Chapter 28: Epilogue

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Wake me up when September ends by Greenday

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"…Unnn…" Lan clinched his hand over his mouth and weakly climbed to his knees, repelling himself from the hard ground that had seemed to leap up at him and smash into his face. He felt blood running from his nose and the slightly gritty feel of smoke being sucked down his throat and billowing into his weak lungs. His chest felt as though it was on fire, he was continuously out of breath now, not after physically straining himself like before, but all of the time, and he couldn't seem to recapture it. His other hand made it's way to his chest and he staggered over the wreckage and stumbled through the smoke with slow, sloppy steps. In his confused mind he vaguely aware that he was choking.

Where was he going?

Lan stopped, he swayed on his feet, taking in deep swallows of the black air. He didn't know which way he was going, he tried to pry his eyes open but they burned and stung from the smoke and heat, forcing them shut. "Unn." He moaned as he began walking again, he moved erratically, nearly falling with every step and stumbling from side to side. The world was swaying like a rocky sea, he was dizzy, lightheaded, confused . 'Where…where am I…?" Was this still the basement? Was he still alive? He felt as he was floating, like his mind was detached while his body stumbled through the dark with pain and fatigue.

Summer has come and passed

The innocent can never last

Was he even breathing anymore?

He gasped and gasped but no air would come, he wasn't breathing. He didn't feel the pain in his chest anymore, only the world spinning behind his clinched eye lids. He didn't feel himself moving anymore, he barely felt the steel pipe against the side of his face, or the blood now oozing out of the gaping scar across the side of his temple from the jagged concrete he'd nearly impaled himself on. He didn't feel anything anymore, he wasn't even awake.

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Terror, absolute terror. Enzan's mind raced with fear, all encompassing fear. He couldn't pick out one comprehendible thought, only hard feelings he felt with his entire body. He felt the floor he was pinned against rumbling against him, pushing the shards of glass among other things, farther and farther into his body. The sound was deafening, he could feel the wind from the hole in the wall shifting violently from side to side, from left to right, pulling him towards the hole and then pushing him away. He would have screamed had he been able to force the sound out, felt his heart was a balloon that he feared would burst after each pounding beat. He feared his death more then he feared actually dieing, he didn't want to die like this!

"Hold on!"

He heard Tadashi's strained voice yell into his ear over the winds, then he felt Tadashi's arm wrap around his waist and the man sharply pull him backwards, wreckage and debris falling off where it had piled on to his body in a loud clatter. The atmosphere was loud and panicked, cluttered with sharp noises that made Enzan defensive. Tadashi pulled him back into the server room where they didn't feel the winds so much. Tadashi sat Enzan against the wall and he fell almost lifelessly against the wall beside him. "N-no!" Enzan's entire body trembled violently, the pain in his legs were so intense he couldn't move them if he tried, it easily over shadowed the pain from the glass shards through out the rest of his body.

"Enzan, calm down." Tadashi said, he didn't scream it over the winds like before, Enzan could barely hear him over the sound of blood rushing to his ears.

His words did no good. The room spun around him, jarring at a blurring pace, he was so dizzy he was almost nauseous. The frightening noise and forceful quaking made it hard to think strait, the walls seemed to be closing in on him and all of the air was being drained out of room. He felt as though he were having a heart attack, this couldn't be just a simple anxiety attack, he was dieing. "Damnit!" He clinched his eyes shut and his hands balled into tight fist.

"We're going to be alright." Tadashi's voice was strained, but even now he felt an overwhelming calmness, no fear came.

"I'm dead, damnit, I'm dead!" Enzan kept repeating over and over, until he became so choked up he couldn't breathe. He had no doubt Tadashi would live through this, but he… "!!" He felt salty tears running down his cheek, mixing with blood.

Wake me up when September ends

Like my fathers come to pass

Tadashi reached over and wrapped his arms around Enzan, pulling him into a tight embrace. Enzan burred his head into Tadashi's chest, it was soaked with water and blood but he didn't care. The violent shaking made it impossible for Tadashi to be firm and still and his grip was lose but he still felt a stability there. Everything was chaos, the world, his world was out of control, Enzan clung to this stability. "It'll be fine."

The vague feelings of sorrow and guilt now came back so hard and heavy he couldn't utter a word for a few breathless, terror filled seconds. He flinched when he heard things began to drag down the hall under the wind's power, scratching the floors and pound against the walls. "I can't take this!" It became clear to him that his terror wasn't the only reason he was crying. All the shame and depression and guilt and fear all culminated into one overwhelming anxiety attack, he couldn't breathe. "He's gonna die, damnit! They have to kill him! I can't even—" Enzan's voice was choked off by a silent sob.

"I know…"Tadashi closed his eyes and his hands gently rubbed Enzan's back.

" I'm gonna-"

"Don't talk." Tadashi said, interrupting his gasping, air starved words. "Just breathe…just focus on breathing."

Enzan flinched at the loud bang of some object pounding against the wall amidst the howl of powerful winds. He tried to be still but his body wouldn't stop shaking, he'd lost it, he'd lost control of everything he pushed back and ignored, he'd lost control of deeply rooted feelings he didn't even realize he had until they washed over him with a sudden anger amidst the terror and despair. His breathes trembled as they passed his lips, he focused on the pitiful sound as best he could, but his voice cracked with another sob and he finally threw his arms around Tadashi and held on to him as tightly as he could.

And that's when he felt the blood, the warm liquid was thicker the anywhere else, he could feel it running over his fingers from some wound he couldn't see. "?!" Enzan felt Tadashi wince and he immediately lifted his head. Seemingly knowing his new fears before he could even comprehend them. Tadashi rested his hand on Enzan's head and smiled weakly down at him. "Don't worry, just breathe."

And he tried to.

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Blues tumbled ungracefully out of the air like a dead fly choked by the poison of red fog hanging around him. He fell into Zero, and they both pounded into the ground with an audible thump. Zero's fall kicked up a wave of air that swept back the red fog a few feet, and Blues landed weakly on top of him, for the moment he was safe. "Unn…" Blues groaned in pain, the dull ache from his dislocated arm paled in comparison to the ache that saturated the rest of his body from the red fog he'd passed through, he vaguely thought just how right he had been to keep away from it.

Blues pried his eyes open, feeling the thick wetness covering his right hand that had formally wielded his sword. He could feel the warmth of Zero's body against his own, he could feel his heavy moist breaths against his shoulder and he didn't want to move, he would have been perfectly content to stay like this forever. Where had all of his anger gone? It was supposed to make him immune to these feelings? The furry he once created for Zero was now only filled with depression and a crushing sense of imminent loneliness. When Zero didn't move immediately, he knew… He couldn't look, he didn't want to see what he'd just done, and he was conflicted between wanting to hold on to him, or recoiling the horror of feeling the blood and pain.

Seven years has gone so fast

Wake me up when September ends

"Damn…"

Blues flinched when he heard Zero's voice and had to look at him now. "Zero…"

Zero looked up at him with half-lidded eyes and a weak gaze, the sword with an unseen blade was now visible with a coat of blue blood, rising halfway out of Zero's chest where his heart was. How he was alive this long was beyond Blues. "You're an angry guy when you fight, you know that?" Zero's voice was two notches above a wispier, his breathing was deep and steady. "Now why would a nice guy like you be so mad?"

"I'm not a nice guy." Blues' eyes shifted away, but laying beside him he could see Zero watching him from the corner of his eye.

"Sure you are, you were always nice to me."

Hearing him speak like this was like a jolt to his heart, before he probably would have screamed at him for speaking in this tense, as though he were already gone. "No I wasn't." He admitted quietly.

"Sure you were." Zero said with a vague smile, he lifted his head slightly and looked down at the sword in his chest. "And you hit pretty hard too."

A furry suddenly erupted in Blues, he glared at Zero, yelling. The familiar feelings of anger returned, anger at the world, at fate, at everything.. "Stop talking like that! Stop it damnit! I just…" His voice was cloaked off when his throat tightened and a sob shuttered through his body like a spasm he couldn't control. "What the hell are you smiling about?" He grunted coldly, his eyes blurring with more tears.

Zero slowly lifted his left arm, dropping his sword with a low, echoing clatter. Then he wrapped it around Blue's shoulders, holding on to him with as much strength as he could gather. "I know you probably hate me for making you do this…but thanks, really."

Blues began to tremble slightly when he felt the warmth slowly fading from Zero, "You were always a bastard. What the hell are you thanking me for. I…I just…"

Zero's hand found it's way to the back of Blues', pulling the two of them together until their foreheads met and Blues' shaking eyes locked reluctantly with Zero's calm, weak ones. " I'm dying…aren't you supposed to be nice to me?" He half smiled.

Blues glared at him, his quivering eyes began to tremble more. "…"

"Because… I needed you too…I'm sorry I put you through this…" Zero tried to tighten his arm around Blues' shoulder but his weak muscles wouldn't respond, his strength was draining out of him right along with his life. The heat was leaving him right along with the blood seeping from the wound. "If I had-"

"Don't say that, you better not be saying what I think your going to say." Blues said curtly.

Here comes the rain again

Falling from the stars

"Sorry." Zero apologized softly. "I guess even in the end I couldn't get it right. I must be the-"

"I told you before, your not some screw up that makes everybody miserable." Blues spoke softly, half whispering. He swallowed, trying to steady his voice. "Even knowing this was how it was gonna end, I would have done it all over again…just to...be with you."

"You are you a nice guy." He said in that child like voice and that child like smile. "I knew there was a reason I liked you."

"I wish I knew why I stood you all the times." Blues grunted, he couldn't seem to muster up his usual disregarding voice.

Zero's smile shifted from the childish one to a deeper one. "I love you."

Blues' throat tightened painfully and he felt himself choking up, he tried to speak but he couldn't talk.

Zero's eyes slowly drifted close and he found himself drifting forward through some kind of gravity he couldn't describe. "You don't have to say it…" His voice grew softer and softer, until Blues' could barely hear him over his own breathing. "I know…"

Blues closed his eyes when he felt Zero's lips press against his own and instinctively opened his mouth. Then he wrapped his arms around Zero and held him tightly, ignoring the blood of his deed as he kissed him back. Their tongues mingled slowly and weakly, Blues could feel the last of the heat disappearing from Zero's body, leaving a dead cold to settle over his body like the chill of rain. Zero's tongue became still and his head tilted to the side lifelessly.

"No…" Blues stared at him, his body trembling with more violence then ever. "Zero…" Blues let his head fall on to Zero's chest, feeling so empty, so weak, so defeated that he no longer tried to hold back the cries that were forcing their way from his clinched mouth.

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For a brief second he saw and felt everything clearly. Zero could see the anguish on Megaman's face, he could taste the smoke in the air, he could smell the heat and ash from the flames, he could feel the object through his stomach, and himself falling backwards. That clarity didn't last more then a second before he fell backwards into a hanging wire, the frayed end made contact with his back and a burning jolt of electricity tore through his body and made his vision nothing but static. Then all feeling was lost, as though he was disconnected from every part of his body, he blacked out.

He had no sense of time when he awakened, the static was clear from his vision and he was staring up at the ceiling. The pole that had once impaled him was laying to his side. He could have been out for 2 days or two seconds for all he knew.

Drenched in my pain again

Becoming who we are

Megaman sat there completely frozen, he could do nothing more the stare at Zero, first in questioning, then in disbelief, then in horror. 'Oh my god…I just…' Megaman slowly pushed himself up, there was a slight pain in his movement, every tense that came with simply anticipating the use of any of his muscles created a throbbing ache, and when he stood and walked they all became a wave of agony that made him tremble and struggle to keep from crying out. He didn't care about the pain, he was barely aware if he was screaming or not, Zero's still body was all he could focus on. He felt like he was in shock, the weight of it all hadn't fallen on his shoulders yet, even the thought of it, the sight, the very memory of it was like a distant voice he didn't hear clearly.

Though the flickering red glow he found himself staring into Zero, and the usually haunting eyes were staring strait back at him. It made him flinch and filled him with a sudden and unexplained fear. "Z…Z…" Megaman stumbled over his words with his throat trembling. He kept repeating 'Did he feel that? Did he feel all of that?' in his head over and over. The thought of him being mentally there, feeling every blow he landed like a knife in the back, every strike a betrayal.

"Megaman…" Zero looked up at him, squinting to make the blurry image sharper. "Your still here…"

Megaman felt his legs give out and he fell to his hands and knees beside Zero. "Zero…I…I." Then it came at him all at once, a deep anger, a furry even, and a depression that seemed to emanate from his heart. "I'm sorry!" He cried, clinching his hands into tight fist, tears rolling down his cheek.

Zero watched Megaman, studying the anguish on his face. "Don't…" He said in a soft voice, feeling the familiar sensation of life draining out of him as his systems shut down one by one. "This is the third time I've died. I'm not sad any more, I don't feel any more pain." He said, smiling faintly.

"It's not easy for me…" Megaman forced out in a trembling voice. His voice became softer and softer until it faded away. "You can't tell me not to be sad, you can't tell me not to cry. You're my friend. And I just did this to you…"

"You didn't kill me Megaman…I killed my self." Zero stared at the ceiling, a calm, a peace came about him. He wasn't sad, he had nothing in him but a sense of enlightenment, things that were always cloudy during his existence were now slowly being understood at the end of it. "I was dead from the moment I first gave up."

"…I'm…I'm supposed to say something to you…" Megaman said, his eyes were searching for an answer in Zero's that didn't seem to be there. "I know I'm supposed to say something to you but I just don't know what it is anymore." Megaman nearly laughed at himself, some kind of dark humor he didn't understand was found in patches of his crushing depression, usually when he was about to feel worse.

"I'll bet." Zero said, the smile returning to his face. "Don't worry about all that stuff. Really…I kinda glad you're the last thing I get to see, it's kinda fitting." His voice cracked and it was immediately softer and weaker. He felt his head slowly easing back to the ground with the strength to hold it in place fading. "Seeing as how you're the reason I was ever alive in the first place."

"God Zero I…" Megaman clinched his eyes shut and what little strength he had was gone in one breath. He let his head fall on to Zero's chest and sobbed uncontrollably. He was done, he was beaten, he had nothing left. He felt so broken by what he'd done that he wanted to simply close his eyes and sleep and not wake up. Simply existing in such a sorrow made it hard to breath, hard to think, hard to live with himself.

Zero's hand twitched and slowly lifted off the ground, raising with painstaking difficulty until it collapsed on to the back of Megaman's head. "Shh…." He whispered, his words becoming sluggish and slurring. "Don't worry, I know…we're like brothers, remember?" His faint smile returned again as he closed his eyes.

Megaman wrapped his arms around Zero, a strong part of him wishing that he could keep Zero here, if only he held tight enough he could give him some of his life and sustain him. He clinched his mouth shut and aloud no more cries to pass his lips, he simply lay there in silence, listening to Zero's slowing breaths . "Lan's going to miss you, you know."

"I know…tell…him I'm sorry for me…" Zero's words became even more sluggish.

"Anything else…"

As my memory rests

But never forgets what I lost

"Yeah… tell Tadashi…thanks, and…I'm sorry for snapping at him…And tell Enzan….to take care of Blues for me." His smile grew wider for only a brief second before his body went limp and his head started to tilt away. "Good…bye…Mega…"

Megaman waited with out moving, with out speaking, without allowing a single thought to enter his mind. He waited for Zero to finish, but the rest of the words never came. The story of his life maybe. He was here, then he was gone. "Goodbye Zero…"

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…reports that the NWS has finished surveys and categorized the other day's storm as an F4 with winds up to 260 mph. There's an estimated 90 million in damages to the downtown area, the death toll is currently only at one, with hundreds injured. More on this is coming up in our next segment, for now let's focus on the current forecast and take a look outside with our West bank sky tower cam. Currently overcast skies, the temperature is 55 with a low chance of rain. It's looking better for the rest of the week, by late tomorrow all of these clouds will have moved out and we can expect highs in the low 60s. Even better for the weekend with clear skies and temperatures reaching into the low 70s…

"Lan? Are you down there?" Enzan slowly climbed down that ladder, entering the room he'd found what seemed so long ago when wondering the catacomb like tunnels of the Hospital's basement. He was immediately struck by a sense of familiarity when he entered the room, a place only he and Lan knew about, it was special. He was never the sentimental type but this place was…well, vaguely sentimental.

Lan sat on the edge of bed in silence, he flinched visibly when he heard Enzan's voice. "Hey! Don't scare me like that."

Enzan held on to the wall as he made his way over and fell on to the bed, his legs ached from the trip down and he was half out of breath. "It's not my fault your easily scared."

"I don't scare easy." Lan shot back defensively.

Enzan smirked. "Sure, whatever you have to tell yourself."

Lan glanced at him then looked away, both of them remained in their silences, until Lan finally spoke up about what he'd spent a great deal of time thinking about. "Your really going?"

Enzan nodded expectantly. "Yes."

"But why, you don't even want to."

No, Enzan didn't. The last thing he wanted to do was see his father right now, and inevitably deal with the utter failure of his little pet project that he'd deemed simple enough to give to him. Or stand his father's commentary on his current condition and his parental care, which always seemed to be more out of obligation rather then concern to Enzan. It was awkward to really have to sit down and talk with his practically estranged Father, and there would be a lot of talking. He'd gone through this before to a lesser extent, first he'd be concerned with his condition, which was always strangely tense for the both of them. Then he'd be angry, the arguments were the only unakward conversations he had with the man. Then he'd be concerned again, which was insurmountably annoying to Enzan for some reason and would cause another argument. Then he'd have to let his father take care of him, and that always involved him keeping a closer eye on Enzan, which was even more annoying. It would be more tolerable to stay around Tadashi, who he still couldn't seem to make eye contact with after his uncanny display of emotion during the storm. He was embarrassed just thinking about it. "He's my father." Enzan simply shrugged.

"What about your legs?" Lan said, bringing up the now seemingly fixed limp in Enzan's walk

Enzan found Lan's concern for him cute when it would have been annoying from anyone else, Lan always had an idolizing quality when he spoke to him. It made Enzan want to protect him. "They gave me pain medication and I have to go to rehab…this is such a pain in the ass." He sighed. At lest he could still walk…

"At lest you can still walk." Lan said.

Enzan nearly laughed at the déjà vu. "I know, I know." He waved him of dismissativly instead. "What about you? How'd you make it down here by yourself?"

"My lungs haven't given out on me yet." Lan said proudly.

"How's your breathing?"

"A lot easier since the surgery, I still might need that transplant though."

"That's better then before I guess." Enzan said with a nod. "Rehab?"

"Yup."

Wake me up when September ends

Summer has come and passed

Another silence followed, Enzan looked over at Lan with curious eyes. "Why'd you take off like that? I was looking for you, I wanted to see you before I left."

Lan shrugged, staring down at his hands. "I don't know…I just didn't want to see you leave, it's easier if you don't have to say goodbye."

"Hn." Enzan nodded acceptingly. Then he slowly pushed himself on to his feet when he finally caught his breath. "I guess I won't say goodbye then."

Lan stood up also, watching Enzan intently. "What's gonna happen?"

"My father's taking over the project, he's probably gonna lock me in a room somewhere." Enzan said, in his usual disassociative voice. "Oh yeah, your dad's looking for you you know."

"I know." Lan nodded, "Are you…coming back?"

"I don't know." Enzan said…yeah, of course he would.

Lan sighed and lowered his head again, feeling his eyes burn and water. "Oh…" He quickly wiped his eyes with his sleeve, hoping to draw as little attention to himself as possible. "Enzan…are we…"

Enzan smiled softly and turned around, it wasn't depressing to watch him cry, he also found this cute. "Come on Lan, I know we've been over for a while now." He said.

"Huh?"

"I hate to just leave you like this, but you need Megaman a hell of a lot more then you need me right now." Enzan studied Lan's perplexed face, burning the image in his memory with high regard. Then he leaned forward a placed a soft kiss on Lan's forehead. "Goodbye Lan." He knew he definitely had to come back as soon as he could.

Lan rubbed his forehead and glared at Enzan's back, the small kiss had made him feel childish, and realize just how much taller Enzan was then him. "I'm not a kid you know."

Enzan slowly began ascending the ladder, "Yes you are."

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"Damnit." Enzan grunted with frustration, he crawled over his empty and half made hospital bed, padding around the sheets with his hands. "This is getting ridiculous." Enzan grumbled. "Where the hell is my wallet!" Out of all of his problems, this has to the most frustrating thing, his faulty memory.

The innocent can never last

Wake me up when September ends

"You're a genus, you know that." The ever cynical Blues said. "How is it you always managed to lose something everywhere you go?"

Enzan glared, knowing Blues couldn't see him from this angle. "Your not helping!"

"Tch." Blues folded his arms and looked away. "Not my fault your senile.

"What are you looking for?"

Enzan looked back, flinching when he saw just who was behind him "Oh, Mr. Hikari." He wanted to kick himself for being so startled. He looked over the man nervously with his head down, in between stolen glances he saw cuts and scared skin over his face and the visible parts of his neck that were acquired protecting him, still healing. The small folds of gauze held on his cheeks and forehead by medical tape where stitches had been applied filled him with a strange guilt. The subtle and hardly seen budge around his torso from bandages covering his torn back made a weight appear on his chest and a nausea bubble in his stomach in an empathetic remorse. His slightly dark brown eyes where new glasses replaced the broken ones paralyzed him with embarrassment and shame. "What are you doing here?"

Tadashi smiled and rubbed the back of his neck. "I didn't know if you'd be here, I didn't even know you were leaving." Tadashi said. He walked slowly towards bed, looking around the clean room with a slight astonishment of how much dirtier it had been with Enzan as a resident. Enzan wasn't the world's most organized person, there had always been something laying around, stray papers, folders, books, binders, in it's own disarray.

"Yeah." Enzan turned around and sat on the side of the bed, his head tilted away, eyes shifting between Tadashi and any other thing in the room. He hadn't told Tadashi because he didn't want to see him, every time he did, every time he even thought about the man he thought about what happened during the tornado when he'd broken down like that. He thought of that and became ashamed at the unexpected and uncharacteristic mood swing, then he thought of Tadashi thinking of it and became embarrassed. The last thing he wanted to do is be in the same room with the man who he could barely make eye contact with, let alone maintain it. "I guess I forgot."

Tadashi eased himself down on the bed beside Enzan, keeping his back rigidly strait, any movement of muscles would cause a shooting pain to radiate sharply. "So, how are you doing?"

Enzan folded his arms and closed his eyes. "I'm not in a wheelchair yet." Enzan said stoically. Then he peeked one eye open and looked curiously at Tadashi. "…What about you?" He became guilty every time he was around Tadashi, another reason he hadn't wanted to see the man, knowing he'd gotten all of those injuries protecting him. Just the thought of the man so valiantly defending him brought back the overwhelming feelings of fear, the trembling in his body, the sensation of Tadashi's weight and warmth on top of him. Being that afraid and vulnerable…God it was embarrassing! "Shouldn't you be laying down or something?"

Ring out the bells again

Like we did when spring began

Tadashi waved his hand dismissativly. "I'm fine, besides, there's too much to do to be laying down right now."

"Workaholic."

"Your one to talk."

Enzan smirked for a moment, then quickly fading into the ambiguity of his embarrassment. This was too awkward and he wished he could have simply slipped out when Tadashi wasn't paying attention. This was too much for him, all he could think about was if Tadashi was thinking about what he was thinking about.

Tadashi leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees, and cradled his head in his hands. "Blues?" He called out curiously and cautiously He wasn't quite sure how to approach him now.

"Yeah." The navi acknowledged him solemnly.

"You know-"

"That's not necessary." Blues abruptly cut him off. "I'm fine." Had this been anyone else but Tadashi he might have gotten annoyed at his sentiment and condolences. He didn't want them nor did he feel like he needed them, they should have saved them for Zero, not his murder. Though, he knew how close Tadashi was to Zero and vice versa, just seeing the man made him think of how many times he had to endure Zero's idolizing conversations about. Annoying… So there was a bit of a connection he felt with the man, so maybe… "…But…thanks anyway."

"Sure Blues…" Tadashi simply nodded and sat upright. "So Enzan, what are you gonna do next?"

"I don't know, I'm going to see my father." Enzan simply shrugged, not feeling the will or patience to explain it too the man.

"Well, in case I don't see you again for a while." Tadashi smiled in what Enzan could only describe as a rather fatherly way, something full of pride and affection. The man laid his hand on his shoulder and Enzan tensed slightly. "I just want to say I'm proud of you, your determined, your strong, your brave, your smart-"

"Yeah, brave." Enzan half mumbled sarcastically, he smirked slightly and stared at the ground. "I wasn't brave before." He wanted to kick himself for drawing attention to that moment, but something in him felt compelled to audibly dispel that notion of him. He felt as though Tadashi was exaggerating, there was no way he could feel that way when he himself didn't feel remotely that way about himself.

"Your kidding right?" Tadashi shook his head. "There was a tornado outside, and even in your condition you didn't run, that was brave."

"I wasn't brave." He said, he didn't think about it too hard, he simply spoke, he felt badly enough about himself to relinquish himself to the man so he simply wouldn't be built up. "I was terrified, I just stood there like an idiot. You were the brave one, you were calm like it was nothing, your always calm."

"So what? It happens sometimes, that doesn't mean your not brave. I've seen you nearly die in a fire, I've seen you go through a flooded, pitch black underground tunnel even though you could be attacked at any moment. In fact, you were…actually. What more proof do you need? I though you would have realized by now that being brave doesn't mean your not scared. I was terrified the whole time. I was scared you and Lan were going to die. "

"…" Enzan clinched his eyes shut, hating the fact that Tadashi was still watching him. Simply hearing Tadashi say he was concerned that he would die, that he was concerned enough to nearly bleed to death sitting there because he was too weak to move after guarding him. He shuttered at the thought, remembering the thick, warm feeling to Tadashi's blood on his hands, it was haunting, disturbing, and after while he'd just wanted it off. Then he felt his eyes burning again with the familiar itching of tears rising forth. Damnit! Why was he crying, he wasn't sad or anything, yet when he talked about the subject his body seemed to react on it's own. And in front of Tadashi too, why him? Why was it always him?. "It's funny."

"?"

Wake me up when September ends

Here comes the rain again

"You being so concerned for me and all." He laughed, sniffling softly and quickly wiping the tears from his eyes with embarrassment and tilting his head away, staring off to the side. "You were more there for me in a 2 months them my father my entire life, it's kinda funny." At lest to him it was. He felt a swelling in his chest expelling more tears, now he really did feel like crying. "Damn, I'm losing it… I guess what I'm trying to say is…thanks for being there for me all the time. It seems like every time I slip down lower your there. Your kinda…I don't know, like a father to me."

'Hn…' Tadashi knowingly wrapped his arms around Enzan's shoulders in an offer of comfort, he could feel the boy tense again and his body began to tremble softly. "Well…I want to be there for you." He said softly.

"I'm starting to hate you." Enzan said with a smile breaking through while he wrapped his eyes again. "Your always there when I'm weak like this, it's embarrassing."

"Nah, I don't think anything less of you." Tadashi shrugged. "This is just what happens when you hold everything in all the time, it just comes out sometimes and you don't know why. Your still a strong guy."

"I don't know where your getting all this from, I'm not strong, I'm weaker then I've ever been, I can barely walk." Enzan sniffled and lifted his head looking away and glaring at the wall.

"You seem pretty strong to me." Tadashi said absentmindly. "Some how I think your not the type of person I need to reassure of their own strength. If you really were weak you would have given up already."

That was pretty good, Enzan had to admit, that didn't sound clichéd at all, it sounded sincere actually. "…Well I just hope my real father sees it your way." His smile grew a little wider.

Tadashi slowly eased himself up of the bed and stood up, careful to disturb as few as the muscles as he could. Such as task was impossible to do with out pain. "I've never seen anyone work as hard as you. " He said with that same pride. There were a few things he wanted to say to Enzan, but he decided he'd made him uncomfortable enough for one visit, the boy still hadn't looked at him strait yet. "If you ever need anyone to vouch for you."

Before he made his way to the door something caught his eye. "…Um…Enzan, you ere looking for something right?"

Enzan lifted his head, the change of subject and mood made him feel embarrassed again, since he still felt a heavy oppressive cloud over him. And the fact that he had just opened up to Tadashi again replayed over and over in his head until it became a crowd of judging insults. He immediately regretted talking to Tadashi altogether. "Uh…Yeah."

"Your keys, they're sitting on the bathroom sink."

Enzan sighed. "Thank you." He really was getting senile.

! - ! - !

! - ! - !

Enzan was certain he was going to be late. He'd spent more time then he'd cared to keep track of laying curled up into a ball on the freshly made up bed, crying silently to himself. He wasn't even sure what he was crying about half the time. The swelling in his chest felt like this immense pressure that had rush to the top and he couldn't contain any longer. An overwhelming depression had kept him immobile. Over what he couldn't be sure, a wash of different things had struck him.

Falling from the stars

Drenched in my pain again

After long he climbed off the bed, stumbled to the bath room with blurry eyes, and splashed his face with water until he felt normal again, though the shame and embarrassment still lingered.

"…" Blues wanted to ask if Enzan was alright now, but he didn't speak, he closed his eyes and folded his arms silently.

Enzan knew what Blues wanted and he was thankful he didn't. "…" He didn't respond himself, but Blues understood his answer.

"Don't forget your wallet." Blues finally said, as Enzan was wiping his face and heading for the door.

"Oh…" Enzan back tracked a few steps to retrieve it, it was the reason he came back after all, and then left his room for what he hoped would be the final time.

The elevator was still out of order, seeing as they had just finish scraping the wreckage out of the basement, leaving Enzan to take the stairs. It wasn't an easy trip, making it down 7 flights of stairs would have normally been no problem for him but his legs began to ache horribly after the third one down, and by level four he was on the verge of collapsing.

"Enzan!"

"?!" Enzan flinched when he heard Megaman's sudden voice. "Megaman…?" When Enzan heard the former Navi he eased himself down on to the stairs, holding the railing tightly. He may have managed a few more steps, but he couldn't have stood still and let all of his weight rested on his legs, he knew he would have collapsed.

Megaman ascended the stairs from below, pausing to look over Enzan carefully before sitting down beside him. "Are you alright?"

"You know…" Enzan leaned forward and rested his head into his lap, "I'm getting really sick of people asking me that."

"Oh, sorry then." Megaman apologized, then looked away.

Enzan was silent, focusing only on catching his breath. When he felt the ache for air had diminished enough to speak again he lifted his head and leaned back against the stairs. "What are you doing down here?"

"Nothing really, I went outside for a while, it takes a long time to get back in since they doing construction and all." Megaman said. His voice was distant and his eyes were tired.

Becoming who we are

As my memory rests

Enzan wouldn't blame Megaman if he wanted to do nothing more then sleep for a while, it must have been tiring dealing with Zero. And with all the repairs being done on him by Tadashi (who seemed to have liked nothing better to completely involve himself in some task and lose himself in it as he so often did) he didn't get much sleep. Not that physical fatigue was the reason he was so mentally distant from everything, no, he had plenty of things placed between himself and the outside world. "Megaman?"

"Hm?" Megaman glanced over at him.

Enzan looked up at him timidly, then looked beyond the railing and down the stairs. "…You seem…tired." Enzan wanted to kick himself for that. What he so awkwardly tried to convey was his concern for Megaman. But these things weren't ever easy for him, he never was able to express his feelings except in anger or annoyance, he never learned how to articulate anything he felt and show it to anyone when he needed to. He'd become keenly aware of his flaws over the last few weeks.

"Yeah, A little." Megaman said absentmindly.

He didn't understand, Enzan felt foolish and embarrassed for expecting him too. "Never mind." He gave up. He was speaking a language Megaman didn't even know to look for. Something based in common experience and synced feelings, in subtle body language and awkward words with different meanings. "I'm sorry." He simply blurted out, forcing himself at this point.

"Sorry?" Megaman didn't look at him this time, his stomach churned nervously and he felt his heart began to beat harder with anticipation. He didn't know exactly what Enzan was apologizing for but he had a feeling.

"For…Zero." He answered timidly.

"Why are you apologizing to me? I'm the one who…"

And for a moment a sync formed between them. "Yeah, I know." Enzan nodded. "Sorry about that, I know how aggravating that is."

But never forgets what I lost

Wake me up when September ends

Megaman rubbed the back of his head and his eyes grew an alarmed alertness. "Well I uh…you're not aggravating me-" He quickly said, not wanting Enzan to get that perception. "-I didn't mean to-"

"I know, I know." Enzan waved his hand dismissativly. "It's annoying as hell hearing stuff like that all the time."

Megaman's eyes were tinted with a timid cautiousness, but also with a silent agreement. "Hmm…It's just…misguided. "

"Your too nice for your own good." Enzan laughed softly.

"No, I mean I appreciate it really." Megaman said. "It's just… "

"That people keep telling you that all the time, in that same voice." Enzan said with resentment.

"And that look." Megaman agreed. "But, It's not their fault it's…well..."

"Annoying." Enzan let out a deep breath and relaxed a little. "I guess I can't blame anyone, what else can they say?" If Enzan knew the answer to that question his life would be a lot easier.

They sat together in silence, contemplating the complexity of the emotions people felt, and how collectively incapable they all were of conveying the feelings of concern, sorrow, sympathy, and utter yearning for connection. When people simply want to let them know of just how strongly they want the other to feel better they seemed to be limited by the options of "I'm sorry." Or "Are you ok?" or other phrases that don't accurately enunciate empathy.

"Your leaving?" Megaman asked.

Enzan nodded. "Yeah."

"Are you coming back?"

"I don't know."

"…Hn." Megaman nodded with a vague understanding. "I'm sorry to see you go…it's gonna seem even more incomplete with out you two around."

"…" Enzan hadn't really though of what it would be like after he left, he imagined it would feel nearly as empty for them as it would for him. A depressing loneliness came over him at the thought, he'd be away some place that should have felt like home but didn't, separated from what had become like his…his family at such a time. 'Damn.' His body seemed to feel things of it's own accord, his eyes began burning with coming tears no matter how steady he held his mind. "See ya Megaman." He said hastily, quickly standing up and beginning his descent down the stairs.

"Hey wait." Megaman called out, standing up abruptly. "I'll come with you too the door."

"No!" Enzan quickly objected, shaking his head. "Don't…Don't worry about it ok."

"But Enzan-"

Enzan didn't slow down a bit, he tried to speed up in fact. "Just…don't."

"…" Megaman was still with indecisiveness for a moment, before he inevitably complied, completely perplexed. "…Goodbye Enzan…"

Summer has come and passed

The innocent can never last

! - ! - !

Enzan pushed his way out of the stairwell door and pushed it closed as if something was pursuing, then he lead against it, sniffling sharply as he quickly wiped his eyes with his arm. He could hear the chaotic sounds of the first floor around him, the clamor of voices, the noises of construction, all of it blended and faded into an unnoticed ambient mesh. 'Why am I crying again!' He clinched his jaw tightly and his face contorted in anger, more tears running down the side of his face. He grunted in aggravation, banging his head against the cold metal.

"…" Blues folded his arms and closed his eyes again, waiting silently.

Enzan laid his arm across his eyes and sucked in deep breaths, trying to keep himself from sobbing and sniffling.

"It won't be forever." Blues finally said. "You can come back later." An uncertain attempt at consoling him. When it came to his words Blues was as ungraceful as Enzan was, such a statement wouldn't make him feel better, it made little difference, and he was certain Enzan had probably thought all of that out.

"I know that." Enzan said curtly, feeling angry from the shame of having Blues watch him cry again. "I just…don't want to-"

"Yeah." Blues nodded with understanding, Enzan didn't have to say it, and he didn't want to make him.

Enzan let his arm drop to his side and he stared up at the ceiling in silence until his blurry vision beginning to clear. Then he lifted the P.E.T from his waist. "What about you? You want to stay?" He asked.

"Huh?" Blues looked up at him questioningly. "What? Why?"

"I mean there's no reason for both of us to leave." Enzan said. "You can stay with Tadashi."

Wake me up when September ends

Like my father's come to pass

"That would mean you'd actually have to go back and talk to him." Blues said with his own amusement.

"Yeah, funny." Enzan rolled his eyes. "No, really, you could, it would work out well."

Blues' voice became a little quieter. "And leave you to go crazy by yourself. No way." It was the other way around actually, He wasn't sure if it was possible for Enzan to need him as much as he needed Enzan right now. With the crushing depression inside of him that seemed unbearable, he'd started to latch on to Enzan with out even realizing it, and Enzan always sensed what he needed. He knew when he wanted distance and when he needed to be close, when he didn't want to talk and when he needed to talk, when he was slipping down and needed someone to catch him before he broke completely.

"I'll be alright." Enzan knew he'd be miserable with out Blues, but he didn't care about himself right now, his concerns were of Blues' well being. He didn't want him to feel the same sense of separation he did. "It'd just be easier for you if you stuck around them."

"Tch, No it wouldn't." Blues said in his usual unconcerned way, trying to seem as unaffected as possible. "Why break up the team?" He shrugged.

"…" Enzan tilted his head back again and closed his eyes. Team…they were a team. He was his best friend…which is why he pushed so hard for this. "Blues are you-"

"Damnit, it's not gonna bring Zero back." Blues grunted, and he could practically feel Enzan tense at that name that was always used so carefully, as though it were dangerous.

"No, it wont." Enzan said softly. "I know nothing will, but that's not the point. I…I…" Enzan's mouth hung open slightly as he tried to form the words, but he lacked the capacity to express what he felt for Blues. He doubted any words could have displayed the depth of what he felt.

"…" Blues let out a soft sigh, he understood, just as he always did. He was depressed, sometimes quietly, sometime angry, sometimes crushingly. Enzan was depressed, sometimes silently and withholding, always aggravated and easily agitated, and sometime he simply broke down. Because as indifferent and cold as he showed himself to be, he wasn't always strong enough. And as stoic and callous as Blues showed himself to be, he wasn't as strong as he might have seemed. This closely guarded secret was something only the two of them understood about each other.

Twenty years has gone so fast

Wake me up when September ends

"…" Enzan slowly sank down to the ground and sat, his head tilted back over and his body still. His chest felt heavy, like a weight pushing against his heart and lungs making it heard to breathe. They could talk about the sadness and vague loneliness they felt, the now utter disconnect of being torn from their new family, or just how horrible they felt about the things that happened, or the things they did. But that was something neither of them did.

5 long minutes went past. Blues sat with his arms folded and his head down, looking as though he was sleeping. He wanted to sleep, god he just wanted to sleep… But that would be too easy wouldn't it? "You're going to miss your flight." Blues said.

"…Hn." Enzan dropped his head and with a sigh he grabbed on to the door handle, it was hard, his legs trembled under the strain. But he was patient, he'd done this many times before, he knew the strength would come if he just waited long enough. After nearly slipping with his weakness he managed to stand and take a step forward. "Let's go."

Wake me up when September ends

Wake me up when September ends

! - ! - !

! - ! - !

That's it. It's finished! The story is over, I hope you enjoyed. I'm glad some of you stuck it out unto the end. So, review, tell me what you thought of it. SDI

That's it. It's finished! The story is over, I hope you enjoyed. I'm glad some of you stuck it out unto the end. So, review, tell me what you thought of it. SDI

And since this is my last blurb, I'd like to thank everyone for giving me the will to finish. I have to say I really liked this story, when I first wrote it, it ended at chapter 12, but it felt incomplete. Too many things left undone. So last year I went on, and I returned a better writer then when I did the first part, and I tried to be as expressive as I could, sometimes I wasn't quite where I wanted to be, but other times I was so captivated in the scene that I couldn't stop. The scene in chapter 20 with Megaman and Lan in the hosptial was one, but I have to say 21 was my favorite. When zero died the first time I was just in the right mood with the right music going.

It's strange how music can really drive, not the scene, but the emotions behind it. It helped a lot. And i suppose if you were wondering I was listening to 'Time' by ben folds five when I came up with the actual death scene. I could give you the play list for most of this story and I have to say most of it was pretty depressing. The scene from day 3 in chapter 17 was also a favorite, when Tadashi and Zero were in the kitchen. And the one with megaman at the end was pretty good foreshadowing I can say. A lot of people seemed to notice that I was going somewhere, I was just moving really, really slowly for a while. I was setting up the base for development, I really focused on Zero since he was the main focus of the story.

The scenes at the end of chapter 18 and at the end of 26 when Tadashi told Zero about what happened what is father and the scar on his back was something I was thinking about, I spread it out pretty far for pacing. As the story came closer to the end everyone became increasingly desperate and reaching for some kind of connection with Zero, Blues the most out of everyone, I can't really count all of their scenes that I liked.

The weather was also a subtle thing through out the story, starting with chapter 20 (I think) I started putting more emphases on it, until it came to a head in chapter 27 and even more so in 28. A really tough competitor for my favorite part had to be in chapter 25 when Enzan was wondering through the flooded basement, this part and chapter 28 really added an element of fear to Enzan, at least I tried too.

And, finally, the thing I kept trying to give the sense that Zero was gonna die, a very common thread through out the story. He died about 3 times, the first time he came back from the '201102 virus', the second time Blues brought him out of it. I wonder how many of you thought Zero would survive in the end and how many of you kinda sensed he wouldn't. Even when Tasdashi couldn't figure anything out besides a way to kill him. Really, tell me, I think it would be interesting to what you guys thought, what did you think about Zero, what was your favorite part, what did you like and what did you hate? What did you want to see more and less of? What did i do right and wrong? It would be helpful for future stories, I am improving, but I'd be so much better with the right feed back.

You guys have been a great audience, thanks for reading, and do forget to hit that review button and tell me what you thought.

SDI