"Faith"

Faytsophia. If you can stomach them, then welcome.

Set in Aquios, some years after SO3. Disclaimers apply.

It was late and her brain simply refused to fall asleep. Sophia found this highly annoying. Tomorrow would be another day of traversing through Elicoor II and her body required all the sleep it can get.

She'd just arrived earlier that night, discreetly with Fayt (who would probably be well rested the next day). They were welcomed with open arms, by both Queen and livery (Nel was off in Airyglyph for some reason of the sort).

Adray was present and Fayt was the unwilling recipient of his undivided attention as the veteran suspected the youth of having a crush on his precious Claire. Sophia had felt like laughing out loud at the suggestion, which was quite unladylike of her. Fayt had done nothing but delve deeper into the world of 4-D and his father's research. He'd ignored everything else, save the occasional visit to Elicoor (now sanctioned by the Federation, as long as he laid low). She'd only been able to talk to her blue-haired friend again in person last week, after a month of conversations that consisted of 'hi, how are you and thanks'.

But now, as she thought of it, while staring at the marble ceiling, maybe there was another reason for his timely visits. Aunt Ryoko had mentioned that he had brightened up the moment she suggested a vacation. Maybe there was someone. This sent a knot of jealousy through Sophia, but she chalked it up to her current wakefulness. Fayt could go fall in love and live happily ever after with anyone. Not that she didn't want it to be her, of course she did. But anything that made Fayt happy made her happy.

He was just so sullen lately, as if the events that occurred two years ago were just yesterday and they're still fighting computer-generated monsters day in, day out. She only wished he would smile his old reassuring smile he used reserved for comforting her. Now, he rarely smiled, and when he did, they were weary ones. She always fought down the urge to wipe them off his face--they depressed her more than his knit eyebrows and calculating frown.

But what right did she have to impress on him happiness? Well, they'd known each other forever. As his oldest friend, she ought to do something drastic, and soon. Fayt had been subtly dropping the teeniest of hints regarding another go at 4-D: his research on the elusive dimension was progressing; then there was that conversation she walked into between him and Maria about genetic enhancement. Lastly, there was this visit. It was the perfect opportunity for him to drop the bomb on her. She suspected he'd pull her into the equation sooner than she expected.

Later, sleep was still elusive. Thinking about Fayt kept her awake so she stopped trying to fight the thoughts. She had gone through weeks without proper rest; losing sleep on this day would not make much of a difference. She'd gone out of her room though– It was suddenly stuffy with worries and unwanted cares. The castle temple was her best bet--the library would simply tempt her into reading in the dark.

The temple was the loveliest thing in the castle, next to the gardens. Its marble walls represented strength yet elegance while the sound of the rushing water from the waterfall gave a sense of life within the alcove. It was the most peaceful place to be.

She was surprised to find that it was not empty. From her vantage point on top of the stairs, she spied Fayt in one of the pews. Fayt, with his eyes closed, kneeling, hands entwined in a gesture of prayer. She held her breath at the sight of him, hesitant to descend and intrude upon him. Somehow, this scene was too personal for her to bear.

It was not his presence that disconcerted her; It was the position he was in. In this day and age, very few still kept to a religion. Everyone believed in a code of ethics, but the concept of a higher being was not as celebrated as it was before. Scientists, like her father and Fayt's parents did not carry that belief. She did to some extent, and was deeply troubled when they fought Luther. But Fayt...

He'd been scarred. After returning home to Earth, Sophia had gone around trying to rebuild. Fayt had helped, but soon fell into a depression she had barely managed to pull him out off. Then he'd focused on 4-D and his studies in Bachtein.

Yet as she watched him, Sophia could not sense anything amiss. He seemed to generate the same peace the temple did, and after much thought, she decided to come closer.

He opened his eyes when he felt her come close, and gave her the most open and friendly smile she had seen on him in ages.

"You're still awake." She tried to sound accusing, but she couldn't seem to keep the smile out of her voice. His smile was a grin now.

"Well, so are you." He stood from his kneeling position and sat on the pew. Then he beckoned for her to sit beside him. She obliged.

"My thoughts were keeping me awake."

"Me too."

There was an awkward silence that stretched between them, as if an angel had passed. Sophia tried to think of something, anything, to say except the question that was on the tip of her tongue. But Fayt beat her to it.

"Fayt." He was still smiling.

"What?" She wasn't sure if she heard him correctly.

"My name. I've always wondered why my parents gave me such an odd one." He shrugged, and affixed his gaze on the altar. She looked at it too, because she can't think of anything to say to his statement.

"It could mean a number of things," he continued, "but now I am certain it means 'fate'. Destiny. Like it was preordained that I would discover 4-D and meet the Creator." Sophia flinched at his choice of words and bitter tone. The smile on his face was gone and there was a slight maniacal gleam in his eyes.

"Fayt..." She moved to touch him, to dispell all this talk and return him to his former state. He let her touch but showed no sign of relenting.

"Sophia, don't you wonder too? What's to say that beating Luther is the end? Maybe our powers are still needed somewhere. Someone is bound to continue that man's doing. Sphere still has control of this world," he said, fists clenched so tightly they were almost white. "And it's all a game to them."

"I know." She was not a stranger to these thoughts. "But Blaire is in charge now. Surely, she won't commit the same mistakes her brother made."

Fayt was silent, but the color in his hands had returned and Sophia took this as a good sign. She inched closer, attempting to envelop her friend in a hug. He certainly needed one.

His shoulders were shaking slightly, but he was warm, and she was grateful as his warmth joined her own. It was quite chilly this night and she'd forgotten to bring her jacket. He looked at her as if the same thought had been running through his troubled mind.

"Thanks."

"No problem. You looked like you needed it." She laughed, and tried to pull away, but he held on. She looked at him in confusion only to find desperation and pain in his eyes.

"Just a little longer," he said, as if a plea. She nodded, and smiled.

"Mmmm." Fayt felt fingers playing with his hair. Sophia was entranced by it and had taken to stroking it languidly. "You ought to brush your hair more often."

"Mmm...okay."

"And sleep earlier. You look a little pallid."

"Mmmm..."

"Fayt, are you still listening to me?" No answer. She chanced a look at his face only to find him asleep, still wrapped in her loose embrace. She sighed, and retracted her arms from him. She then repositioned herself beside him and moved his head to lean on her shoulder.

She closed her eyes, and this time sleep came naturally. Yet before her eyes fluttered to a close, she whispered to her slumbering companion:

"You know what I think? I think your name means faith. Belief. Hope. My hope. Sweet dreams, Fayt."

Fayt smiled in his sleep.

in the Japanese version, Fayt is spelled as Fate.

This may or may not be a series of oneshots circling around this timeframe of mine. Please tell me what you think.