My last chapter! Sorry it took so long to finish this story... but now it's done! Thanks to all who have reviewed, I truly appreciate every one! Got questions on the story? I'm still open to making a Chapter 11 to answer any questions about gaps in the story or anything else.
Well- read on!

Chapter 10: Every Rose's Thorns?

"We're back." No one could tell who said it though. They arrived back in the room that they had left from. Ayane lie in the corner asleep. She looked exhausted. The hand she had used to open the portal was red in swollen. The gate machine was still on, but alarms were indicating an overload to the system. Reiji quickly acted to turn the warning lights off. Even Shun couldn't do that to a gate machine.

Miu, who had just regained her feel for the ground, lunged towards Ayane in an attempt to wake her up. "Ayane? Ayane please wake up!"

Her eyes opened slowly, but then closed quickly as she winced in pain, pulling her hand into her chest to protect it. "Damnit that hurts."

Reiji grinned, lifting his prosthetic arm towards her. She grabbed in and allowed him to pull her up. "You're lucky, Ayane, that you didn't lose any limbs. You were close to having your gate absorb them."

She was hunched over as he said that. "Yeah, I'm okay."

Miu's head snapped up. Her voice sounded urgent, "Where's Rose?"

As she spoke, the small girl, still bathed in a dull pink glow, floated down from her hiding place in the corner of the room. Miu smiled and reached for her, but drew her hand back as she remembered what had happened last time she had tried to touch the girl. Reiji focused on Rose, a sad smile displayed on his face. "The gate of Apparition, the gate that truly requires the most sacrifice."

"How so?" Satoka brushed her jeans off as she stood up from the dusty place she had landed. "We all have the make some sort of sacrifice, what makes her so special?"

Reiji took his hand and sympathetically ran it over her pale head, though he touched nothing. "When this gate is first opened, it immediately absorbs the user's physical body, leaving only a ghostly form behind. We can only see her because we're gate keepers, but a normal human can't."

Ayane was holding herself up against the door, wincing as she tried to comfort her arm, "She's the one you've been looking for, isn't she, Reiji?"

With a nod he continued explaining. "Rose, as you saw with Ayane, can enter the subconscious mind of any human. If you noticed, your mood should be slightly better around her. Because of this power of happiness she holds, she is our best weapon against the remaining invaders. Any evil thoughts in the subconscious mind should be calmed by her."

"She won't be lonely, will she?" Miu looked concerned as Rose listened in. "I mean, since we're the only ones who can see her…?"

Ayane looked up at Rose, her pink light made her smile, even in the midst of the pain her hand was bringing her. "She won't be, I'm sure."

Rose spoke for the first time since she had left the Gate of Wind. A shaky voice was all she could muster, "Its not lonely, Ayane talked to me, her thoughts, they weren't so bad. She showed me her bell and her dad. I liked him."

"I did?"

"Ayane," Reiji commented again, "It's your subconscious thoughts, keep that in mind."

Satoka looked up at her too, "Then how'd she get into Ayane's gate?"

Miu nodded. "Yeah, I was wondering that too."

"And why did she block it?" Ayane's voice had returned to a more dull tone. She watched as Reiji opened the door to his office and walked towards the window. It was slightly more tinted than the other windows. Miu's eyes followed him as they all stepped out of the small room into the larger one, wondering why they had remained in there so long. That window. Miu watched as Ayane sat down on a couch, still clutching her hand to her chest. That window was destroyed when that Invader girl came.

"I'm not sure." Satoka's head shot up as Reiji said this; she tried to remember what they had been talking about. "It would seem that her gate interfered with Ayane's, and made it unable to open properly." –He lifted his palm up and looked at it- "When our gates went against Ayane's and Rose's a portal was opened. If you noticed, Ayane's gate wasn't open while we were in it; we forced our way in with shear force. When we were in the gate, Rose was able to go into Ayane's mind because there was no gate blocking it. Make sense?"

Ayane was listening, but didn't respond to his question. Miu, who was standing beside her, nodded lightly. Rose floated gently around the room, the oddity of having a flying person around excused to the lot of them. She went over to Satoka and watched her flick specks of paint on the wall. Her sweet voice drifted around the room softly, but truly on Satoka knew what she said. "Are you sad?"

"Not really…"

"Are you sure?"


"Well, if you ever need me, I'll come and help you. People's thoughts make me happy. They share the good things that have happened to them with me."

Reiji looked over his shoulder at Rose. "And there you go. That's what she does. She can bring forth happy memories in people's minds. They usually counteract the dark thoughts that potential Invaders have, and thus reverse the transformation."

The mood in the room was stale. The long pauses in the awkward conversation left a cold feeling in all the participants. Rose seemed to be the only one who had any life in her.

With a smile, Rose glanced over happily at Ayane. "It was her, she showed me my power."

"I did?" Ayane spoke though clenched teeth. "How so?"

"Your thoughts, they explained everything. You told me that it's okay to miss my family, and that they still care. And so much more."

"Really." Ayane grunted as she stood up and headed towards the door. She looked at the knob for a minute before turning around to face the people who were all looking at her. "I have someone I need to visit."

No one tried to stop her as she swung open the door and walked out. Satoka waved her hand carelessly at the remaining few and followed Ayane out, not bothering to glance at Rose.

The girl hovered near Miu, almost waiting for her to leave. Miu smiled at her, linking her hand together near her waist. "Sorry Rose. I think they're just tired, they get kinda grumpy then."

"Really?" Rose squeaked out in response. Miu nodded, still smiling, "Yeah, I know I am. It was hard, using so much gate power."

Reiji sat down at his desk and began clicking away at his computer. Miu waved at Rose and began walking towards the door. She was stopped when he called out. "Rose. You need to go to the Junk Yard at the edge of the city. A large cluster of Invaders just showed up."

"Hey wait!" Miu chirped up, "You'll wear her out."

Reiji grinned at the girl, "She's a ghost, she'll be fine. Either way, it's best that she stay happy for awhile. It may take her some time to adjust. With us being the only ones who can see her, life may be a bit lonely."

"Oh." Miu smiled warmly at her again, "Hey Rose, if you ever want to come see me, I'd be glad to keep you company."

She smiled back at Miu and suddenly vanished out the window. "It's odd"- Reiji spoke directly to Miu-"She just lost everything in the world and yet, she doesn't seem saddened by it."

"I think," Miu paused before continuing, "That maybe, she knew the whole time, that when she opened that gate, she would lose it all."

Reiji didn't respond.

"Well," she giggled nervously, checking her watch. "I kinda left my friends at the karaoke club, I should get back to them."

Reiji's chair groaned as he stood, "I'll drive you over, I bet you're tired."

She noticed how he limped slightly, but nodded anyway. "We can stop and get something to eat to, I'm sure your friends have already eaten."

"Wow, thanks Reiji!"

They walked out the door, leaving the room empty.

The sun set behind the buildings, casting a wondrous glow of reddish light on the streets. She smiled as she watched it. The people were stirring, returning home to their families after working the day. They shuffled through the streets, children swerving around them in play. She watched a group of suited men walk from an office building, laughing, shaking hands, and then continuing homeward. The children of the city shouted at each other from across the streets, giggling as they attempted to cross in the still traffic.

She sat on her familiar window sill, periodically looking in on the familiar house, at the familiar people, all plastered with an unfamiliar expression of grief. She couldn't have been more than 3 feet from them, but they couldn't see her. They would never see her again. They would be the first she'd help. Before she went to visit their souls, she looked back over the people below her. They, the people. The wonderful people. Such happiness and company they would give her.

She loved them all already.

She would listen to everything, their sorrows, their fears, their joys. And she, she would share what she knew too, until, until they were all happy again. She wasn't alone, not anymore. And this, she decided, would be the way life would forever be, day by day, month by month, year by year. She would allow the joy in their souls to bloom like the most brilliant Rose.

Please review- tell me how you thought the ending was, etc. Thanks again everyone! 3