Author's Note: I don't own Escaflowne, only my ideas. Please enjoy and review! I would love to hear your feedback.

The sorrow had pulled her here again. Her ability to empathize had always been strong, some said it even contributed to her power of sight. By feeling as well as seeing the present, she was able to mold a more accurate future from the present. When she decided fate, there were no surprises, no revolts against destiny, only acquiescence.

The emptiness didn't seem to bother any of the other guardians, but it was screaming out at her. If this present continued, only despair would follow. Yet, none of the players seemed to have any desire to change their current situation. In addition, the guardian of the dragon was gone, missing. If the guardians of Gaea were indifferent to the imminent destruction, then what could she, a weaver do? She didn't have the power to change the will or character of a person, only to read them.

Pushing a strand of honey blond hair behind her head, Hitomi let her breath come out in a long deep sigh. Of those who wove the future, she was one of the strongest. Together, the weavers wove the fate of the humans that lived below Atlantis. The futures they wove were not permanent. Rather, each weaver wove a possible future, a future man chose depending on his actions. However, Hitomi's future was usually the path chosen by those humans she wove for. Though she had the gift to weave the present as well as the future, her power at sight could not be denied.

Other weavers wove the present or the past, and it was these tapestries that those that wove the future relied on to create the future. But it was her family that was the strongest. Together with her sister and brother, they made the trinity: past, present and future. She wove the future while her sister Yukari depicted the present. Her brother Amano pick the strands of the past that affected the present and future.

Currently, they had been assigned the task of weaving the story of Fanelia by their mother. It was Fanelia that had drawn her out of the safety of her home in the center of Atlantis to the rocky cliffs that overlooked the world below. Fanelia was crying and soon it would burn. That was the image her fingers itched to stitch into the cloth that sat at her loom. However, Hitomi had found that her heart fought against such a vision. She had woven death and destruction before, but this was different. The possible destruction of this rural kingdom hurt her heart in a way no other image had before.

"'Tomi! We have been looking all over for you! Mother says she can feel the wheels spinning. We are needed now."

Green eyes turned the meet the worried brown eyes of a fellow weaver. In a quieter tone, the owner of the brown eyes continued. "You are not suppose to be here. There is nothing we can do. Just let it be."

"You can feel it too then Yukari?" Yukari only placed her hand on Hitomi's shoulder as an answer. "It doesn't seem fair. We have turned our back on them. They shouldn't have to suffer such a fate because of our shortcomings."

"Their guardian knew the risk when she leaped. It was out of our control. Besides, we are not to blame 'Tomi. We are not their guardians, "

Gently, the hand on Hitomi's shoulder became firmer and led the honey blond weaver away from the viewing cliff. Once she could no longer see the village below, Hitomi grasped Yukari's hand for support. Together they hiked the distance back to the land of the weavers, situated on a steep hill in the center of the celestial land. They had much work to do and neither wanted to dwell on the dark gloom covering the small kingdom they were leaving behind.

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"Lord Van?"

He had heard his name the first time, but he simply lacked the strength to respond. Keeping his head down, he finished tying the last leather strap of his armor. It had been the last strap that was tricky. It wasn't until that last strap needed to be tied did he realize the true meaning of his situation. Dead. They were all dead and now it was his turn to fulfill his kingly duty. A duty that had never meant to fall on his shoulders.

"Van?"

The title was only dropped once she was close enough so that only he could hear.

"It'll be okay Merle. Until I come back, you're in charge."

He had kept his head turned away from her the entire time. Taking a deep breath he plastered a smirk on his face. "Don't be too much of a pain," Turning to face her he roughly petted her on top of her head.

"Van…" Merle had not fallen for the smirk nor been distracted by his gentle teasing, suddenly catapulting herself into his arms she whispered against his neck. "Just come back safe. I don't care if you slay the dragon or not. Just come back."

Van roughly returned the hug from his adoptive sister. They had both gone through too much in the last year. He didn't give a damn about the dragon or being king. It was for her that he would come back. Everyone else had deserted her and he would be damn if he left her too.

He could feel her warm tears fall down the neck of his armor and roll in rivers down his back. Though it was cold against his back and uncomfortable, he wouldn't have let go if she had told him to. He couldn't cry, not now, but he would let her cry for both of them. Theirs was a pain that no one else could understand, and a pain that they alone would have to bear. Giving her one last squeeze, Van gently set Merle down on the cold dirt floor.

"Van?"

"It's time to go Merle. Here, wipe your face with this." He gently nudged a handkerchief against her paw. Pushing his hand away, Merle defiantly turned her head up.

"Let them see me cry. This is how the whole kingdom feels." Merle watched the emotionless mask of his face slip for just a second. Quickly she added, "We all need you to come back. I need you. Balgus and everyone else needs you to come back too."

Looking down at Merle's shining eyes, Van made a silent vow. He had to come back, no matter what, he wouldn't leave her to the fate his parents had saved her from. Turning on his heel he straightened his back and strove towards the large double doors. "It's time. Let's go Merle." He stated without turning around.

"Van?" Her question was answered by his hand sticking out from his stiff body. Galloping lightly, she caught up with Van and took his hand in her paw. Silently the both stopped at the wide doors that opened up to the bright sunlight and the cheering of the villagers just beyond the threshold of the kingdom. However, neither took pleasure in the sunlight or the faithful villages. Both focused sternly on the task at hand, the duty of the king to be to slay a dragon. With a loud bang the doors slammed shut behind them, closing their escape and closing a chapter in their once happy lives.

Merle stay rooted to the ground as Van began to step forward. She didn't let go of his grasp and strained to keep his touch close as long as she was physically capable. Eventually, their connection broke and she watched the throng of villages swallow up his slight frame.