A/N: Wrote this entire chapter in just one sitting. I just hope it turned out okay.
Ah, I love getting these instances of inspiration...though it's been a very long time since the last one.
The mood was much lighter, much more cheerful.
Meia had stabilized enough to be removed from life-support. It now was as though she was only sleeping, though it had already been a whole week since the battle.
Still, Jai kept watch on her. All of his spare time was spent at the bedside seat in the infirmary, where he would usually read a book or play music on his guitar.
Sometimes he would notice Meia stir in her sleep and murmur something incomprehensible, and then it would look like she would smile – so slightly that he would be left wondering if he was just imagining it at all.
Even then, it was enough to let him know that the worst was indeed over.
"That voice...so familiar..."
She knew she was supposed to be unconscious, still dreaming, because all that she had been seeing lately were images of her past – visions of horrors and nightmares that have played in her mind over and over again.
This time however, there was a feeling that someone was watching over her from afar but was unable to actually do anything...or maybe she was just imagining it.
Meia supposed she was sleeping.
Unless...she was already dead.
Instead of eternal darkness, she seemed to be drifting in a faint, luminous cloud of aqua blue. There was a feeling of peace, as if everything else was suspended in a single moment while she remained aware.
Surely this wasn't hell...because she had already seen hell.
There was that familiar voice again. More of a whisper than anything, and yet she somehow...knew – knew and trusted.
'Why do you continue to run?'
She frowned. "I do not run."
'Why do you continue to hide?'
"I am the leader of the Dread squadron; the captain of the Mejale pirates! I do not hide!"
There was a minute of silence.
'Why do you continue to lie?'
"I don't...I mean, everything is fine the way it is now right? There's no need to...what is done is done, right?"
"Besides, not like there's anything that can be done about it anymore...they're both gone."
Silence once more.
As if in response, the greenish-bluish haze parted in front of her, to show two silhouettes ahead, holding one another. Both were looking at Meia.
She knew in an instant. "Mama...papa..."
Even though it was only their forms that were visible, she knew they were there...somewhere...
...and that it was all right.
And then, they faded from sight.
Tears came unbidden to Meia's eyes, and she was overcome with a great sense of relief.
Even then, she unexpectedly heard herself say, "No! That's just an illusion! I will not believe it! They are both GONE!"
All of a sudden, it was as though her consciousness was split in two – one part that felt at peace, and another that fought back. Meia knew that what she had just seen was more than an illusion; more like a vision, or perhaps a glimpse into another realm, but one that was as real as Mejale itself.
Why part of her did not want to see, she did not know.
Or perhaps she did...
Meia willed her entire being to stillness, which was no easy task - years of resentment and despair could not be quelled in an instant. Again, she became aware of a protective aura, a presence she could entrust everything to.
After a while – she could not tell whether it had been a few seconds, or a million – she was perfectly tranquil.
'What is done is done.'
Then she realized that she had not been breathing, and she could not draw in air. And now, instead of floating, she was plummeting downwards.
Despite her perilous condition, she did not panic. She COULD not panic. The miasma of blue swirled around her dizzyingly as she fell.
Meia closed her eyes.
And it felt like she suddenly just...stopped.
Slowly, she opened her eyes again. Meia instantly recognized the comforting presence she felt before while in dreaming, and she was greeted by the sound of a guitar playing beside her...
"I want to hear 'What a Wonderful World'."
Though outwardly composed, Jai's heart leaped to his throat. Sure, he had been expecting Meia to wake up at any time, but even then...
"W-what?" He stammered, the huge grin on his face doing nothing to contain his elation.
"'What a Wonderful World'...could you play that?" Meia was smiling as well.
He then started the song. Everything else could wait.