Yes. I'm alive. :-P Hope you enjoy the next section.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: You know it. I know it. Not mine.


by Shinto Red

Part 5:

The salt water slipped into him. He coughed, trying to
clear his air flow. He took shaky breaths, and forced himself to sit
up with equally shaky limbs. He slowly opened his eyes, though he
forced them shut momentarily for they stung. He tried a second time
with more success. He found himself next to a wall and leaned against
it while he caught his breath and took in his surroundings.

Everything was covered in a red hue from the emergency lights. The
shadows revealed the damage. Using the wall as support, he lifted himself
once again to his feet, though his world spun once he succeeded with
his goal. He grabbed onto a dislodge pipe on the wall and somehow was
able to support his gelatin knees.

" Wonderful. Just damn wonderful. " he muttered to himself.

He leaned against the wall once more and rubbed the bridge of his, all
the while keeping his eyes shut and taking shallow breaths. His head was
throbbing and he wasn't sure he would be able to contain his last meal in
if the room continued to move like in a fun house.

He opened one eye carefully. It was moving slightly, but not as bad
as before. He dared to open its twin. A pain filled groan filled the air.

" Who is it?" shouted the man while he winced.

" It's me, sir. " came a soft response.

He stumbled and tried to find the source in the dim light. The sub
shook violently and he slammed against another wall, knocking the
breath out off him. The groan grew louder followed by choking sounds.
Everything shook again and he fell onto his hands and knees.

The pounding in his head escalated when he heard moaning next
to his ears. He turned his head to find a uniformed adolescent beside
him, struggling to keep his head above the ankle deep water that flooded
the vessel. He removed his shirt, balled it up and placed under the
young man's head. He grimaced when he saw the state the young man
was in.

" We need to get you out of here. "

He tried to think of a way of moving him. " It's too late, sir. "

He looked into those green eyes and he knew. He turned his head away
slightly and shut his eyes. " No. "

"I'm afraid yes, Takashi. "

Takashi opened his eyes to find himself in a personal library with a fire
crackling. A man with snowy white hair, whose back was to him, had his
head slightly tilted back while he gazed at a large portrait containing a
man, a woman and a little girl. The girl had honey colored locks with
startling forest green eyes. The old man turned to face him. He had
the same colored eyes as the child.

" I have lived my life... "

Takashi felt like he had swallowed lead. The elegant old man turned
around once again and walked up to the portrait and laid a gentle hand
on the image of the child.

"... and I have lost it."

Takashi got up abruptly from the fine leather chair he had been sitting
in. "No..."

" I am dead. "

"No. "

He took a step forward and felt soft gentle fingers on his face. The
familiar touch made him freeze. There was the distinct aroma of a
familiar floral perfume. Honey colored hair brushed passed his fingers.
He looked up and found himself looking into a pair of warm forest
green eyes.

" Takashi..." whispered a feminine voice.

Takashi gasped for air and buried his face in his hands. In between
his fingers he caught a glimpse of those eyes and quickly reached out
and pushed the framed photograph face down onto his desk. A persistent
buzzing filled the office, pulling him away momentarily from his
thoughts. He sat back in his chair and rubbed a hand over his face
before pressing a button.

On the screen of his computer appeared a young man with wire framed
glasses and close cropped hair with a hint of a frown on his face. " Are you
alright, sir?"

"I'm fine." he said in a nonchalant tone.

The young soldier's frown didn't disappear. " You have a call from
Admiral Watanabe. It's urgent. "

Takashi let out a sigh. "Connect us."

"Yes sir. "

The youthful face that had been on the screen just a brief second ago was
replaced by the aged, stern face man with salt and pepper hair and a cap
similar to his own. The two men saluted one another. " Hayase, let's cut to
the chase... "


Nine year old Misa said good bye to her driver and got out of the vehicle
with the tinted windows that usually took her to and from school. With her
key in hand, she wiped her feet before unlocking the front entrance to her
home. Crow's feet appeared on the face of the white haired woman who
greeted her with a warm smile.

" Hello Misa. How was school today? "

She gave her a small smile. " Ok, Tsuna-san "

" There's a snack in the kitchen... "

"...that I can eat before starting my homework." finished Misa.

Tsuna chuckled. " You know me so well. You're father would finish
my phrases as well when he was boy your age. "

The front door swung open suddenly and the uniformed Takashi came
rushing through. "Dad?"

He came to her, placed his hands on her arms near her shoulders, gave
her a peck on her forehead and quickly went into a room. The startled
Misa turned around. " What are you doing home so early?"

"There's a major earthquake warning coming in between now and tomorrow.
I've been ordered to go to handle the costal regions across the island.
They say it's going to be a bad one and I want you and Tsuna-san to be
evacuated to a safer area. The driver is ready to take you and her. Take
whatever is necessary and quickly get going.


"...Moscow and Stockholm have been destroyed as well... Volcanoes
have suddenly sprung up and erupted in Canada..."

Takashi blocked out the sound of the television anchorman. The past week
had been hell as he and the other brass had been trying to figure out just
how to handle this mess. He was just fortunate that they didn't assign
him in the end to check out the crash site of the object. Though the
country had been hit badly, it was far better than what had happened
across most of the world.

Misa frowned slightly, hugged her teddy bear tighter and turned to her
right side. Takashi placed the papers down on his desk. He picked up
the blanket that had fallen off the couch in his home office that she was
sleeping on. He gently placed the blanket on her and planted a soft kiss
on her forehead.

Tsuna came in with a tea tray and placed it on Takashi's desk. She walked
up to him and gave him her trademark warm smile. " I see she finally
fell asleep."

He gave her a small smile. "Yes."

" Quite a stubborn girl, like her father. " she said softly in good
humor. " I think it's safe to take her back to her room. "

" Yes, I'll take her up. I don't want the possible phone calls and
communication links to wake her." he said." Then again, she seems to
be sleeping quite well with all the noise from the television. "

He carefully scooped up his daughter, teddy bear and all, and went up
stairs. When he came back down, he heard frantic knocking on his door.
Takashi pulled out his pistol and carefully crept to the front door. Though
the military forces of the Rim Pac Alliance had been able to keep
some form of law and order across the country, things were still chaotic
and there were those who decided to exploit this period through less
than honorable means.

He carefully peaked out the peep hole and found a man with a mustache
and a UN Navy uniform slumped against the outer door frame. Takashi's
eyes widened and he put away his pistol. He quickly opened the door and
the man nearly fell on his face if he hadn't caught him.

"Bruno? "

Tears were streaming down his face. " ...Moscow...destroyed...They
are gone..."

Memories from when he met Takashi at the bar all those years ago. When
he first met Sakiko...Takashi's eye's widened as the realization hit him.

" Flight 393 to Beijing, final call. " came the nasal voice over the
loud speakers.

Takashi felt a lump in his throat as he stared at his blossoming
daughter. ' I can't believe she's twelve...'

Misa tried to blink back her own tears as she pulled her backpack
onto her shoulders. She looked up at her father. " is it. "

" I'll see you when you come back on your breaks. And it's a very
good junior military academy..."

Misa sniffled. " I know... that's why I choose it. "

" Yes... "

"Final call. Flight 393. "

Takashi pulled her into a tight hug. " Have a good flight. Call me
when you get there. "


Comments: or review.