Title: Standing at the Edge of the Earth

Author: Haze

Disclaimer: I don't own anyone from Vision of Escaflowne. Too bad…

Author's Note: This is just a try, okay? This used to have a song but I've since replaced it with a poem. I tried to write the poem/lyrics close to the story since the previous one practically sang about this one. It was perfect for this! But alas... Bold texts are for the free-verse poem/lyrics. This is dedicated to all V/H fans and of course those who supported my D/H fic (Intruder Alert). You know who you are. Anyway, enjoy and please tell me what you think.

From the corner of his eyes, he saw Merle run away from them, eyes brimming with tears she didn't dare shed. Merle had promised Hitomi she wouldn't cry this time.

Hitomi just smiled at Merle's retreating form. Perhaps she was thinking of how much had changed since the first time she set foot in a place, where her very own home shone in the sky, side by side with its moon. Van could still remember how she and Merle didn't get along that well at first but that had changed - everything changed.

"You will come back again, right?"

She looked at him, her raven-haired prince, and smiled faintly. "Of course, Van. I always come back. And you'll be here right? Coming back again and again to fetch me when I return."

He nodded; he always hated this part of her visits and as cowardly as it sounded, he couldn't stand it. "Well, since I need to do many things, I guess I'd just go now."

She nodded and hugged him, whispering in his ear, "I'll come back. I will, Van."

When she withdrew, his eyes were shinning, the light from the two moons above highlighting them. But because she knew him so well, she knew the light had nothing to do with it - his emotions were in havoc.

She smiled half-sadly and half-amusedly and he realized she knew what he felt. But it wasn't one-sided; he also knew how she felt - knew that when she first came here, they both didn't expect to be standing here so close to each other in more ways than one. He could still remember how arrogant and unpleasant he had been to her even after she saved his life. But now…

"You're not about to cry, are you?" She asked in a teasing voice.

He looked away; he hated crying. But he knew that if he stayed there, he will break down. He didn't want her to go back, especially not after his dream last night of her never coming back. "I'll go now. The blue light's a quick trip. You wouldn't need me standing here like some fool."

I prepared for this moment a thousand times
You're about to spread your wings
You tell me you'll come back, but my heart starts to wither anyway

"Van, at least quit being so grumpy," she said, still teasing him. "It's almost as if you really want me to leave in a snap of a finger. What? You're going to throw a party after I go?"

He sighed. "Why do you make things difficult?"

"Me? Make things difficult? Hey, you're the grumpy one here."

Their eyes met, maroon against green. The forest of her eyes never ceased to enchant him and remind him of home; he loved her eyes as much as she loved his wings. He wished he could keep her there with him so he could stare into those mystic eyes, find her soul and be one with her forever.

"It's really obvious that you want me gone," she continued in a mock hurt voice. "Fine, go and fly then. I'll just stand here for a while and watch you go like you're the one leaving and not me."

It was strange. He never thought he'd be so attached to someone, be connected to someone that he could see what was hidden beneath. He felt so certain that underneath her happy face, this was hurting her as much as it was hurting him.

Assurances, jokes, and smiles
Don't you know your eyes are shining with tears?
This goodbye is not easy

"You know, maybe I have to find ways to tie you down."

She stopped her chattering and looked at him. He almost regretted being on the aggressive side tonight. But she smiled at him, taking his words as a joke and twisting it to be one. "Ropes wouldn't hold me down. If it did, maybe I wouldn't be able to visit here. My loved ones back on Earth are always out to watch if I'd disappear again and again."

"So that's why your visits are becoming rare these months."

"Yeah." She clasped her hands behind her back, looking very much like the short-haired girl of the Mystic Moon he met so long ago. "But as I said, I'll come back. You know that, don't you?"

He stepped closer to her and tread his fingers on her now long hair. "I know. And I'll wait, no matter how long it takes you to come back."

She laughed. "What if I come back after fifty years?"

No matter what
I'll stay here waiting for you
Even if it takes you forever

"By that time, you'll have the amusement of seeing me fly here with a cane for later use when I land."

She laughed again. He loved her laughter; it brought him hope.

"It sounds to me that you would have a family in tow. A big family at that."

He couldn't help but smirk. She was pushing for him to tell her that he… he had feelings for her and that he wouldn't want a family that she wasn't in. But he wasn't good with words, she knew that pretty well. And yet, she still teased him at times.

"Maybe. But don't worry. I'll make sure that you'd meet every single one of them, from my wife to my children, and even to my grandchildren."

She rolled her eyes. "Whatever you say, Van."

They fell silent then. It was awkward and he didn't know what to say, what to do…

There's so much to say
But I don't know where to begin
Just know, I'll always root for you

When he couldn't take the silence, he lost to his impatience. "You could stay with me forever."

She looked at him and shook her head. "You know I can't."

"Of course you can. Just stay and don't ever go back to the Mystic Moon."

He knew he was being selfish. But he just… he was growing tired of feeling pain whenever she left again and again. He couldn't even feel happy whenever she'd return without wondering when she'd go and leave him again, without wondering when she would come back… or if she would come back at all.

"Van," she said softly. "You don't know how hard it is for me to leave you."

"Then don't leave," he said, his old domineering attitude seeping back.

"But it's also hard for me to leave all those people I love back at home. I want to stay but I… I have to leave." She unclasped her hands and hugged him again. "Please understand."

Maybe this moment is our last
Maybe that's why we're both in tears
But know this

He hugged her back. It was so hard to keep himself from giving in to tears. Again his mind raced with the questions he'd been asking himself since the first time she went back to the Mystic Moon.

Why did it have to be a girl who was from a world that's so different from all that he knew? Why did it have to be a girl who he couldn't keep forever?

He might never find the answers to those questions and even if he did, perhaps he wouldn't even understand. But he knew he didn't have to understand. Because it was this feeling that made everything alright. It was this feeling he had for her that made him hope even at the worst times that somehow, they'll pull through.

Perhaps this was the reason why every time she left him to go back home, he still came back again and again to this place outside Fanelia, where she first landed with him long ago. Perhaps this was the reason why he continued to hopefully hold on to her even when he knew he couldn't have her by his side all the time.

"I'm sorry for being demanding." He forced back his tears and tightened his hold on her. "I'll wait… forever."

No matter what
I'll stay here waiting for you
Even if it takes you forever
to come back home
I'll keep hoping and wishing
for your return one day
Even if it takes you forever

"I know."

She drew back and her tears glistened in her eyes, unshed, their eyes mirroring each other's.

"Perhaps next time, I'd get to keep you longer, huh?"

She smiled. "Yeah."

Maybe this moment is our last
Maybe that's why we're both in tears
But know this

A blue light descended from the sky and it started to pull her upwards.

"I'll come back, I promise," she said as she floated away.

He couldn't stop himself and before he knew it, his wings had spread and flapped in the air. He flew after her and reached his hand out.

She smiled and reached her hand out in return, meeting his. And in the last moment of their hands touching, he knew his feelings for her well enough. He knew that it wouldn't disappear even if they didn't see each other anymore.

And as their hands slipped away from each other gently, he smiled back at her, silently telling her that he will keep his promise.

No matter what
I'll stay here waiting for you
Even if it takes you forever
to come back home
I'll keep hoping and wishing
for your return one day
Even if it takes you forever

The blue light disappeared, taking her away from him.

But it didn't matter. For whether she came back to him or not, he will still wait for her; he will still love her.

I'll be waiting

That was his promise to her and even to himself.

I'll be hoping

And that was a pact worth an eternity.

I'll be wishing

He knew that for sure.

Because you promised me that you will

Till then, my Hitomi…

Come back home