A/N: Well, it's been awhile. But does it matter? NO! What does matter is I'm right here, right now, grunting out chapter four of this, my first introspective fan fic! And for once, I'm going with a predictable relationship of Shion and Dohko… because there is just so much there. References what little I know about Lost Canvas and Next Dimension, as well as the Asgard arc.

All life begins with the sun, whose light provides strength and energy for plants. Those plants then provided strength and energy to other animals on the planet, including humans. The sun rose in the sky every day, bringing life again and again to the Earth, yet to two young men, standing shoulder to shoulder, watching the sun once again rose.

The cloudless, bright sky mocked them. Mocked them because they were alive, when men and women more than ten times their superior were dead.

"We… we did bad, didn't we?"

"I dunno, Dohko. I really don't." It was hard to believe less than a day ago so many people they had known, laughed with, trained alongside, and had promised to see the first day after the Holy War with had died. Some from suicidal stands against impossible odds, others dying if only to help the greater good. "Come on, let's see if there's anything worth salvaging at Sanctuary."

Dohko nodded. "Sure."

"Well… that's the last one of them still here," Shion sighed, shoving the last of the Gold Cloths away. "At the very worst, in a generation or two we should at least have a Gold Saint or two in the ranks… It would really suck if we got in another war…"

"Still bothered we didn't just say 'to hell with the rules' and kill Arone?" Dohko asked. Shion nodded. "Let it go. You were right to go against it at first."


"I… I've been doing some thinking," The Libra Saint began, "Why is it that Hades selects the purest figure to possess? Why is it that the Three Judges are the Specters representing Valor, Nobility, and Ferocity? Why does Hades let Elysium exist and protect it so fiercely?"

"I don't know. I doubt even if Athena-" Shion paused at the name, remembering that young Italian girl. What were the last thoughts that went through her mind? Did she die, wondering if at her death the world would end? "If Athena ever knew? But… but yeah. It seemed odd."

"Maybe we'll never find out…" Dohko sighed, standing up. "Anyways… let's go to work…"

"YOUR LIFE IS OVER, LIBRA SAINT!" shouted the man before him, the downpour of Rozan falls nearly inaudible against the massive horde of plant roots lashing at the stalwart Dohko. The red-haired man in front of him had abandoned his God Robe earlier in the battle, in an attempt to prove he was Dohko's superior, yet the fight had long since been decided.

"I have faced Death himself," Dohko sighed, his mind calm as the roots suddenly froze inches away from it. "Alberich, you are an embarrassment to the title of God Warrior." He raised his hand up, and blasted past Alberich instantly, the man staggering forward. "Rozan… Ryu Hi Sho."

Alberich collapsed on the ground, horrified by the power of the strike.

"I held it back enough that you won't die. Get off of my damn training grounds." He added a kick to the man's side for emphasis, wondering if-

"You know…" came a familiar voice as Shion appeared in front of him, the man still wearing the robes of the Pope, "He's really not in a condition to walk out of here…"

Looking back at the twitching warrior of Asgard, Dohko sighed and threw up his hands. "Fine then. Would you do the honors?"

The former Aries Gold Saint nodded before Alberich suddenly vanished. "Okay. Sent him back."

Dohko looked back, and then at his grinning friend. "Shion," Dohko said with as stiff an upper lip as he could manage, "Did you forget his clothes on purpose?"

The blonde-haired man raised an eyebrow. "And if I did?"

Laughter echoed in the region as they sat down at the edge of the cliff together, relaxing after what seemed like ages. The two finally got through the schoolgirl-esque giggles after a few hours, the ground around them soaked with tears.

"You know…you've really grown up since the wa –no… then…" Shion sighed. "Hell, you didn't even think of that teleport trick. Whatever happened to that enthusiastic Dohko that would charge off into the thick of things?"

"Well, I gotta more or less stay put right here, remember?" Dohko said, raising his arms. "When the situations of your life change, you gotta change."

Shion looked at him for a moment before looking around. "You've been getting those from a day calendar… haven't you?"

"You got me there…" The Libra Saint sighed. "But what about you?"

"Sanctuary rebuilds, like always…" Shion responded, "With Athena gone, it's our duty to protect it until her return. Essentially the same job, but it feels-"

"Empty," Dohko responded.

"Oh well, life goes on. A true testament of the human spirit, no matter how flawed," Shion said as he stood up. "And for the record…" Shion smirked, "I could have so beaten Alberich in half the time it took you."

"Like hell!" Dohko roared, turning around.

"You wanna settle this?"

"There's NO way our strengths are still evenly matched after you've been farting around at Sanctuary all this time!"

"You're a crazy old hermit, Dohko! Have at you!"

"So… any idea if they're still fighting?" Dohko asked as he and Shion sat back in the pitch-black environment. Thanks to a perfectly-timed Starlight Extinction, the two survivors of the last Holy War were hidden away, able to explain the situation to each other.

"We can't move yet," Shion sighed, shaking his head. "There's still some Specters left unaccounted for…"

"You're worried, aren't you?"

"Are you kidding?" Shion said, looking up at his friend. "Even with all the Saints that have died… I still consider this situation much better off than the last one."

"You mean when Hades would just resurrect his Specters again? Yeah…" Dohko agreed.

"They'll be fine against us. Hell, that Unicorn Saint scared off three high-ranking Terrestrial Stars… We just gotta wait. Once we get the chance, I'll head up and get Athena's Cloth, but you should track down Myu's last butterfly and finish it off."

"Sounds good," Dohko answered. "… But there's been something on my mind."

"Like what?"

"You held back on that Stardust Revolution."

"I held back because your Hyaku Ryu Ha was clearly inferior to what it has been!"

"You're a crazy old man, Shion! I was holding back to not wreck that pretty-boy body of yours!"

"A likely story! Your body might not have aged much, but it sure as hell still did get 243 years older! I'm betting you're just claiming to be 18 and are really 19!"

"You wanna finally settle this?"

"Every single time we've fought…" Shion smirked, "Every blow has been perfectly matched. Not this time. Sure as hell not this time!"



So… this is how it ends… Shion thought as he watched the sun rise. He didn't have much time left. The loser gets to receive the peace of death, the winner must struggle on again into the breach. "Dohko… goodbye…" He closed his eyes, expecting to finally die any second now.

"Say it my face, will you?" Dohko's voice rang out, and Shion turned to see him there. "Last chance."

"This is getting old…" Shion sighed, but Dohko shook his head.

"No, this time with our fists. One punch."

Shion blinked at him before shrugging. "If you insist…"

The exchange was over in a blink of an eye, both of them turning back to each other. "You know, if I actually bothered to count…" Dohko began, "I think the amount of time we've spent fighting finally hit Day 1000."

"The end of a war, you could say…" Shion smirked. "Farewell." The great former Aries Saint slowly faded away, Dohko looking proudly before staggering forward a step and coughing up some blood.

"Brave, my friend," Dohko announced to nobody in particular. "Bravo."

A/N: No comment I can give would do this justice, in my mind.