It's dark, Take. It's been dark ever since you died and Lunar came. The asteroid field that my planet has been reduced to does not have even enough gravity to orbit the sun properly. It's been two hundred years since you left, and yet I have only circled the sun of Asu thrice.

Oh. The asteroids. You died before those. I'm sorry, it's difficult for me to sort through things. I shall start from the beginning, which you really never knew.

I was born of a fragile woman. She died shortly after giving birth to me. Sometimes, when I'm asleep, I can almost feel her arms around me, supporting my head, filling me with a feeling that all will be safe and warm and mother forever.

I was seven before I knew that her name was Illyria. Apparently, she was named after the great and honored Queen Illyria of ages long past, who had loved a man before being betrothed to the heir of the throne of Asu. That man was banished to Eden, where he named his entire kingdom after his Queen. Many generations later, a warrior from that kingdom won a war and was famous for all time. That is Eden's story, not mine.

Illyria is a perfect name for her. Her hair was red, but darker than mine, and it was as far as her ankles before her difficult pregnancy confined her to her bed. Her eyes were grey, and intelligent. She laughed much of the time. All these things I was told, when I asked about her.

Curious, not to find any recordings of her in the audio-visual libraries. I would have liked to hear my mother's laughter.

I'm sorry that I weakened her. I'm sorry that her last months were in a bed. I'm sorry that I lived, instead of her.

After my mother, there was no one. Tasteless food at every meal, bland dolls around every corner, blank faces on the Veil. I talked to the Veil, not the voices that came from beyond it, though I know now that those people in the white suits were just as real as I. The Veil simply seemed to project the outside world onto itself. The Veil encouraged me to live. It was a friend. It told me to believe that things could be mother again. I wanted to kill it.

The disease was discovered during my mother's pregnancy. I have never taken a breath without the guilt of so many lives on my head. There has never been a day that I have not, at least once, thought of the numbers and symbols that didn't add up to a human soul. You remember those, don't you, Take?

At night, the Veil was quiet and dark. The outside world didn't exist. The people, the research, the disease itself were gone. At night, nothing that defined me outside the lifeless walls mattered anymore. I was alone. I would always be alone. The dolls didn't care about me; it was a logical impossibility. They mocked my emptiness with their own, made light my torment over contact by touching me at every opportunity. They weren't warm. They weren't mother. They were nothing. I destroyed them.

It was a logical course of action.

On the Veil one day, I looked out and saw a person that did not have light hair and blue eyes. That person was you, Take. You, who quickly grasped concepts that had taken me my lifetime to develope, and made connections faster than you could say them aloud. You, who found time between thoughts to show me things that every person knows as part and parcel of growing up outside. You gave me basic human knowledge.

You weren't like the others. You were almost a brother to me, showing me how the world worked. I valued you more than my own life. You were the gateway to boundless knowledge.

Your light died the day that you were told of the disease. You still smiled and showed me things, but you wouldn't laugh anymore. You had become one of them. I mourned you that day.

The research failed. The people's spirits failed. The search for the weapon that could kill my friend the Veil failed. Everyone died. You died. Asu died.

I was alone. The world on the Veil was still sunny, but no one smiled or showed me anything. No one came to fix the dolls. And, even after all this, even after being trapped and left behind and broken, the Veil would not part to let me die with everyone else.

I broke everything in the castle, trying to rip the Veil. It would not. I despaired. I wanted only to die. And yet I ate, and I slept, and I lived. I lived with the sole goal to die.

The day I wished, for a moment, that I could live long enough to fall in love, that was the day on which the Lunato Mercury made itself know to me. You had found it, Lunar said, but had not told me about it. You had wanted me to live, instead of doing everything in my power to get the weapon and finally end my suffering.

With Lunar, I killed the Veil. I rushed outside, running until I had to take huge gulps of air, praying for the disease that would bind both you and the people to me somehow. We could be brothers in death, if not in life. I didn't die. The disease had long before disappeared.

Lunar also told me where to find your body. It was twisted and rotted when I found it, but I took you to the place where Serenanede was buried. Do you remember her? She always laughed. My mother's laughter might have sounded like hers. Whether you remember her or not, the both of you are buried together. You'll be together forever, like love, only Lunar says that that's wrong.

Twenty years passed. I grew stronger. Lunar and I learned to fight. Asu became meaningless. I destroyed it.

It was a logical course of action.

The orbiting slowed. I had to build a machine to give my castle gravity. I ate. I slept. I lived.

Lunar stopped my aging. Where I had wished for death, what irony for me to have the capacity to live forever. I wish that you had been the master of Lunar. We could have been together longer, even if I had been forced to stay in the palace.

Thirty years after that, Raguna came. He told me of a war being fought, and sought my help. Through him I met the other masters, and the sages.

Raguna himself was quiet, tactful, and the head of the ninth world's leading nobility. I might have been good friends with him. I have never been forward, however, and he did nothing of which he was not sure. I respected him, though he is dead now.

Kura was loud. He tried to annoy me, I ignored him, and he was the one annoyed. He was a child still, the opposite of me. I often thought tht he now had the childhood that I did not. I hated him for it. I hated him until I found out about his wife. The sympathy tempered the hatred, and now they are balanced. I can tolerate him for a short time.

Idou tried to hear my story. He did not earn it, as you did. I did not like him much. He was, in truth, always agruing with Kura.

Didius Dei never did anything but spout death from her mind. Lunar took me away quickly. I had some hope for her. She was interesting. I was beginning to suspect that Lunar was keeping me away from the people that I could fall in love with.

Gaviella was funny. He wore dresses. He was always smiling. I got along well with him, until his first view of a battlefield. He became empty, one of the people that believed I could fix everything.

Meishie is very difficult to describe. He has an air of underhanded tactics, but everything he does is aimed to help. It is a study in human nature to observe his careful manipulation of the course of history. Not many men can watch a battle thousands of times, and know that they will watch it thousands more, without rushing to change everything.

It was through Meishie that I met Kagami. I had never heard of the Organic Gold. Kagami just stood, smiling, not trying to introduce himself, not trying to make me talk. We stood staring at each other for a very long time. He held out his left hand - his golden, sparkling left hand. I didn't touch it, I didn't dare, but I wanted to. I wanted it so much, Take, that Lunar reached out for me and cautiously rested its blade against the Organic Gold. It tole me that Gold was warm, like human skin. I ached. Kagami laughed.

After that, we were 'friends'. He kept saying it. Why was he always with me? Because we were friends. Why was he always making sure I ate? Because we were friends. Because he cared. That was something. Someone wanted to talk with me, instead of work on the dolls or fight a battle. He reminded me of you.

Over the few years I knew him, by giving him a straight answer to any question I asked, I told him my story. Once I realized how much he knew, I told him the entire thing in one sitting. Most of it hadn't occured to me until the retelling. I told him about my mother. I told him about you and Serenanede. I told him about the research, and Asu, and the wieght of everyone's hopes. I told him what I thought about the others. He suddenly knew me better than I had ever sought to know myself. And Gold touched Lunar, the point of which I did not understand until Lunar explained it as a gesture of gratitude.

All was the same from then on. He didn't see me differently. He didn't see me as one that had failed. I still ached to touch him.

Not very long after, I was speaking with Meishie and referred to Kagami as 'my friend'. He stared at me until I processed what I had done. It made a warm sensation rise in my heart, just before I fell asleep. When I woke up, Kagami was there, smiling. My lips turned very slightly. He was happy.

We would talk for hours. About the wars, about the others, about our pasts. Mostly, we spoke of his little sister. She was beautiful. She was compassionate. She was going to save the future. He loved her, obviously. He loved her more dearly than I could ever hope to match or deserve.

Talking with him, or being around him for any length of time, made my chest ache. No matter how much it hurt, though, I always waited for him in the morning. He was always the first person I found after a battle.

About the same time I admitted I had fallen in love with him, I figured it out. He had come from his time to ours with no intention other than to help his sister. He was only the prophet, not the messiah. He had no plan but to influence a war and make things possible. He intended the war to be the death of him.

I told him my suspicions. He laughed, and I ached, and he told me that I was wrong. Yes, he planned on dying, and yes, his sister was the center of his plan, but no, he still had to do something before he would leave.

I asked why he was going to die, why it had to be him.

Because it was his destiny. He had to do this, for all the people on all the worlds. Besides, I wouldn't be left alone - I had Lunar, and he was going to leave Gold for me.

I told him that I loved him. I wanted to take the sadness out of his eyes, but I couldn't. I am too broken to fix someone else.

Thank you, Seeu. I love you, too. I'm glad that you finally have something that you want, and I'm sorry to be the one to deny you. You don't know how strong your soul is - but my sister will show you. You'll forget all about me.

I wanted to ask, later, if he had meant it when he said that he loved me in return. I did not. He was going to die for all the people in all the worlds, how could I matter? How could he love me any more or less than anyone else? I was worthless. He didn't mean love the same way I did.

I ate, and I slept, and I lived. Every breath, so heavy for the lives of my people on Asu, brought his death one little bit closer.

In the last great battle, it happened. Raguna was inside the Geopyrogate's flames when his wounds took his conciousness. I ran after him, prepared to die as long as Kagami was going to do the same. Raguna was safe, but I was not, and when I looked up, Kagami was shielding me.

The last task of my savior. He was going to die to save me.

I was still alive when Pryo took back its flames. My love was not.

I'm alone now, Take. I sit in my castle, waiting for his sister to be a messiah. I have a long time to wait. Until then, I will stare at the numbers and symbols. I'm going to finish the research. I'm going to bring Kagami back, in some form.

The ache to touch him is still there. It's burning me. The thought that I never kissed him makes me feel as though I betrayed my emotions by not pursuing them.

I don't have you, or Serenanede, or Kagami, or my mother. I have failed everything and everyone. Maybe I can redeem myself with Kagami's hope for the future.

It's dark, Take.

--------------------------------------------

I'm sorry for making him so depressive! This has been on my mind for a while, and I had to get it out of the way. Anyway, review! This is a very obscure fanbase, and only my second story for it...