A/N: Okay, hello all! This story, formerly only two chapters long, has been edited and redone (some parts are still similar, but others are added/changed) so that the characters (i.e. Van) stay more in character, and it makes more sense and has a greater possibility of being completed!! I actually broke down and did an outline (insert shocked emoticon here) so I would know where I am going (kind of helpful when you're dealing with visions and foreshadowing, don't you think?). ...Um, otherwise, this is a Van/Hitomi fic based on the anime (cuz the anime rules!!)
Disclaimer: I do not own Escaflowne. If I did, Hitomi would have stayed on Gaea, and Van would have admitted he was in love with her...but then it wouldn't be the Van we all know and love, would it? lol! Anyway! On with the story!! Hope you enjoy!!
I've been here before.
Hitomi ducked beneath a tree branch and watched in awe as the muted sunlight cast speckled shadows on the glade. She had always thought this place was so beautiful. She took a few more careful steps forward. The glade carried a solemn air, as if she was disturbing its peace. A shining white memorial rose before her, and a black feather slowly floated from the sky.
Hitomi looked up at it, reached up her hands to catch it. It rested softly in her hands, the dappled light gleaming on its ebony surface.
A shower of feathers drifted from the sky, and Hitomi smiled at them. A flurry of black and white, the feathers cascaded around her, bringing back so many memories. She lifted her hands up, letting the drifting feathers tickle her hands as they passed, and spun around and around.
Hitomi's soft laugh turned into a scream. The glade turned pitch black; the earth cracked beneath her feet. She grasped desperately at the feathers as she felt herself slipping, falling. She screamed and screamed, but neither angel came to her rescue, even though their feathers still floated around her.
Something large and black whooshed past her. Hitomi could barely make out the outline as a loud ringing screamed for her attention.
A black dragon...?
Hitomi shot up in her bed and placed a hand to her head. The phone rang loudly on the bedside table. Groggily, she picked it up.
"Hello?" she mumbled.
"Hitomi! We're here!"
Hitomi blinked, the voice registering in her mind. She was still dazed from the dream; black and white feathers still drifted before her eyes.
"Yeah, Amano and I got here yesterday. Are you doing anything tonight?"
"I don't think so..."
"Great! Amano and I were planning on going to a restaurant. Do you want to meet us? Oh, and you might want to dress up a little. Amano's friend Hiko is coming."
Hitomi finally woke up a bit. "Wait, isn't that the guy you tried to set me up with at your wedding?"
"Yeah. I thought you liked him!"
"Well, I didn't mind him, he seemed nice enough. I didn't really spend much time with him though."
"Well, he's coming tonight, and he's really anxious to see you again. I think he might have a little crush on you, Hitomi." Hitomi could hear the grin in Yukari's voice.
"Okay, well, I'll see you tonight then," Hitomi replied evasively.
"Okay, I'll call you later about where and when. It's so good to be back home!"
Hitomi hung up. The phone clicked, and Hitomi placed it back on the bedside table. She then flopped back into the pillow, groaning slightly and rubbing her forehead.
"That was one weird dream..." she mumbled into the pillow. She sighed deeply as her thoughts drifted towards the setting of her dream. Gaea...And the thought of Gaea brought one name to the forefront of her mind.
Hitomi stood in front of her mirror and inspected herself. She pulled at the black skirt and the clingy white top. Carefully, she adjusted the three-quarter length sleeves, then clasped the simple silver necklace around her neck. Satisfied, she smiled at her reflection, ran her fingers through her hair (slightly longer now), and left her small apartment.
Yukari and Amano beamed when she arrived. They both gave her huge hugs.
"Oh, Hitomi! It's so wonderful to see you again!" Yukari exclaimed.
Hitomi grinned. "How was your flight?"
"Long," Amano sighed, but he smiled. "Hiko should be here any moment. So, Hitomi, how have you been?"
Hitomi turned slowly at the man's voice. A smartly dressed young man with smooth black hair and soft brown eyes headed towards their table. Amano rose and shook his hand firmly, smiling. Yukari came and gave him a hug.
Amano pulled Hitomi forward. "I don't know if you two remember meeting at our wedding. Hitomi Kanzaki, this is Hiko Munama. Hiko, this is Hitomi."
"Hi," Hitomi said softly as she shook his hand.
"Nice to meet you, Hitomi," he replied, and Hitomi gasped slightly at his deep voice.
Behind her, Yukari grinned.
He could feel the power in his hands. He could feel the strength in the weight of the sword. Completely a final exercise, he flicked his maroon eyes open and wiped the sweat from his forehead. Van sighed and sheathed the sword.
The Mystic Moon hung in the night sky, casting a eerie glow on the glade. Van turned and bowed slightly to the silver memorial behind him. He often came to the glade to practice. It gave him a strange peace. Away from the bustle of the palace, he came here to train and clear his head.
Van moved to the steps of the memorial and sat down, resting the sheathed sword next to him. Characteristically, he pulled one leg up and hugged it to his chest.
A woman appeared in front of him, dressed in a clingy white top and a black skirt. She pulled at the sleeves and smiled at him for a moment. Then she vanished. Van smiled slightly.
Hitomi laughed, and her green eyes glowed. She took a sip of water as Hiko continued the joke. She coughed, nearly chocking, as a fit of laughter wracked her. Yukari placed a hand on Hitomi's back, making sure she was all right, and then laughing herself. Hiko's brown eyes lit up warmly as Amano, Yukari, and Hitomi laughed at the joke.
Hitomi took a proper drink, still giggling. She smiled across the table at Hiko. He stared at her with his warm brown eyes, and Hitomi dropped her gaze nervously. Next to her, Yukari nudged her and grinned conspiratorially.
Hitomi barely remembered Hiko from Amano and Yukari's wedding. There had been so many pictures and conversations and introductions that day. But she was glad they had been reintroduced tonight. He was rather handsome...
Hiko placed down his own glass and leaned forward slightly. "I'm sorry, Miss Kanzaki, but I don't remember catching what your occupation is." He smiled.
She sat up a little straighter. "Hitomi is fine," she said smiling. "Right now I work in the public relations office at a business firm downtown. But I want to teach physical education someday."
Hiko laughed. "You and Amano never grew out of sports!"
Yukari leaned over the table and raised her eyebrow at him playfully. "And why don't you tell Hitomi what you do, Hiko? Aren't you still playing with your computers?"
He winked. "Of course. None of us ever grow out of our childhood loves." He paused for a moment. "That's why all of us are still friends. Even after Amano here abandoned us to go gallivanting across the English countryside!"
Amano laughed. "Not necessarily my choice, Hiko!" Their banter was light, causing Hitomi to smile softly. She was having a wonderful time.
Yukari sighed and smiled. "Let's not get into things we can't control. After dinner, how about a night on the town?" She turned to Hitomi and grinned. "We can go see all the shops!"
"That sounds lovely," Amano replied. Hiko nodded.
Hitomi blinked. A white feather floated from the ceiling. Just like the ones from her dream. It spun and twirled in a nonexistent breeze until it settled on the table, just in front of her plate.
The feather vanished. Hitomi focused on Yukari's concerned face and forced a smile.
"Yeah, that sounds like fun."
She sipped her water nervously. Her heart pounded in her chest.
Maroon eyes flicked open. Van blinked slowly as the darkness whirled in front of him. His whole body ached from falling asleep sitting on the memorial, but he barely noticed. His eyes slowly raised to where the Mystic Moon hung in the sky above him.
He had dreamed of her again.
Van slowly stood, belted his sword around his waist, and stretched. As he pulled off the familiar red shirt, two brilliant white wings erupted from his back. Soft white feathers floated through the air, turning silver in the moonlight.
He tested his wings for a moment, contemplating his decision. "I've got to try," he whispered.
Van launched himself into the air. He aimed straight for the Mystic Moon.
"Hitomi," he breathed. "I miss you. I want to see you again."
"Wow, Yukari! Look at this!"
Hitomi pulled her friend over to the glass case full of little glass figurines. The two girls stared in awe at the little prancing unicorns and mysterious wizards. Pink roses unfurled their petals, and blue dolphins leapt from the waves.
"They're beautiful," Yukari said. "How do you think someone makes them?"
Hitomi shook her head in disbelief. She gasped. Inside the case, a little glass dragon stood, its ruby eyes gleaming. Its wings spread wide in triumph, and Hitomi pressed a hand to her mouth.
Yukari moved next to her to look at it. "Wow." Then she frowned. "But look at the price, Hitomi."
Hitomi sighed. "Way too expensive." The two girls straightened and found Amano and Hiko. They exited the shop, Hiko holding the door open for Hitomi. She smiled and thanked him. The bright street lamps illuminated the boulevard as the four friends walked and laughed, popping in and out of shops. Amano bought Yukari a cute fluffy teddy bear.
Hitomi yawned tiredly. Hiko gave her a concerned look.
"Hitomi? Are you all right?"
"Just a little tired."
Somehow she ended up leaning against him as they walked down the street. She smiled dreamily as she let her mind wander. Ahead of them, Amano and Yukari snuck a kiss.
Her eyes traveled over the crowd. She smiled absently at the couples and cuddled closer to Hiko. They walked slower, falling farther behind Amano and Yukari. Hiko laced his fingers through hers and held her close.
As he eyes were slipping shut, she caught sight of a face in the crowd that she recognized. A face with tan skin, black hair, and deep maroon eyes.
Hitomi stopped dead. The people kept moving, but he stood still. He stared at her with an immense sadness in his eyes. The locks of his black hair were limp, as if he had been out in the rain. But the look on his face, the hurt in his eyes, was enough to nearly rip her heart apart.
He looks the same as he did after I kissed Allen...
And just as he did then, now he turned and jogged away.
"No! Van, wait!" Hitomi cried.
She blinked, and Van's jogging form vanished. Amano, Yukari, Hiko, and several nearby couples stared at her. Hitomi felt tears rising, and slowly, quietly, they spilled over. Her shoulders shook as she silently sobbed.
Yukari grasped her friend's shoulders and hugged her. Hitomi cried on her shoulder.
"Hitomi? It's okay. We're going to take you home now," she whispered.
"Okay." Hitomi paused, then whispered, "Yukari...I miss him so much..."
A/N: Thank you so much for reading!! Reviews are very much appreciated!!