White flowers shone under the moon, waving, dancing softly to the night.

A man was sitting on a rock in the tall grass, staring into the distance, mind wandering to past memories and present anxieties. His eyes and arms shifted every so often, breaking (yet somehow adding to) the rhythm of the valley.

His body was weary from days of travel, his mind listless from depression.

He closed his eyes for a moment and let the night disappear, let the world he had fought so hard to preserve

disappear.

He went away every year at around this time, traveled far away and just let every mask fall away for a few nights.

He heard the distant growls and scuffling of monsters, knew the extreme danger they presented. He didn't care. Let them come. He would love nothing more than to decapitate, annihilate something right now, just let everything he'd bottled up for so long

go.

He remembered how it'd been when Luke had disappeared, when he'd seen members of the manor weeping over his grave at his coming of age ceremony. He remembered how terrible, how grief-stricken he'd been. He put on a brave front, told everyone that Luke was coming back, had attempted to convince himself the same; in the dark, though, he'd suffer for Luke as though he were dead. In a way, that feeling, that time, was more preferable than the situation he now faced. In that sadness there had at least been absolution,

closure.

That night, when the whole group had gathered here, witnessed the red-haired figure returning across the field of white selenias, held only quiet sadness for Guy.

At first, he was overjoyed, believing that Luke had finally returned to him. But this soon proved to be... halfway untrue. From what Guy had gathered, when Luke had released Lorelei, he and Asch's fonons merged into one another, being of similar frequency. The result was a man that was not quite Luke, not quite Asch, but a significantly different person. He was not the Luke that Tear loved. He was not the Asch that Natalia loved.

He was not the Luke that Guy loved so dearly, had grieved and prayed for endlessly.

In a way, Guy felt a small amount of bitter triumph. Luke had never expressed any sort of desire to have a more-than-friendship relationship with Guy. Guy knew that, in the end, Luke and Tear would have been together, probably have gotten married, while Guy served the role of Best Friend.

Ha. Always serving.

Now, however, neither he, nor Tear, nor Natalia could claim the love of the conglomerate Asch/Luke.

He sighed, watching the moon's slow but steady progress, absurdly waiting for the real Luke–his Luke–to walk across the field of white flowers.

He heard a soft, patterned rustling behind him. He quickly swiveled around, his tired mind believing that his mere will had summoned the old Luke.

Tear, her eyes not meeting his, walked up next to him and sat down.

Guy turned back around, disappointed despite himself. After several moments of silence, he finally asked, "Why are you here?" Why have you invaded my depressive sanctuary?

She paused, always careful, always unwilling to reveal herself, "I love these flowers, this valley. I visit here every so often."

"Good enough of a lie for me." He checked from the corners of his eyes, watched a startled expression steal across her features. She turned away. He surmised, "You can't stand it anymore, can you?"

"No more than you," she said softly, eyes downcast. They sat in silence for several more moments, watching the moon, lost in thoughts just as far away. Finally, she dared to say, "You loved him, truly loved him, didn't you?"

Guy, too reckless to care about pretenses anymore, nodded once brusquely.

"I'd suspected it after a while into our journey," she admitted. This came as no surprise to Guy. He'd known she'd known, and he was pretty sure Jade knew as well. Tear blushed a bit and continued, "Did he return your–"

"No," he cut her off sharply, not willing to let that question to be fully spoken, let the pain of it sink in.

The night began to grow unfriendly, its cold teeth biting through clothes and skin. Tear convulsively shuddered, wrapping her arms around her as a sharp wind passed by, the breeze roughly tilting the flowers' faces toward them.

Quiet reigned. Tear struggled to keep her shivering under control, unwilling to show weakness even in this atmosphere of raw emotion; Guy kept his face carefully blank, tightening his muscles against the cold and welcoming the sting of the bitter air down his throat.

After some time Tear stole a peek at her companion, and was surprised to see water glittering on his cheeks. He was not sobbing, not making noise at all; silent tears fell from his closed eyes, transforming into brilliant silver, becoming something beautiful in the moonlight. Seeming to feel her gaze on him, Guy cracked his eyes open, glanced dully at her. She turned away, blushing, feeling intrusive. He gave a short, humorless laugh, and raised his hand to his face, gently lifting a running tear from his face. "Tear," he murmured, staring at the bright drop of liquid on his finger. This brought forth a real chuckle, subdued as it was.

"What?" Tear queried, thinking he was addressing her.

"Before I knew your full name, I thought it was cruel of your parents to name you after something that symbolizes grief," He answered, flicking the drop off his finger, feeding it to the selenias.

Tear laughed, a smile sneaking onto her face. Thoughtfully, she replied, "Tears aren't always the product of sadness or pain, though. Sometimes, people laugh so much that they cry from sheer joy." Guy made an assenting sound in the back of his throat, wiping his own tears away.

Tear laughed a little. "At first, before I knew your name, I thought people were just saying "Guy" as in, 'Hey, guy, yeah you over there," she giggled some more, helplessly. Guy joined in, contributing under-his-breath chuckles at first, but quickly breaking into reckless, uproarious laughter. The sound of their merriment seemed to confuse and still the harsh wind, driving it back to the moon.

After a time, the true joy ceased; the bottled frustration, anguish, and conflict spilt out of their bodies on rippling, helpless laughter.

When their emotion died down, they glanced at each other warmly, shyly realizing that in this cold, confused world, they had a friend in one another.

Guy stood up, brushing off his pants absentmindedly. He stared around at the valley for a moment, watched the hostile, prowling shadows that lined the horizon, and then, decisive, said, "Well, Tear, I suppose we'd better leave." Reinforcing his statement, he extended his hand to her, offering silently to help her up.

She paused, hesitant, and then asked with a smile, "Guy, what about your gynophobia? You'll probably just toss me to the ground in terror."

He shook his head, a lingering sadness and thoughtfulness on his face, "That fear has been pushed to the side. I've experienced a greater grief since then."

Tear smiled comfortingly, his sadness mirrored in the contours of her face, and took his hand.

"You and I both."

But now, I know we'll make it through in one piece.