((Spiritua Masquerade: Bad news: This is the last chapter of Forsaken. Good news: There's a sequel in the works! –cheers-))

Chapter Twenty-Seven (Kratos' PoV)
The Epilogue

It has been two weeks, two days, twelve hours, thirty minutes, and fifty-five seconds since we left the island. It has been two weeks, one day, seven hours, fifteen minutes, and seven seconds since we arrived at the Renegade Base. Yet never in my four thousand years of life has time traveled any slower. I could drag it faster by a dull fishing hook attached to my eyelids, that's how incredibly slowly it creeps.

The moment I left the island, I knew things were going to be different. We were no longer equals, fighting for survival. The bond we forged on the island was amazing, yet so incredibly fragile... I knew Yuan had his Renegades. I knew he was the leader of a large mass of people, and I knew he'd be caught in a power-struggle when he turned up alive after all. I knew he would have an uncanny amount of tasks to do.

I was right, too. A man had risen as leader, and he wasn't too fond of being usurped. Yuan is fighting tooth and nail, working without cease, to ensure that his Renegades remained so.

But I thought I could deal with that. I thought I might even be able to help him. I thought it might just be Yuan and myself, just as it has been for the past few weeks, just as I have grown to depend on it being.

But it's not.

It's been five days, twenty-one hours, six minutes, and twenty seconds since I last spoke to Yuan. The conversation was five minutes long. Since them, I've only caught one fleeting glimpse of him. He didn't even look my way.

I'm stuck in solitary confinement. I was once a member of Cruxis, so the Renegades do not trust me, and it would lose many of the men's support if Yuan let me roam free. They would question his leadership, and turn to his competition. Yuan claims he's pleading my case with his men... But if he were, I doubt they would still keep me in this little room.

There's nothing wrong with this room, in concept. There are plenty of books, and there's a window with an amazing view. The bed is so comfortable I couldn't sleep on it for the first week, and I can have food delivered at the push of a button.

But I am alone. And that is what pains me. Me, who lived alone for almost three thousand of my years. Two weeks, and it's like I'm addicted to his company.

No, I retract that remark. I'm not addicted to his company. I just crave it whenever it isn't in my grasp, and experience a feeling of ecstasy when it is. Yet it never is. He promised it would be, yet it isn't. How come, after four millennia of logic and reason forced into every fiber of my being, I can be so put out of place for a single promise unkept?

I look into my eyes in the mirror on the wall... They are the same hazel, to match the auburn of my hair. They are, theoretically, as they have always been. Yet at the same time, they aren't. Before, they were cold. Like orbs of polished stone, for example. Yet now, I see the emotion, the passion... Things I haven't seen for a very long time.

And I could escape any time. It wouldn't be hard... They left me armed with my battle garb. But I do not. I cannot. I don't know how to explain it... It's like the pact with Origin that bound me to this planet for so long, thus does my bond with Yuan hold me to this room.

And every day, I wish we were still on that goddessforsaken island. There, even though we were hunted, we were free.

I sink to my knees, suddenly weary. My head hangs in a sensation I can only describe as loss, and my unkempt bangs fall carelessly over my eyes. And, due to the sudden drop in altitude, a lightheaded sensation washes over me. I find the room spinning slightly, and I throw a hand down to the floor to steady myself.

Faintly, I hear the mechanic whirring of the door sliding open. I weakly lift my head, gazing up at the intruder through the tangle of my bangs.

"Oh Kratos," a wonderfully familiar voice sighs miserably, and I recognize the form as Yuan as he steps toward me. "Kratos, I'm sorry..." Crouching down, he wraps his arms around me, and on instinct I lean heavily into the embrace. My dizziness fades, and I look up at him clearly for the first time in a week. Yet I have nothing to say. Nothing to say that could even begin to encompass the range of emotions I'm feeling right now.

I've noticed, by the way, that I'm a man of extremes. I either have no emotions, or I'm overwhelmed by them. The latter applies to this situation, and in turn, renders me speechless. He seems to understand, pressing his face to the top of my head and holding me all the tighter.

"I'm so sorry..."

I weakly shake my head, before allowing it to come to rest against his chest. Within it, I can hear his heart beating steadily, and it seems to calm me somewhat. So when I gaze up at him once more, I can find the words to speak.

"It isn't your fault, Yuan..." My voice is slightly gruff from the lack of use, but neither of us mind. "Some things... aren't your fault."

No. I know it probably is entirely his fault. I'm sure he could have slipped out in the night for just five minutes to see me, so I wasn't alone for seven days straight. So I didn't mean that it wasn't his fault.

But I did mean that I completely and entirely forgive him. I feel no resentment at his absence, even as he apologizes for it, even before he apologized. I only feel an unexplainable happiness that he has come at last. Yuan once again seems to understand. He's good at that, understanding. Which is a great relief, for at times like this, it is impossible for me to discern one thought from another, let alone clearly voice them.

And we sit here, in this wonderful embrace, for the good part of an hour. For the first time all day, I glance to the window, and find it nighttime. The men must all be sleeping. Good. I press my ear to his chest once more, allowing his steady heartbeat to soothe me... And I find myself in a sleeplike state, aware, yet at the same time, not a bit. I know not how long we remain together, only that he reluctantly ends it as a light creeps in through the window to mark dawn. He slowly, almost painedly slides his arms from around me, using them to ease himself up off the ground.

I am uncertain whether I am fully awake or not, only that, when he steps wordlessly toward the door, I reach out toward him with a hand and ask him not to leave me. He stops, turning to face me once more, the look in his eyes so tortured I'm uncertain if any physical wound could do it justice. And then he nods. Nods in affirmative.

Stepping back toward me, he crouches down so he's at my level. I gaze him steadily in the eye, for once uncertain what his mind is concocting. He tentatively takes my hand, bringing it up to brush the backs of my fingers against his soft cheek, before allowing it to lower back to the floor.

"We will be free of this place within a week, Kratos. I swear it."

And he walks out the door, not once looking back.

Yet I have faith in him. I trust him to keep his vow.

I'm no longer afraid to say it, either:

I love him.

((Spiritua: Short, I know, and in first person, but it's intended to be where he's at now, having told the tale of Forsaken to you all in past tense. Make sense?

Meowzy: Nya, no Yuan epilogue or anything like that. This really is the last chapter of Forsaken. But keep an eye out for the sequel, okay? I'll mention it on my profile when we're almost ready to start uploading, and stuff like that. Thanks for bearing with us all the way to the end!))