Disclaimer: Shotaro Ishinomori's, not mine.

Warning: Spoilers for the ending of Chou Ginga Denenstu.

Aren't I supposed to be dead?

Of course, he realized, he could very well already be in the afterlife or limbo or whatever had been waiting for him after he activated the bomb in his body and just not know it yet. Everything was bright white, but he couldn't see anything. There was nothing, but he felt like he was falling. It was silent, but he could hear whispers. Voices.

Voices of the people he had left behind.

It's not fair. We make it this far to rescue Ivan but lose you... it's just not fair...

It's okay, Francoise. Wherever I am, I'm fine. I have no problem with sacrificing myself if it means saving the eight of you.

You son of a bitch! You promised me you'd come back, but then you go and blow yourself up! It didn't have to be this way, how dare you die alone and leave me...

I'm sorry, Jet. Guess I won't be seeing you after all.

They were still in danger. He didn't know how he knew, but he did. And it frustrated him to no end, wanting to help them, but knowing he had done everything he possibly could when he had taken out the enemy ship and himself along with it.

I want to be there with them...

That's because you still need them. And they still need you.

... Hilda?

I'm sorry, Heinrich. God, I'm so sorry, I just want us all to go home and be safe and okay...

Joe.

Don't worry. I've waited this long; I can wait a little longer. Just remember... I love you...

"I love you, too."

It was too bright to see, so he shielded his eyes with the gun that served as his right hand. Only it wasn't a gun anymore, it was the same as it had been... when he was human.

Confused, he sat up and patted his arm, checking for the familiar metal joints that kept the limb together. But they weren't there anymore. He stared at his once again real hands in disbelief. Was he still dead? Had everything been just some insane dream?

"Stop it!"

Jet? He listened again, and sure enough it was Jet, his voice faraway and chocked with grief and very, very real. As he leaned against a nearby tree, he could feel the relief wash over him. He still wasn't entirely sure what had happened to him, but he didn't necessarily mind. They were all here, and they were all safe. He had really saved them.

Looks like I'll be able to keep my promise to you after all.

Knowing she could still hear him, he whispered a quick 'thank you', and then ran off to greet his friends.