Masato Indou looked peaceful in he sleep, and he imagined for a moment that the eyes beneath his closed lids were peaceful, too. Shino found a chair for him and waited politely until he was ready to sit down to take a seat herself. She was wearing a long, black skirt and a white jacket. Her eyes were kind and filled with a warm, honest love.
"He's very kind." she commented, looking down at Masato with some sadness. "You should see him standing up, Ryou. I have to look up at him, he's very tall."
He couldn't seem to find his voice. Shino shifted a little, smoothing out the folds of her skirt. "Do you love him?" she asked, and when he didn't reply, she continued, "He loved you. . .always, I think. I could tell by the way he said your name. That always seems to be what gives a person away." Her tone was affectionate. He nodded weakly.
"It's difficult." she whispered. "But I know he'll pull through. When he does, I want to see you two standing together. You can hold his hand, and I'll take your picture and hang it on my wall, right beside the baby ferns." Shino touched her lips as she smiled. "We made it." she said.
"Yes." his voice sounded different. "We made it."
Somehow, they found each other's hands. He squeezed her fingers tightly as he looked down at Masato's pale face. "Shino?"
"I made him promise he'd tell you about it. Face-to-face. When he does, you'll have to pretend you don't know for me."
She laughed lightly. "I will."
"But I did. Love him, I mean." he said quietly. She nodded sweetly and gave his hand a light squeeze. "I know." she said. "I'm happy."
For a long time, there was silence. Then, she breathed, "He'll wake up. Soon."
"How do you know?" he asked.
"Don't you feel it?" Shino replied, and he closed his eyes briefly. From far away, a voice seemed to say, 'I love you. I always loved you.'
"Yes." he whispered. "I feel it."
And for the first time in a long time, he let himself smile.
Haseo was alone when the short message popped on to his screen.
Mac Anu Chaos Gate. I love you.
He re-read the words on the screen five times before they began to make sense. All the noise in the world seemed to have fallen away, leaving him with only the white typed letters. His face felt very pale.
"Oh." he said at last. "That's right." Haseo almost laughed, dizzy and shaken, and as if his body had a life of it's own, he headed through the busy streets of Mac Anu and toward the wedding shop again.
Nobody seemed to notice him. Perhaps, he thought, it was because now that things had changed, he couldn't bring himself to care. The woman behind the counter smiled when she saw him, and he held his hand up to show her the ring on his finger before her face lit up and she crossed to the front to find him the data again.
"It's been a while!" she said happily. "Will you be wearing this soon? I can –"
"Um, now." Haseo said in a very small voice, and she smiled brightly.
He didn't stop to look in the mirror, though the caught up with him a few steps toward the entrance and happily straightened the white roses. "Oh." she kept saying happily, "I wish I could do this more often!"
He laughed, and the sound of it surprised him, free from worries. His heart was beating wildly in his chest, and as soon as he was back in Mac Anu again, it was as if everyone had disappeared.
He knew there were countless eyes on him as he rushed back to the Chaos Gate dressed in white. He knew there were strangers watching, and probably friends, too, as he held a hand over his head to keep the roses in place, in spite of the fact that they were lopsided again anyway by the time he reached the stairs. He knew they were whispering as he rushed past them breathlessly, the only sound in his head the own pounding of his heart. The ring glittered in the sunlight out of the corner of his eye, and for the first time, he realized that that was exactly what he had wanted all along.
When he reached the swirling, metallic arches of the gate, the first thing he saw was Ovan. He was sitting down, both arms resting on his legs with a casual air he had never seen before, looking up at Haseo was overwhelming warmth. He took a deep breath, but before he could speak, Haseo cut him off.
A look of surprise crossed his features, followed by amusement. 'Selfish' he mouthed out fondly as he got to his feet, and Haseo yelped loudly as Ovan braced one arm around his shoulders and another around his knees and lifted him swiftly off the ground.
"Ovan!" he hissed, hanging on to his shoulders instinctively. The wedding gown trailed off behind him, the very edges still sweeping the floor, and among the startled crowd, neon arches of light began to surround them, warping them away.
For a moment, he was impossibly dizzy and light, the only sensations registering in his head that of Ovan's warm hands and the hot blush on his face. When the light faded beneath them, he found himself being placed back on the ground gently, with the tenderness only a lover could have.
The world righted itself again. He stared at Ovan, who was watching him with a gentle smile.
"Well, Haseo." he said lightly, "What shall we do now?"
An wave of blissful relief washed over him, to be back in the world, safe and sure with Ovan in front of him again. Feeling himself grin, his hand found the crossed strap of the dress and slid off his shoulder lightly.
"What do you think?" he said.
A/N: I want to thank you all so much for reading, especially those of you who stuck through from the beginning. It's been rough, but here's your ending, and hopefully it wasn't too horrible! I want to give a big thank you to my best friends, Tanto-chan and Hotaru, who read the beginnings of this before it was even publish and egged me on to keep going, and to Mewsette as well, who's reviews on every chapter always gave me something to look forward to. Thank you dears! I hope you enjoyed the fic, and I really appreciate everything! Much love,