Epilogue - Kaze Ga Fuku Hi
??? Years Later: Hitomi Dreams
Walking along the beautiful blue sea,
I realize again and again that
I worry about nothing but meaningless things.
The moons were beautiful that night. On the still waters of the reflecting pool, they bent and bled like the strokes of a watercolor painting. Hitomi was thankful that she could see them so closely. She'd been looking at the ground for so long she'd forgotten what the moons were like.
Wait. What the moon is like. Singular.
On this day with the warm wind blowing, yesterday
seems terribly blinding,
sadly glimmering, but...
She looked up at the sky and saw only one moon, bright and silver in the sky. But in the water, two moons still shone at up her, one blue and one gray, as if they weren't doing anything wrong.
"It's the other side of the mirror," her grandmother's voice said, next to hear ear.
And it made sense. Feeling better for reasons she couldn't quite describe, she looked out across the water and saw something that made her breath catch in her throat.
A young man was flying there, barely skimming the pool's surface. He had the most beautiful white wings. She reached out, wanting to join him, but hesitated.
What can I do
to learn to love myself?
If I learn to
love myself more and more, then...
"I have no wings," she said, her voice echoing strangely.
"No, you don't," said another feminine voice, this one deep and sorrowful. An image of unfurled wings, hooded red eyes, and long, sleek, deep green hair flashed in her mind.
"Can't he come to me?"
"He's from the other side of the mirror. He doesn't belong here. You don't belong there."
She didn't remember standing up, but she was already on her feet and at the edge of the pool.
The morning I've never seen,
The song I've never heard,
The "me" that I've never met,
Maybe I can meet.
"Belonging is a matter of choice, Hitomi," said her grandmother.
And she walked across the water.
If you would reach out and embrace me, oh far sky,
I'd feel alive.
-Kaze ga Fuku Hi, Sakamoto Maaya
First of all, I want to thank each and every person who read and reviewed this story and stuck with it since the beginning. I took so long to write and finish this that your patience must be incredible. Naming particular names would take far too long and I KNOW I would leave someone out, so thank you all so, so much for the things you said (especially those of you who reviewed regularly or left criticism). I would not have finished this story without your encouragement.
There are a lot of things I'd change about this story if I could go back and rewrite. For one thing, it would be a little more streamlined. The first three chapters could easily be just one chapter. I'd cut out a fair but if unnecessary drek, and I'd find a way to extend plotlines that I ended far too early, back when I thought that this would be a short fic. It really was a learning experience writing this, as trite as that sounds, and for that, I'm extremely thankful. There were times when I couldn't even look at what I'd written because I was so embarrassed. Thanks to you, though, and the wonderful things you said, I was able to look past the most glaring flaws and continue.
When I started writing Between Days, I had just finished re-watching Escaflowne for the umpteenth time. As the credits rolled and the final, beautiful End of Escaflowne theme started to play, I started thinking: what if the series hadn't suffered any budget cuts? What if they'd been able to do the full 38 episode run they'd had planned? Where would they have put the rest of the story? Like most die-hard romantics, I immediately decided that the rest of the story would have been between when Hitomi and Van stopped the Atlantis Machine and when Hitomi returned home. There were too many questions left unanswered between then and the end, such as how Van went from his tendency towards possessiveness and jealousy to the smiling, understanding person who told Hitomi it was okay for her to go home. To say that this change in behavior came about because they suddenly understood one another is nice, but in real life, relationships don't work that way. A person's flaws don't disappear overnight because they fall in love. There had to be some trials and tribulations between Van and Hitomi during those last few weeks in Gaea for them to part so easily. And, of course (again with the romantic in me), I thought they deserved some time for a real relationship.
Then there were the others. At first, this was going to be a fairly short fanfic. I didn't want to create something too ambitious for my first project, so I decided that a simple adventure story (Hitomi and Van going to Zaibach to retrieve Folken's body) would be easy to tie into a romance. But all the other wonderful characters in Escaflowne also had unanswered questions of their own. How is Celena apparently fully conscious and happy in her final scene with Allen? Why are Eries and Millerna suddenly close enough to hug at the end of the show? Why does Dryden look so content? What about Merle? Doesn't she deserve more closure than telling Van she knew he was in love with someone else? What did the war do to Zaibach? Why didn't the producers of the show explore Eries' feelings for Allen more? And on and on until I had a monster of a fic on my hands.
Some of you have said that reading my fic has been like watching an OVA of the series. I can't tell you how much that means to me, because that's exactly what I was going for the whole time. In fact, I had planned to end the story without an epilogue in order to better fit it into the show, but what's an OVA but a gift from the producers to the fans? And what do the fans want? For Hitomi and Van to be together again. Not because she felt obligated to stay, not because she was so needy that she needed Van to be happy, and not at fifteen years old, but because it was her choice to return. One of the major themes of Escaflowne is that in order to be happy in a relationship, you first have to be happy with yourself. Millerna says that she can't expect other people to make her happy, and I think she's right. Hitomi's image song Kaze ga Fuku hi (which regrettably never made it into the series, because it's an amazing song), is about just that. Happiness starts with yourself. Hitomi and Van, I think, both needed time to grow into themselves and heal if they were going to be together. The epilogue I wrote was left a little ambiguous because of that. How and when Hitomi returns are better left up to the imagination. Hopefully, though, it's clear that she returned because she'd decided that it's where she belonged.
I don't know whether I'm ever going to write a series continuation. It's been a long two years, and I'd like to dedicate my time to writing other things that I've left on the backburner for the sake of this story. Plus, I don't know what I'd even write. Filling in the gaps in a story is one thing, but making up a whole new one is something else. I promise, however, that if I ever come up with a way to continue the end of Escaflowne that isn't too hackneyed or overly romantic, I will. I'll know it when I see it.
Thank you again. I couldn't have done this without you.
See you in Fanelia.
-The Crushinator, 11/14/09
(with love to Kelly, rexy_jade, Lil' Dinky, Kae, and EVERYONE)
The Nations of Gaea (map found at http:// www (dot) lizzard (dot) net /cgi-bin/img (dot) cgi/Jeture/images/gaea_map_translated (dot) jpg)
Basram - president (1st republic of Gaea, so president and parliament), most industrialized aside from Zaibach. Desert.
Cesario - Italy/greece-like, multiple gods in their pantheon, well-known for vino, skills in war, once ruled a vast empire, now a smaller country dominated by its richer and more powerful neighbors. Heavy emphasis on chivalry, very old.
Daedelus - England-like, king queen parliament etc.* North of Fanelia.
Egzardia - south of Zaibach. Known for exquisite fashion and style. France-like? Would likely have queen always in power over king, who is known as prince consort.*
Asturia - trading port at the center of the continents.
Fanelia - village of arzas on outskirts, capital of fanelia, village of Irini, dragon's valley. Unremarkable, woodsman and farmers.
Freid - thailand/cambodia like. Atlantis worship.
Zaibach - quite industrialized, harsh summers and winters.
*some embellishment added by me.
January = Grey*
February = Purple
March = Green*
April = White*
May = Yellow
June = Orange
July = Pink*
August = Red
September = Indigo*
October = Brown*
November = Blue
December = Black*
*indicates that the month wasn't available on the compendium or there was some confusion, so I made up a color. :)
-Paruchi and Garufo are two of the Sorcerers of Zaibach.
-Adelphos Gein led the Copper Army during the war.
-Miet = 30 seconds
-gidaru = a common currency in Gaea, 15 gidaru is the price of lunch.
-"Dragon's Bride" = the song Folken whistles.
-Asturia Kingdom High Council meeting are, in order, Dryden, Allen, Van, interior minister, foreign minister, finance minister, military minister, and Meiden.
-The Schezar family is a major house of knights in Asturia. Because Leon chose not to be a knight, his family was alienated from the main branch. He left his home because he was unhappy, the pressures of being born into a knight's house. He went to Asgard to find Gaea's legends because of his interests in archeology.
-The names Naria and Eriya that Folken gave to Narunaru and Beruberu are the names of Fanelia's twin goddesses of harvest.
-Allen is famous in Asturia, one of the reasons is his post at the remote border (Castelo) when the other Knights of Caeli are guarding key locations.
-The roasted insects in ep8 are valued in Fanelia as one of the ultimate food for fighting in the wilderness. When cooked, they taste like shrimp.