Title: Who would have guessed

Spoilers for: Episodes 24 and 25

Fic type: P.o.V

Set during: End of episode 25

From: Ilpalazzo-sama's P.o.V

Warnings: A little artistic liscense used. General OOCness, until I come to grips with the character's personalities.

Excel is... strange, for lack of a better word. I have known this from the beginning, of course, but it must be said that she is very different from all the other hyperactive teenagers I have come across. I have to admit that I do not always appreciate her oddities. They tend to botch and annoy and generally prevent my now ruined ideal from becoming a reality. But in the end it was her oddness that saved me. No one else I know would return to someone who had attempted to kill them. I had previously believed that the love Excel had declared for me was a simple crush, growing to be an obsession. After today I am willing to admit I was wrong. Excel saved me from myself. I quite possibly owe her my life. Yes, she punched me and yes, it hurt, but I felt love in that punch.... or that could have just been eagerness. You can never really tell with that girl.

Where her love and loyalty come from, I'm not sure. I believe I've never really done anything to encourage either of them. I didn't appreciate her willingness to lay down her life for me. That's really where her dedication lay. Excel never really cared about ACROSS. She only cared that I cared about it. If I had asked her to stop pledging her loyalty to the organization, I have reason to believe she would have stopped doing so right away. I feel mildly guilty for having taken her for granted. Perhaps it's because I nearly killed her and nearly lost her for all eternity that I've realized how precious she is. Maybe I'm being caught up in the emotion of the moment. Maybe the punch to my cheek had muddled my brain. Or perhaps her commitment and dedication to me has bowled me over. It could be a mix of all of them, or even none of them. I may have come out of a denial I never knew I was in. Right now, all I can do is dumbly comment on how my face hurts and listen as Excel babbles about how she's ready to accept punishment, even though the only things I owe her are a reward and an apology. Telling her that she's managed to injure me is much more professional, in my opinion, than telling her that I've finally noticed that she's actually very beautiful. Maybe it's because I'm seeing her in a new light, or because she's much calmer than usual. I've had a chance to look at her and admire her face and her smile, instead of viewing a babbling blur.

Instead of her usual irritating cries of 'Hail, Ilpalazzo-sama!' what she said to me before she saved me was true, simple and heartfelt. Not that all of the other things she said weren't heartfelt, but because those words had seemed special. And I smile as I drop her into the pit once again, following closely, thinking that even her insane cries of nonsense sound wonderful now. They convey the energy I see, dancing in her eyes every day.

She's shocked to see me following her and I marvel at how it feels to plummet downwards through the darkness. Almost as if I'm free from everything the world throws at me. I willingly yell stupidly about falling, along with Excel, before pulling her into my arms. She opens her eyes wide in surprise and opens her mouth to speak, but I silence the oncoming flow with a kiss, while the wind whips through our hair as we hurtle away from the past.