Forever Strong: The Unbroken Promise

A/N: Well, this is the end. Yup, that's right, I'm puttin' this to bed at long last. Normally I'd be all teary eyed, but not now. Oh no! As I type, a concert but thirty minutes from my house is playing involving three artists of which I'd do just about anything to see, and are playing THE SINGLE GREATEST HAPPY SONG IN THE WHOLE DARNED WORLD (which also happens to be the 'theme' for The Brothers Wilder—in my head, anyway). That's right, folks. The "Me and My Gang" Tour by Rascal Flatts is comin' across the continuous United States and has stopped in their home state of Ohio to play… and I'm not there. Where am I? Oh, sitting in a quiet room staring at a computer screen wishing I was there.

…Enough about that pish-posh. Sealed Fates will be updated within the next forty eight hours. That's all I gotta say. Well, that, and thanks for everything, Sheelos lovers.


"Here it is, Origin—"

"If his name is 'Origin', like 'beginning', then why is there a tombstone here?"

She sighs (almost impatiently), "Does it matter?" she turns solemnly to the stone, "...Origin, for what reason have you called us?"

A voice rains down from the sky. It's deep, with a hint of an accent of some sort. Normally, I'd be kinda curious as to the voice and its origin (hah!), but after seeing most of the Summon Spirits and other weird things of this world, I'm just more surprised at that fact that I didn't see it coming. "Pact-maker Sheena, I have called you in regards of a new pact,"

"A new pact!" she exclaims, "But why? Did I break my vow or something?"

"I apologize, let me rephrase that. I have called you here in regards of a new deal..."

The way he says it, it sounds like something someone'd say after betting off something—or someone, perhaps?—in a game of cards, then losing the hand. Luckily, it's nothing of the sort.

"It's taken him sometime, but he's finally upheld his end of the agreement. Now all I need is your word,"

She frowns, "Well, sure, but is he...?" her words trail off as she starts to smile keenly.


Mom turns around hurriedly, I follow suit... and I can't believe it. I feel as if I'm looking into a mirror except I'm older with red hair and it's not me that I'm looking at, but...

He answers her with a kiss—a long, deep kiss. It makes me feel awkward, just kinda standing here... watching them... they probably forgot I'm here...

Eventually they separate—but only if a supernova exploded between them would Mom let go of him—and the man turns to look at me; I try to mask my disclosure and trepidation. All the while Mom becomes a little uneasy with this, but that's not of my concern right now. I'm not exactly thrilled with the idea of this guy appearing out of nowhere, and then frenching my mom out of the blue.

After a moment, he raises an eyebrow and grins like he's won. "What's the matter, kid?" he says, "You look like you've seen a ghost!"

Okay... now I'm a bit angry. "Where do you get off calling me a kid? You're only a couple years older than me, at best!"

She looks ready to intervene but the guy laughs casually; it makes me all the more livid. That was probably his plan, and—damn it all—it's working. "Hehehe, I'm flattered,"

I drop my guard for the moment. Hehehe? It brings back... fuzzy memories from my early childhood that I can't seem to shake... Red, pink, Lloyd and Colette's house, a friend... almost like...

...No, it's nothing.

I withdraw my sword and point it directly at him. "I don't know who the hell you think you are, but I don't like you. Get away from my mother!"

Again, she looks ready to intervene—and again, that guy keeps her from doing so. He chuckles enigmatically and takes a step away from her, holding his hands in the air—but by no means in resignation. "The kid's really protective of you, isn't he, Sheena? How cute,"

"Stop mocking me!" I shout angrily.

"I'm not mocking you,"

I can't bite down my rage any longer and charge at him—my mom's right next to him, but she can move away fast enough, if she knows what's good for her. I am also aware of how dangerous these blades can be to those who can't defend against them properly, but it's not like I'm out to kill the guy, I just want him to get away from us. That's all.

As I thought, she jumps to the side with great haste, while he reaches instinctively to his left hip. Nothing's there, idiot.

He realizes such, and gapes at my mom out of the corner of his eye. "Sheena, you—"

She holds her hands up in defense, "I thought it was appropriate!"

He sighs inwardly but keeps his gaze focused on me. Just as I bring down my sword to strike, he puts up his right forearm to halt my attack as it ends up hitting my hand. He uses his arm to push me back a bit and lunges towards me quicker than I could've imagined, I only have time to throw up my own arm in defense.

Instead, he grabs my sword and attempts to take it from me—and he's a lot stronger than I thought. It takes both of my hands to keep a firm grip on the hilt; soon enough, it turns into a one-sided bout of tug-of-war.

"Let go!" I blurt, "This is my father's sword, and I'm not giving it up to the likes of you!"

He stops pulling—though still holding on with enough strength to keep me at bay—and replies calmly, "And what if your father wants it back?"


"Um, Jay-Arr..." Mom steps in, almost timidly. "This... is your father, Zelos."

I can't do anything but gape at this man—my father? MY father?—with my mouth hanging slightly ajar. But it can't be... my dad's dead! Isn't he? He is! Does that mean... can Origin really bring back the dead? Or... I blink; no, everyone's still here, this isn't a dream...

Simultaneously, I stop pulling back and release by grip on the sword, causing my momentum to carry me backwards until—!

"...Huh? Hey, are you okay? ...Hey!"

"What? Is he okay? What happened?"

"...Don't worry, he's fine. Heh, guess we really need to work on our subtlety..."

"No kidding. Did you even have any clue what you were doing?"

"Nope, just wingin' it!"

Sheena let out an exasperated sigh; at least she knew that he was still the man she married sixteen years ago—and hadn't changed since. She knelt to wake up their son, but Zelos stopped her, saying, "Let him be. He's gonna have a lot on his plate when he wakes up. Besides, I need to talk to you, alone for a while."

"Okay, but just stay right here," she replied, moving to a sitting position. "I don't want him to wake up and think we ran off on him."

"Fair enough." He said, sitting down next to her. He hesitated slightly before continuing, but he did so in a lower tone of voice. "...I heard how... rough your life was after I died, I'm sorry."

"For what?" she said. "You're sorry for dying? Don't be, there's no point in it. You're alive now, aren't you?"

He rubbed the back of his head. "Yeah, I know, I know. But still, I feel really bad for puttin' you through hell..."

Sheena shook her head, speaking finally. "It's over and done with, so don't worry about it." She said, "…But… you know the next couple weeks aren't going to be easy sailing?"

"Yeah," he sighed, "I know that feeling. After my mother died and father left, I had to have Sebastian as my parental figure—and for months I hated him."

"I certainly hope it doesn't last that long. I mean, not that I think it would." She the smiled, "At that age, if I had found my parents, I'd secretly hate them for a long time for abandoning me, but more than anything else I'd be overjoyed to just have them there, y'know?"

"While I can't say the same thing about my parents, yeah, I understand."

Sheena nodded, but inside she still felt unsure. Not about Jay-Arr or herself, but about Zelos. Naturally she was ecstatic with his return—it's not as if she wanted him to leave again—however she just worried about how much of a lifestyle change this was going to be for him, and if he could really handle it after being an inch from a playboy his entire life.

"…Zelos," she started hesitantly; he looked to her with question in his eyes, awaiting her inquiry. "…Are you sure you're going to be ready for this change? That is… I-I mean…"

Zelos saw through her confident pretense to her uncertainty; he didn't blame her. He was actually unsure of how ready he was for this, himself. "In all honesty, Sheena…" he said, "I never—and I mean never—saw anything like this in my future. I always thought I'd die from kidney failure from drinking too much, or from committing suicide or something of that sort far before I'd ever go through with The Ritual of the Chosen." He stopped, looking for the right words. "I think… I thought the former because I never saw myself as much worth to anyone else other than a one night stand open twenty-four seven.

"Now, though, after finding that I do have some worth to others—as pathetic as it may be—" he chuckled, remembering Lloyd's words just before releasing him from the traps before their battle with Mithos. "I realized just how… pointless the life I led before was. …And as sappy and cheesy and whatever this may sound, I wouldn't give up the life with you I have now for anything else."

She smiled teasingly, "What if—"

"Don't—" he quieted her, knowing exactly what she was going to say. "Don't you try and tempt me now, I've made up my mind."

Sheena couldn't help but snicker as she leaned into him, placing her head on his shoulder. "…It's great to have you back, Zelos."

Zelos smirked, kissing her lightly on the top of her head.

"It's great to be back,"