposites. It was in the way they acted, the look in their eyes…and in the way they kissed. It was in the way they remained beautiful though one always looked so happy and one always looked so sad. Noticing the look in his eyes, Morgan asked softly, "What is it?"
He ran a hand through her hair. "I just realized everything I saw in you I never saw in Belldandy."
"Does that mean you can love what you can see?"
"…I don't know. But I know that you are Morgan." Keiichi smiled. "And so if I do fall in love…it will be with Morgan. Not with Belldandy again."
"For you are like myself K-kun. And because I met you, I think I began loving myself again too. The qualities I see in you are the ones I want to see in me. I want to stay with you…but if nothing lasts forever than I want to stay with you for awhile longer. I cannot make any promises more than that. I cannot promise that we will always be happy…or that all can be bliss. All I can promise is what is right here. Right now."
"That is why I think I am here. That is why I think you are here as well too." Morgan took a deep breath and looked behind her. "Nothing has changed. The wind…the sand. The screams and the echoes of the screams. Can you hear them?"
Keiichi shook his head. "No, I can't."
"…me neither." Morgan flashed him a brilliant smile. "This is the first time I have come here without hearing them. There are so many things I want to tell you. So many things that I want you to remember. That though I was always so tired on Earth, I have never been as happy as I was there with you. That I want to go back to Earth with you and only you. But you know that already."
"I'm not scared of the Gate anymore K-kun. I'm not scared of Heaven or God." She laced his hands neatly through hers and leaned in closely. "I am not Belldandy. And you are not mine. We only reminded each other of something we thought we were. I can live with that. If you are there by my side, I can live with that. I won't let you go. Not this time. Not ever."
"I'm not…" The tremble in her voice belied her answer. "I'm not at all."
"…I wanted to tell you this. Last time, when you told me I couldn't pass with Bell, I wanted to tell you this."
"Even if we lose each other, all we'll have to do is find each other again. I was never scared of the Gate because something that precious to me I would not let go of. Not even to Kami-sama."
"…am I that precious?"
"Yes…" He squeezed her hand tightly. "And that is all I can promise to you. That if Kami-sama cannot bless us, I will do see in His steed."
***"And through all our power, all our wisdom…isn't it ironic that only a mortal can see that so clearly?" Peorth smiled at Urd. "We've forgotten that although Kami-sama is such an intransigent part of our lives, that he has never made the decision for us. Kami-sama's blessing is like that as well. It's there. But in no way does it control us. All it means is that we live life accountable for ourselves…and as Morisato-san so succinctly put…we live life blessed by ourselves." "But what is the purpose of this Gate then? Why is it here?" Puzzled, Urd asked, "If it accomplishes nothing, why did Kami-sama create it?"
"It is a test two ways. Those who have no doubt in their hearts…those who have the purity of soul within receive the blessing of God. But most cannot do that. The fear, the apprehension…it does not detract any less from your feelings. To fear losing someone is not a crime. To have it merit punishment is foolish."
"Urd. If I said you could never love something again, would you listen to me?"
"Which leads to the question: If a Gate said you could never love something again, would you listen to it?"
"But…" Urd replied weakly, "It's Kami-sama's judgement…it's His Gate…"
"Kami-sama decides that your love is not pure. I have never heard that you needed a crystal white heart to be in love. I have never heard that love is measurable to that degree."
"But Belldandy passed with Keiichi!"
"And rightly so. I know you were not surprised. The question does not lie there. What I do want to ask, however, is that supposing they did not pass…could you see Belldandy accepting that decision."
"…No. Of course not."
"The Gate tells you that you are not afraid. That your heart has no blemish. I hate to say it, but that kind of confidence seems more foolhardy than rational. If I ever found someone that precious Urd, I would be dead frightened at the thought of losing that someone. If I could ever think that way, that reality would be the worse nightmare…and it is with that thought, that I would probably forget that the Gate really doesn't have that power."
"What? How do you know that?"
"We all know the story from Morgan's point of view. We've seen how badly she missed her beloved. What we have not considered is her beloved's point of view. I do not know what happened to him after he failed to pass through the gate. I do not know if we washed away his memory or not. I certainly know we did not kill him. Heaven, thankfully, has not become that petty. All I do know is that we've seen what has happened when we've tried to force people to forget that which they do not want to. Celestine's efforts against Belldandy failed miserably. Likewise, Kami-sama's efforts against Keiichi did not prevent him from remembering again."
"What are you trying to say?"
"I am trying to explain the reason why Morgan REALLY lost her beloved."
"Because Kami-sama separated them!"
"No, because Morgan forgot that, no matter what we could do to him, her beloved was still…always still…waiting for her. All she had to do was go to him. I think that even more blinding than her hatred for Heaven was that fear that she had really lost something. A fear I don't believe was merited at all."
"That is the Gate's second test. First how pure your love is. Whether Kami-sama blesses you. And then, whether or not you can accept that and continue living. Whether you can choose your love over a blessing. Or whether you have chosen what Kami-sama believes over what you have always believed. Purity is always overrated. A flawed diamond, if held up the right way, is still beautiful. True, it's not as bright. But it's there. And it will last just as long. It's not as valuable persay, but the only real judge of worth is the only one that matters. And that judge is yourself."
"…" Urd couldn't find anything to say.
"Let them pass. There is the fear but there is not the condition. No one is forcing them to do this. They both know that there is so much they regret doing and so much more they regret not doing. That they are both here…that they are both about to do this, stands as a greater testament to any blessing Kami-sama could ever give. That is what moves me Urd. That is why I think that I can finally begin to see mortals with the same clairvoyance you can."
"Joy without sadness is suspect…"
"Yes. And they know that all to well…now at least. That is why they don't know if they will pass." Peorth sighed breathily, "That is why they can finally realize that it never mattered."
The wind had died down and with it, a deafening silence lay over the wasteland. The goddesses who had been standing at the opposite end were still staring at them with a burning intensity. Morgan couldn't help but think that must have been the same expression on her face when she saw Keiichi pass with Belldandy.
But this time it was not Belldandy. It was her.
It was…a double edge thought. But now was not the time to dwell on thoughts such as that. So many events had transpired. It was all coming to an end too quickly. There was so much on the line. So much she still didn't understand clearly. Somehow, through it all, she was standing here, holding someone she would love very dearly.
Her lips were still warm and the blush lining her cheeks still hadn't died. A sudden pang hit her. She had not kissed her first beloved before…
"I'm glad…" She whispered to Keiichi, "…that I kissed you again. I'm glad that you know how I feel before we do this."
"I won't kiss you again though." Ignoring the flash of surprise in Keiichi's eyes, she replied softly, "Not until I know you love me…and not until I know the same about you." She smiled. "That is why when we cross over to the other side…when you are still holding on to my hand, I'm going to grab your face and tongue you."
"…tongue?" Keiichi's face was already burning red.
It was of little surprise. Her cheeks were already the same color. "Fairies are very passionate creatures. "
"That sounds a bit human though, doesn't it?"
"…if I am human…or if I am a Fairie…does it make any difference to you whatsoever?"
"No. It wouldn't."
"Good." Staring evenly at him, Morgan slowly allowed her mortal guise to slide over herself. Reaching up, she cupped his cheek. "I am not mortal…so you know what I really am. That is something I will only share with you. But if that is not enough…if Kami-sama decides it unworthy…look for a girl with this face. She will probably be looking just as hard for you. And know her feelings still would not have changed."
"The first time I saw you, it was like this wasn't it?"
A mysterious smile crossed Morgan's features. "No. It was not."
And before Keiichi could even ask what she meant, she had already grabbed his right arm and began the ending of what had really been quite a rather tedious story.
They passed through.
"Will they pass?"
"I know." Urd's voice sounded dry as she interrupted. "I know…but will they?"
"I'm sorry. But they won't."
The third voice.
The shock in the air was palpable. Coursing through her veins, disbelief robbed Peorth of every faculty she had ever prided herself of having. No! It's not possible! I refuse to believe it! More through instinct then any form of self-control, Peorth forced herself to breathe as her eyes trembled visibly.
Urd had no such compunction. Spinning around, she opened her mouth to speak, but, once again, her mouth just didn't work.
"Thank you for everything you have done…both of you. Please, allow me to take the reins from here."
It was a melodic voice. One that everyone knew all too well.
Languidly raising her hand, Belldandy closed her eyes and began chanting.
"What are you…" Peorth's eyes widened as she recognized the spell. "No. Not even you would…"
She would. Without even a word, both Keiichi and Morgan stumbled and fell to the ground.
They had not even reached the Gate. They had fallen just short.
"Sister!" Urd stammered in shock as she struggled between embracing her sister and running towards the collapsed pair. "What are you doing?"
So it is Belldandy…Peorth's eyes remained clear despite the turmoil in her heart. How? What has happened? Belldandy is dead…And it suddenly dawned on her. Something Urd had always told her. Belldandy isn't really dead. Not in the mortal sense at least…
We're in Heaven. At the Gate. Peorth had to smile despite the chain of events. Kami-sama, you are always one step ahead of me. Always. And for her to be here…yes, it is fitting. You are not perfect. You know that…
Peorth whispered softly, "So you send someone who is."
"Sister!" Urd blinked as something wet coursed down her cheek. Tears…something she had always fought against doing. Something she could never afford to do. Her voice was hoarse. "Belldandy…"
"Urd. Don't cry." Bell's voice was musical. Warm and rich, Urd realized at that moment what she had really lost. Her sister. Her sister who had always believed in her…had accepted her even though only half her blood was the same.
The tears. They didn't stop falling. They only fell harder.
"Why?" Her voice was ragged even to her own ears. "Bell…I tried so hard. Why? Why do I still understand absolutely nothing?"
Belldandy smiled and slowly walked up to her. Running a hand up Urd's cheek, she leaned forward and kissed her forehead seal. "I am so proud of you…my dearest sister. You have become everything I have ever seen in you."
Belldandy stared up at her fondly. "The answers will always come. Because I know Urd is now wise enough to see them all. So rest now." She ran her hand down and gently closed Urd's eyes. "Know that I love you so very much." Like a doll, Urd's muscles suddenly tightened and she slowly collapsed to her knees before falling to the ground. "So very much."
"Direct seal disconnection." Peorth kept her voice even as she watched on impassively. "Something even I cannot do. And to another First-Class Goddess…truly amazing Belldandy. We all underestimated you. Heaven never gave you enough credit…and I could never begin to fathom to what extent you were willing to go. It's something I should stop doing altogether."
"I'm sorry. But I cannot allow them to pass." Belldandy replied shortly.
"The decision is not in your hands."
"Yes. It is." Belldandy allowed Peorth a moment to digest that fact. Replying, almost apologetically, she bowed her head. "Father asked me to make a decision he could not make."
"Kami-sama…" Peorth sighed resignedly. "And this is what you make with that power? You deny them of even the chance?"
"…" There was guilt in Belldandy's eyes. A sort of discomfort that made her avert her eyes and fold her hands into her lap. It was an act of habit more than anything. There was no regret at all. Belldandy was still as sincere as ever. Peorth would have been surprised if there was. "It was my decision to make."
"…your time is over Bell. Will you have Morisato-san mourn you forever? I can understand finding them unworthy. But I do not understand removing the possibility altogether."
"That is a question I have asked myself a thousand times over. My heart…" Belldandy placed a hand over her chest. "I couldn't do it."
But more than Belldandy's heart hinged upon that decision. Everyone had acted out of his or her best intentions. It was an excuse Peorth could understand. But it was an excuse Peorth could not accept. "So now what will you do then? I have no intention of standing down. Will you dispose of me as well?"
"No. You would not allow me to do so…" Belldandy smiled softly. "Besides, I must ask you to do me a favor."
…that was somewhat unexpected.
"Allow me to get the meter straight. You come completely unexpected, ruin a scenario that I've spent far too much time building…" Losing her cool, Peorth waved at the comatose bodies around her, "Literally turn this place into a morgue, make me come dangerously close to losing my sanity, and you want me to help you?"
"You always did have a flair for the dramatic, Peorth." Belldandy nodded her head. "But yes."
"…only you could pull that off!" Fighting the irrational urge to faint, Peorth found it difficult to find her usual amusement at the irony. "Only you…why not ask Kami-sama then? It would be more prudent anyway."
"Because. Father has already denied me. I no longer have the power to do this by myself. Most of my power was used just now. I need your help."
"…I thought it was kind of weird…" Grimacing, Peorth stuttered, "You do know that if I say yes, what this does to my career? I'm just a goddess. Give me a break!"
"Is this the same Peorth who single-handedly rewrote every code of conduct as an operator of the Earth Assistance Hotline?"
"We will never speak of that again! I was young! I'm the director now!" Bowing her head ruefully, Peorth sighed wistfully, "But, yes, it is still the same goddess. I haven't changed much…like you. What will you have me do then?"
"Allow me to make one more selfish request. Allow me to have an audience with the Fairie."
"With Keiichi as well?"
"No." Belldandy replied softly. "I must speak to Morgan alone."
"…you were always selfish, Belldandy. Only I could see it though. I suppose I should wonder why." Peorth grinned. "More importantly, I wonder why I still listen after all this time. Answer me honestly then. Are you that worried that Keiichi will stop loving you?"
Belldandy shook her head. "No. I am not."
"Do you believe Kami-sama would find them worthy?"
Peorth shook her head inwardly. I could never admit that if I loved Keiichi as much as she did. You, just like your beloved never cease to amaze me. "But do you?"
"That is why you will not let them pass then."
"…no. There is something more." Belldandy smile was bitter. "Yes, it is as you have said. At heart, I am a very selfish woman. I am not willing to see Keiichi pass with someone else. Not yet at least. Probably not ever."
"It's the same with her too." Peorth tilted her head towards Morgan. "She is more like you than either of you would admit. And she loves Keiichi, Belldandy. She loves him very much."
"But not as much as I did. She does not understand that…" Belldandy closed her eyes. "Do you?"
"…Fine." Sounding exasperated, Peorth pointed at the Fairie and began inscribing a mandala. "Your time on this plane is already very limited and BECAUSE I know you don't have the power to do this…" Her eyes flashed, "Or Kami-sama's approval to do this…I guess I have always owed you. Now is as good as any to make up on past debts. Make her understand what you think she does not then. Who knows? Morgan might surprise you." With a flicker of light, both the Fairie and the mandala disappeared. "She waits for you on the other end. Though I doubt of her own accord."
"Belldandy…" Peorth's voice was serious. "I only agree to this because I know Morgan understands now that passing the Gate is superfluous. You are right. No one loved Keiichi more than you did…but that changes very little. You can change what happens here. But you cannot change what else happens. There will be a time when all of this is beyond both of our hands."
"…I know…but when that time comes, I want to know whose hands it will be in. And I must have them know what my feelings are as well. Keiichi knows how much I love him. I must have Morgan know that as well." Belldandy gave a resigned smile. "I wonder if the Fairie will be relieved or infuriated with what I have done. Either way, I cannot imagine she will be happy."
"Don't worry so much. It's like I've told you before. There's something about you Belldandy. Something so that when I think of your smile, I just can't hate you anymore." Peorth smiled back. "This wasn't I had imagined…but it will work nonetheless. When Morgan wakes, show her around the Elysian Fields. They have a way of calming the heart."
"I'd rather be on Earth." Belldandy's body began slowly dissolving. "I think you know that too."
Peorth chuckled softly. "Yes, you do have a point. I know you can't live for Keiichi anymore…but watch over him still. I'll take care of the rest."
"Always." With a wisp of wind, much as if it had carried her off, Belldandy was gone.
"And of course, I will be watching." Peorth smiled in self-satisfaction. "Sorry if that wasn't in the deal Mrs. Belldandy…but you always make everything too interesting for me to just ignore it."
"I never want to talk to you again. You're late."
I was such a petulant girl back then. Looking back, I wouldn't have believed that voice was mine."I'm sorry…"
And you always were so patient with me. I was just a Fairie but you treated me like a goddess. I enjoyed that so much…even though now, I probably couldn't stand it.
"Do you love me?"
Love. It was just a word to me. Some cute word that always scandalized other Naturals. I was too playful. But it was my nature to be playful. To be coy. Where did it all go?
"…I would do anything for you."
I didn't take you seriously. You were a mortal after all. Your love, like your soul, was fleeting and swift. You would never live as long as I would. You would never understand. So I continued the game. The game that was never a game to you at all.
"Did you know there's a Gate at the End of the World? They say if lovers pass, Kami-sama will bless them. Pass it with me then. If you really love me, pass it with me."
Was it that simple? Did I really think it would be that simple?
"Do you love me?"
Did I ever really love you? I always thought love with a mortal was a game. Something that was so inconsequential. The gravity, the meaning of what I had asked you to do…of what you had asked of me…it was all a blur. All I understood was that you always smiled when you spoke with me. And that I liked that smile. Was that love? I know I took you for granted. I know that perhaps if I knew what I knew now, Fate may have untwined a different way. I know all that but…but still. I have thought of it a thousand times over…what I said to you when you asked me if I loved you. Is it what I should have said?
"I love you with all my heart."
A better response, I cannot come up with. I doubt I ever will.
"A good story."
And I know the voice has changed. And from the icy cold in my heart, I know whose voice it is. A kind and gentle voice. If I was transported back a thousand years, it might be different…I might have found it so soothing. But I can't stand it.
"I think its time to wake up."
I always hated this voice. But then again, I always hated the voice's owner. Even now, though I know someone cherishes it very much, I can't help it.
We are nothing alike. That is all I can say.
But we both love the same person? Don't we? Morgan took a deep breath and opened her eyes. "Don't we? Belldandy?"
"It was a good sleep. A good dream." The goddess did not smile back. "Welcome to the other side of the Gate, Morgan La Fey. If you had passed, this is what you would have seen."
"No. I would not have seen you." Morgan smiled bitterly. "Why am I here then? It is a question I have no choice but to ask you…isn't it?"
It was probably not there. It probably was just something of her imagination. But Morgan could almost hear a kind of smug bitterness in Belldandy's voice. "So it seems."
The tears she thought she would have to fight so badly back did not come. The anguish and the emptiness in her heart were not there either. She was alone. The person she had chosen to love was not here. But she knew where he was. That thought made all the difference in the world. That thought kept her from falling into the same cycle as before. Turning around, she allowed the mortal flesh to fall and resumed her original form. "I did not want to see your face."
"Neither did I." Belldandy nodded her head curtly. "It seems we are both of an accord."
"Why is Keiichi not here?"
"That is a foolish question. I didn't want to see him here with you. "
It was a stupid answer that made too much sense to Morgan. Now at the very least. "Yes…I suppose I can understand that."
"And there is another reason."
Morgan's eyes narrowed. "And what would that be?"
"Kami-sama was not the judge this time." Belldandy's expression did not change as Morgan slowly turned around to stare at her. "I was."
"Father asked me to make the decision. He believed…" The irony was not lost on both of them. "He believed that he was not worthy to make the decision, Himself."
The silence was tense to the breaking point.
Softly continuing, Belldandy placed a hand over her heart. "I tried to think of Keiichi's happiness…it broke my heart that there was so much sadness in him. I wanted to see him happy again…but…it broke my heart even more when I thought that it would be you that wound mend his wounds. Not me." There was no regret in her voice. Just a resigned sadness. "I suppose my decision explains itself."
There was the spike of anger. The white blinding rage that almost consumed Morgan. Just as quickly it evaporated as she stared into Belldandy's eyes. There was no malice or hate. Nor was there any trace of sardonic amusement. There was just a hollow sadness that rang all too true. "No. You couldn't. You loved him as much as I do."
"No." Belldandy shook her head. "I loved him more."
"But, that changes nothing. I still want to see him again." Morgan replied. "I never asked him how much he loves me. I just asked if he did. I won't quantify numbers with you. Not now. I promised I would find him…I don't want to keep him waiting."
"You don't understand, Morgan. You don't understand what I mean at all."
"…I don't want to know." Morgan's voice finally cracked. Walking directly up to Belldandy, the Fairie stared evenly at the Goddess. "I don't want to know what I don't know or what I do know. Because I am tired of Heaven and I am tired of you telling me the answers. If I haven't figured it out by know, I probably wouldn't understand anyway. And finally, I do not need a pampered goddess to provide me with enlightenment!"
"How's the soul malaise, Morgan?" Belldandy's eyes sparked slightly with anger. "Is it painful? Does it make you almost scream? Tell me. How destroyed is your soul?"
"You…" Painfully, slowly, Morgan forced herself to calm down before she allowed herself to speak. "…Belldandy…I know what Keiichi saw in you…I know it very clearly. He loved you very dearly and though I can deny it for all time, I know very well why. But do not dare presume you can even conceive what I have gone through."
"Why?" Belldandy shot back tightly. "I died from it."
"The malaise Morgan. Passing the Gate. Surely you know the consequences. Receive the blessing of Kami-sama or be separated by God."
"Do not fool me. I know you would not let Kami-sama separate you from him even if He tried."
"No. You are correct. I would not. You are not a goddess…you are a Fairie." Belldandy smiled sardonically. "A blessing from Kami-sama to you, does not have the same consequences as it does for me."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm a First-class Goddess, Morgan. Kami-sama is my direct blood descendant. His blood runs thickest through my veins and as such, the connection I have to Him is absolute. It is only through that blood do I remain immortal. You are a Fairie. A Natural. Your immortality is tied towards the Earth and the soil and thus you too have a binding with Him."
"I understand why we are different." Morgan scoffed. "I have always known it. So what does that have to do with anything?"
"Kami-sama's blessing severs his connection with you. It accepts that you have chosen to love someone more than you love Him, and as such, you no longer need His protection." Belldandy closed her eyes. "And that you no longer need your immortality. Though I do not look it, I am an old Goddess. The malaise that killed my mortal flesh is just the effect. Your sickness was just your loss of faith."
"Your soul is tied towards the Earth however. You have never run that risk at all. Losing Kami-sama's blessing is akin to nothing at all. Not that it ever mattered to you from the start." Belldandy could completely erase the venom from that sarcastic barb. Morgan would have never believed Belldandy's voice and eyes could hold such an edge. "Do not patronize you, Morgan? You have never died for someone you love. I chose it willingly. Could you do it so easily?"
Even though the question was rhetorical, Morgan couldn't answer. For the first time, she could not meet the burning gaze Belldandy directed at her.
"I know what pain is as well. I know what it feels like to be separated from someone you love the most. I am not as pampered as you think I am. I do not presume to understand what you have gone through. I find it curious you do not extend the same courtesy."
Belldandy stared at her. Daring her to answer. Daring her to find some way to disprove her. But to pluck an answer from the wind was impossible. So Morgan spoke the truth. The truth that was not an excuse or an accusation. Not anymore.
"It hurt…" Morgan placed a hand over her heart. "It hurt so much at times that I thought death would be a blessing. Keiichi helped me get over that. By loving him, I loved myself. I believed I loved myself…and when that happened, the pain just disappeared. I don't want to go back to how it was again. I'm tired Belldandy. I'm so tired."
"I learned much about you from Celestine. You were like his own daughter. He spoke of protecting you. Of building a world for you. Listening to him…by listening to him…I started hating you. All I could think of was how ironic it was that someone who hated Heaven could still love you. You who really stood for all Heaven was. And then I saw your lover on Earth." Morgan laughed at the memory. "The shock I felt when I saw how much he looked like my beloved. Not just the shock. It was as if you had stolen him from me. As if Heaven had stolen him from me. I hated you as much as I hated Heaven for that. And the more I talked with your beloved…the more I walked with him…the more convinced I became that he was mine."
"But for me, at that time, it was all the same. I learned about your fall from grace. How you inadvertently followed Celestine in his attempt to destroy the Gate." Morgan's eyes sharpened. "How you systematically annihilated seven of Kami-sama's Guardian Angels trying to protect Celestine."
Belldandy winced painfully at that memory.
"And then I saw you here on Earth. Happy. Surrounded by those you love and those who loved you in return. How was it that happiness found you so easily? How was it that when you fell, you neither fell as hard or as far as I did? How was it that you could replace someone who loved you as much as Celestine with someone else? Remember what I asked you? If Keiichi was taken from you, could you still smile? Could you still say the things you did? I believed you could…" Morgan's voice was strained. "I believed you could…and that was what disgusted me the most. But here I am, doing the same thing I blamed you for. Irony has so many ways of making itself clear."
"I will answer your question then. No. I could not smile without Keiichi. I could not be happy…because I placed all my happiness with him. It is why I passed through the Gate with him…and it is why I accepted the consequences of what happened afterwards."
"But you could be happy…you were happy…for all the time that you had left."
"Yes. You could say that." There was a strange lilt to Belldandy's voice. "But I am one of the Norns. The Fates. I represent the present…so I doubt no one knew better than I what time I had left. Future is too cloudy and Past is so easily forgotten…only the Present remains crystal. If you think of it literally, Skuld spins the thread and Urd keeps those already done. I am the one who lines the thread…I am the one who cuts it." Belldandy smiled wanly. "Yes. I knew the time I had left. I knew the day, hour, second, and moment of it as soon as I stepped to the other side. My only regret is not being able to stay longer than that."
"…what kind of blessing does God give? Why pass it at all then?"
"Because. I chose to live for Keiichi rather than to live for Kami-sama. I chose my belief that even if could live a thousand years past a thousand more…I could not be happy. Immortals and mortals were not meant to fall in love with each other. We never were. I suppose if you are inclined to think like that, Kami-sama's blessing is the greatest one of all. It makes you the exception."
"Is it so harsh?" Belldandy shook her head. "I believed the best of both Heaven and Earth. I believed that I would never be separated from the one I loved the most. If I had not passed the Gate…if I had remained immortal, I would have. It is as Peorth told me before…Heaven would never approve of my union with Keiichi. It would never allow me to follow where the living cannot go. I have taken that decision out of their hands…and placed it in the hands of the one person who I never doubted before…" Belldandy was visibly torn as she continued unhappily. "…until now."
Morgan whispered, "Because of me."
"Yes. Because of you." Belldandy struggled to voice her thoughts. "I…I never considered that I would love anyone else. And…even if it was so selfish of me to think like that…I…I never thought Keiichi would either. He couldn't…he couldn't because… because he TOLD me so!" Belldandy covered her face in her hands as her voice grew despairing. "He told me that he loved ME the most! That it was me!"
"But he still does…" Morgan would never have believed there would ever come a time when she would comfort a Goddess. Comfort THIS goddess. Swallowing, she continued weakly, "He always loved you."
"But why would he pass the Gate with YOU then? That Gate was OUR blessing! Not yours! Not anyone else's. I know I can't be there for him now. I KNOW that…but…but, I will!" Belldandy's voice was defiant even though Morgan could detect so clearly the genuine fear behind it. "Keiichi needs to know that he never lost me. That I still love him…and that I am here. Waiting for him. You need to know that too Morgan. That I have not given him up…that I will NOT give him up. You will not pass the Gate with my Keiichi, Morgan. He has already been blessed." Belldandy placed a hand on her heart. "He has been blessed with me."
Perhaps Belldandy was being a bit too arrogant in her assumption that Keiichi would never love anyone besides her. Perhaps she was asking too much to believe that loved ones might move on. That they might find another. It didn't matter. Either way, Belldandy refused to give up what she sincerely believed was hers. She had not sold her heart lightly either. To see their bond begin to break was heartwrenching.
Morgan could understand. Though at opposing ends once more, Morgan could understand. Belldandy was just as unwilling to give up her beloved as Morgan was to give up hers. The only difference was that while Morgan had chosen to seek vengeance, Belldandy had chosen to believe. To place her faith…and to wait. It had been a shock to Morgan that she had chosen Belldandy's beloved. It must have been akin to dying again for Belldandy to see that Keiichi was on the verge of reciprocating.
Morgan knew that in reality, the goddess could do nothing. This was truly the limit of what she could do. Tell the Fairie what her feelings were. Tell the Fairie that she would not give up what was hers. Tell the Fairie who was blessed...and then watch the Fairie leave and hope it was taken to heart. And know that it was a faint prayer at best. But Belldandy had done so anyway. Because she knew it was her limit as well.
"I'm sorry." Morgan took a deep breath and let it out breathily. "I truly am…but…" She had to take another breath before continuing. "But everything you saw in Keiichi…I can see as well. I want to see more as well…and I want him to see more in me as well."
"But you saw everything through me as well. You love Keiichi because I did. All that you feel…all that you saw…" Belldandy pressed on. "It was because of me. You didn't even see Keiichi at first. You saw your own beloved. He's not your beloved…"
"I know that Belldandy."
"No! I do not think you do. You asked Keiichi that if I was gone, could he make your dreams come true. But I'm not gone! I do not know what can realize your dreams. I do not know what you can seek…but you cannot seek this. Not when it all hinges upon seeing him through my eyes…and depending upon my death to bring yourself closer."
"…I do not think you believe you are lying. I do not think that I am either." Morgan shook her head. "Yes, I know Keiichi is different from my beloved. And he knows I am different from you. But I believe even if I never knew about you…never knew what I lost or what I was so desperately searching for…I believe that it would not have mattered. I would still have found it all in him."
"Alright then." Both Belldandy and Morgan turned around and gave startled gazes at Peorth who perhaps not been there a moment ago. Slightly abashed at the blatant eavesdropping, the fourth goddess winced at the none too friendly glares directed at her. "Forgive me…but I cannot see you two coming to any resolution. Sorry Belldandy, but you've met your match here. You won't give up. I know that. But neither will she." Peorth raised her hand as Belldandy began to protest. "I have heard the whole story." Her eyes sharpened as she directed her eyes back to Morgan. "But it is that last sentence which intrigued me the most. You believe that, don't you? You honestly believe that everything you know now…you would have known anyway, even without Belldandy."
"Even without the pain?"
"Then…" Peorth smiled. Withdrawing a small flask from behind her hip, she held it loosely in front of Morgan. "Reinforce what you believe then." She nodded her head at the flash of recognition in both women's eyes. "And when it passed, the pain was gone. That is what Urd said. But more than the pain. The strength gained from that pain. The lessons taught and the heart reevaluated. All of it goes with. This draught you took before, Belldandy, took all that away as well. You managed to find what you lost again." Peorth asked quietly, "Morgan…can you lose Keiichi? Can you lose what you treasure the most…and can you find him again?"
Peorth was not surprised at Morgan's lack of response. Turning around, she glanced at Belldandy. "Because we all deserve a chance. Because I understand that most of your fears are not without base. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe Morgan and Keiichi are not Fate. Not like you were. Will you allow them to see if it is? You know as well as I do, that Fate can be changed only to a degree. Some events must happen. I am not asking you to allow it…but I am asking you to accept what is within your hands…and what is not."
Likewise, Belldandy was caught without an answer as well. Averting her eyes, she whispered, "That is a question I will never be able to answer wholeheartedly."
"I know. But now both of you face the same obstacles. Now, there is no difference between the Goddess and the Fairie."
"…" Slowly, Morgan allowed her fingers to close around the flask. Gently pulling it away from Peorth, she whispered, "It's not just a belief…both of you. I have no intention of losing Keiichi…"
Belldandy whispered back, "No. Neither do I."
"Good." Morgan took a deep breath and remarked quietly, "Peorth…I'll play by your rules…again. But don't worry. No matter what I forget, I doubt I can forget a face that grows more annoying than yours every moment."
"I aim to please."
"Fine." Morgan raised the flask to her lips. "Fine…I'll play it your damn way."
So who am I? What am I? Where do I go from here? These are questions I once again have no answers to.
Are you awake, Urd?
"…Yes. I am."
Then you know what has transpired?
"I have. Next time the Fairie meets her mortal…she won't recognize him…but she will."
Everything that I see…you should be able to see as well. You are Belldandy's sister. It is only fair. It is the only way you will believe me when I say I am not using anyone…
A slight pause.
Do you believe me?
"…Yes. I do."
Urd whispered, "But I want to test something as well."
Awaking from her lap, Keiichi slowly blinked at the bright sunlight that streamed through the windows. "U…Urd…what are you doing here?" He looked confused. "Why am I sleeping in your lap?" He blinked again. "Was I just in my apartment a second ago?"
Urd couldn't help but smile. "You idiot…I'm going to be staying here with you. Even if Sis is gone…I'm going to be staying here…alright?"
"…" Keiichi smiled back. "There's no arguing with you, is there Urd?"
"No. At least not now. I'm also saying we're moving back to the temple. Because those are where all the good memories are…and because your apartment's too small for just you."
Keiichi's eyes grew slightly vacant, as he seemed to be trying to search the roof of his mind for a dream that had just slipped by. "Really…"
"Why are you so uncertain."
"I don't know." Keiichi reached over and clasped one of Urd's hands. "I really don't know…but somehow…somehow I feel the memories here weren't so bad…and that it could fit someone else very well…" Keiichi laughed at the thought. It was a clear laugh that wasn't either sad or happy. It was there…it was real. Smiling, he pushed off the floor and shrugged. "I felt for a second like I had lost something but…" He took a deep breath and sighed. "I have a feeling that whatever it is…I'll probably find it anyway."
"Yeah. You will."
"But, I've had enough of that. I'm tired of moping around…" Extending a hand to Urd, Keiichi nodded his head. "Hey Urd, let's go home."
"…You have no idea how long I've waited for you to say that." Reaching up, Urd grasped it firmly.
I have accepted that Morgan loved you Keiichi…and I have accepted that you could have done the same. The test she takes applies to you as well. Urd stared at Keiichi fondly as he walked away into his room. "Show me what you see in that Fairie. Show me everything you see in her that you never saw in my Sister…if you can of course."
"You always did play the game slightly off. I see you erased his memory as well. You are so much like your sister. I suppose that is fitting." Peorth's voice in her mind was resigned but oddly amused. "I suppose as well that the decision to make it was yours too. Now we test both sides of the equation. A pity…the romance between the Fairie and the Mortal seemed to be going so smoothly. Ah well. The story will just have to diverge from here."
"And I'll have front row seats to watch it all." Urd laughed. "But no. That story ended already. This is just a completely different story altogether."
"So it is. So it is. But don't tell me how it ends. Tell me how it begins."
Urd could almost hear Belldandy's soft laugh.
If there is a story to tell at all.
Author's Note: Dedicated to those you love. And dedicated to you. Because, we aren't as different as our strange world would have us think.
"Sempaii! You were great on the racetrack. No one rides the bike like you!"
"Bleh…" Keiichi made a face as he stowed his helmet under his arm. "You're embarrassing me Hasagawa. I'm not your Sempaii anymore. Besides, we didn't even win."
"But still!" The still-childish looking Hasagawa adamantly shook her head in denial. "It's the first time since…since…well…it's always a great feeling to see you back on the racetrack." Hasagawa meekly bowed her head. "I…I think Mrs. Belldandy would be very happy."
"Yeah…" Keiichi's smile didn't waver. "She would."
"Have you…have you gotten over…it…and her?" The question, poorly phrased as it was, was still very clear.
"No. I doubt I ever will. But that's fine with me. I'd like to keep it that way." He patted Hasagawa's shoulder comfortingly. "Don't worry. Between you and Urd, I won't go back to how it used to be."
"It's…it's no problem Boss." Hasagawa blushed. "By the way, Otaki and Tamiya even came over to visit! I hope they don't molest the judges…"
"Those two again?" Keiichi slumped on the handlebars of the still rumbling motorcycle. "They make me so tired…"
"Then wake up." Coming from behind, the biker from Aoshima's Formula Nine Team wheeled up next to him. "It's not as fun to beat you if you aren't on your A game."
Hasagawa puffed up and spat back, "Don't get so cocky just because you got lucky! You cheated on the last turn!"
"Come on…" Keiichi smiled appeasingly. "It was a good race…"
"Can't complain. I did win."
The acid interjection literally sent fumes boiling from Hasagawa's head. Sputtering, "You…you…jerk!" Spinning around, she marched down the row of tents and quickly disappeared around the next corner.
Both bikers stared where she had left with a definite sense of amusement mixed with pity.
"You know, you really are kinda mean to her."
"Aoshima thinks she's cute. Naturally it means I have to give her a hard time."
"Ah…well." Keiichi laughed. "I'll win next time so expect her to gloat."
"But at the awards ceremony, I think it's going to be me on the top podium." The biker took off the black helmet and tossed her almost waist-long hair in the wind. Rather pale, her skin was offset by the deep red of her eyes. Her smile, like her demeanor, was a mix of sarcastic wit and veiled mockery. It was refreshing. Keiichi couldn't help but smile back. "Think I look good for my photo shoot?"
"Sure…except there's one race left." Keiichi slid his helmet back on. "Come on Morgan. Let's place it all on the line."
"I always do. Want to put a wager on it?" The light challenge in her voice came so easily. It came so natural…as if they had spoken like this a thousand times over.
The challenge was set on the table. "Fine by me. What do you want?"
"What do I want?" Morgan paused before smiling slyly. "I'll tell you that after the race. Find out yourself."
Because I found you…
But that's a tale I'll keep just between us.
For now, I'll bow out in recognition of something that I don't understand….just yet.