A/N:Hello everyone! Here is my first attempt at a fanfiction. I've done it while waiting for episode 22 (I had nothing better to do these days).

The story takes place after Ranka's departure at the end of episode 21 and although this story is not really original I had to do it in order to make up for the lack of SherylxAlto interaction in this episode (please forgive the OOCness but I was just getting frustrated at the triangle).

I hope it won't be too hard to read this nonsense and I would like to thank all the readers, darkmirage for his translations I've used in the story and the macross frontier staff for creating such a wonderful anime!

Finally I'd like to add that episode 22 and 23 were awesome (I may have misunderstood Alto all along T.T). Hope for the best regarding the 2 last episodes!

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters present in this story.

BETA-ED - 3/1/11 (by steshin)

She experienced a heartache she never felt before as she saw him sitting on the floor of his own home. She couldn't help but notice how distant his gaze was, as if he was currently seeing a whole world that was only visible to him.

She already knew the reason for his strange behavior. His best friend had just died after all and he couldn't do anything to save his life nor the lives of the people that had been mercilessly slaughtered during the most recent attack.

But as painful as it was for her, she had to admit that these issues were probably not the ones responsible for this display. He had always been the type that was prone to get angry over the most trivial matters after all.


She had no doubt that the green-haired girl was the reason for his forlorn state. She had always been in a position to notice how much he cared for the young songstress of hope. Whether this was out of duty or a brotherly form of affection that resulted in his seemingly need to be overprotective around her, she didn't know. She could see how much Ranka leaving Frontier affected him.

When he arrived that night, she could see all the inner turmoil that was reflecting in his eyes.

The sight of his pretty eyes did not bring the same effect she felt when she looked at him, not only did it fail to give the usual warmness in her, it also brought pain she wished she could just forget.

Not only did she feel guilty about not telling him the truth about her own condition, she also felt that same pain she felt when he came to her rescue after her piloting fiasco, and then inquiring about Ranka's whereabouts immediately after.

To him she was just a mere friend, and while that was the reason that compelled her to seek his company in the beginning… she now couldn't help but to crave for more.

Sheryl Nome had fallen hard for this former kabuki performer and yet she was invisible to him, as his gaze was set on the dark sky with his trail of thoughts solely focused on her now gone "rival", Ranka Lee.

She had already "fallen in love" before but now she understood the difference between a mere "crush" and a more serious love. Never before had she felt so helpless, so distraught. Never before had her thoughts been such a mess...

The object of her affection was right before her and yet she couldn't bring herself to say or do anything except for the wishful thinking she had been making for these past minutes.

Breathing deeply for one last time, she finally found the resolve to speak, an irony for the former Galactic Fairy who was widely known to be someone who was impulsive and not afraid to speak her mind.

"Alto...are you okay?"

Nice one, she thought, as that was obviously not the case. She braced herself for the incoming outburst she knew was coming. However rules were meant to be broken, the lack of the awaited outburst both surprised her greatly and saddened her as well.

His lack of reaction being the last straw, she did what she knew for sure would elicit some kind of reaction from him.

"So you're going to mope around and wallow in self-pity over the fact that you could not prevent her from leaving?"

"…I'm not"—

"Yes you are! Michel is dead! Can you imagine Klan's pain? Yours is not even comparable and yet you seem like the whole world turned against you!" She was shouting now, not even caring if she might disturb their neighbors in such an hour.

"What do you know! You weren't even there! You didn't see him being thrown out into space! You didn't see her crying while clutching his helmet! You didn't see her leave the fleet for the Vajra's! You were in the shelter the whole time, waiting for all of this to be over!"

"Yes I was, but I couldn't do anything else"—

"Aren't you Sheryl Nome? Sheryl Nome this, Sheryl Nome that!"

Even though she already knew that talking to him tonight wasn't going to be pleasant, she couldn't help but feel the tears coming.

"Aren't you a pilot? What's stopping you from going out to search for her!"

"If I really could, I still wouldn't! Do you expect me to ditch my duty and go play hide and seek in space? How the hell am I supposed to search for her?"

"To hell with your duty! Do you really think you would be able to protect anything while moping around? If you care for her, you should just go and give it your best..."

As appropriate as it would have been, she couldn't bring herself to use the word "love".

Hearing her ragged breathing, Alto came to a halt and their heated exchange died down as abruptly as it had begun. She silently thanked him for this well-needed break as she couldn't go on anymore.

"I'm sorry... I didn't"—

"What for? For still being here while you should be up there searching for her like a madman? For letting her leave in the first place?" Her voice was no more than a mere whisper by now.

No answer came from the man standing before her. She thus gathered all of her willpower and raised her head to look at his eyes but she couldn't see his face as he tilted it downward. She didn't need to see them however to know what they were reflecting right now.

Guilt, sorrow, anger... somehow it seemed to be her own feelings, as those were always the ones she had when talking to since having learned about her condition from her former manager... Those feelings that were always in the way of the simple joy she was experienced every time she saw and talked with him...

While she was lost in her thoughts, her pilot did something she never expected he would do.

A common gesture in some kind of soap opera that was utterly unthinkable coming from Alto.

And yet it happened as he took her in his arms and hugged her without her needing his support due to her illness or whatsoever reason that usually would justify such an act coming from the former Sakura-hime.

He never ceased to amaze her and even though it lasted only for a few seconds, she couldn't help the blush that crept on her cheeks.

However this moment of bliss was cut short by his next reply.

"Thank you... Sheryl..."

His voice was so gentle in spite of their earlier quarrel and yet she didn't find any comfort hearing those three mere words of gratitude. Deep down, she knew what she wanted to hear from him, no matter how selfish that wish was in her current state.

"Just go already..." I don't need your gratitude, she wanted to add. She didn't want it, she just wanted him to return her feelings, and stay by her side.

That night, she was able to learn how wrong she was when she thought she couldn't feel any more miserable than she already was after what Grace had told her. Tears were ready as he let her go, but she didn't let them fall lest her act would be unveiled. He was a former performer after all who could see past her act.

The only things he didn't seem to be aware of though were things pertaining to him.

He didn't look back as he made his way to the entrance and she knew his mind was already trying to figure out what he should do to find the Superdimensional Cinderella.

As soon as he left, she put on some clothes and left, hoping a night walk would help soothing some of her inner turmoil.

As he made his way to the SMS quarters he couldn't help reminiscing about the past few days and all the events that occurred in such a short time.

Michel was no more, the city had been completely ruined and Ranka wasn't here anymore. He couldn't see why she would up and leave the fleet to go to the Vajra homeland, especially after the tragedy that occurred in Frontier.

Alas she wasn't the only one he failed to understand recently, Luca being the first on the list. The young boy had indeed suggested that they should use Ranka to lure the Vajra and he didn't hesitate to detonate Island 3.

Now that he thought about it, it seemed to be the same device that blew up Galia IV back then. Did he have a role in this incident as well? The possibility was there and somehow the words Michel said about not sneaking off on his own didn't seem so out of place anymore...

His thinking was interrupted when he passed in front of what was formerly known as the entrance to Island 3.

The Zentradi mall was no more.


A place that seemed to be directly taken from a fairytale, unless you were already used to Macronized Zentradi.

Come to think of it, this was exactly Sheryl's initial reaction when he brought her there.

"A Galactic Fairy in a land of fairy tales..."

She was the last one he could turn to in these dire times but even she was getting harder to understand. Her actions didn't really change that much but her usually overflowing self-confidence was nowhere to be found recently. He couldn't sense it like he used to and it bothered him.

He caught himself reminiscing about their past "date" and how much she had changed from that time.

It wasn't all that long since they went to Formo and yet it felt so distant at the same time. Maybe bringing her back here would be able to bring back that too-long-gone cheerful side of hers. It was unfortunate that he wouldn't be able to do so now.

He looked up as he passed another ruined building, only to realize where he was heading.

"...Wrong way..." That girl always had a knack of keeping him from doing things right and the mere thought of her sufficed to lead him astray on his path to the Quarter. And thus, Alto resumed his walk to the Macross Quarter.

She had been walking for several minutes now when she abruptly came to a stop upon realizing where her feet had led her.

Once again, she found herself standing in the same place she had gone to not so long ago. She actually thought it was rather funny how she seemed to always come here when things weren't going her way.

Even though circumstances were different, she had to admit that he was always the reason for her coming here nowadays.

She spotted a lone bench and tried to make herself as comfortable as she could before directing her gaze towards the outer space stretching in front of her. Maybe she could spot him when he would sortie as she was able to way back then when she saw some VF-25 units.

Her focus on the scene before her had a surprisingly soothing effect as she was able to forget everything for a moment.

This welcomed break was interrupted when she heard footsteps behind her. Turning around, she came face to face with a little blue-haired girl. However she knew this appearance was not her real one for she had already met the giantess' real self.

"Klan? ... What are you doing here this early in the morning?"

Assuming a military officer's working day did not begin at three a.m., it was safe to think there was something bothering the girl before her. In fact, it was not too far to find the reason for her apparent distress.

"I should ask you the same question. I didn't think an idol would be out at this hour. Being one seems to be tougher than I thought. It almost makes me glad to be a pilot..."

The little girl, in appearance only, made her way to the bench and took a seat as well before resuming their talk.

"I figured a walk would help me clear my mind. I had too much to think about these past few days... I must say I didn't expect to meet you here, care to explain your side of the story now?"

"I'm playing the tragic heroine. I think it suits me the best since she's always the one who ends up making the biggest sacrifice for the greater good, thus making the biggest impact on the viewer. Nobody would be able to make a greater impact than Sheryl Nome, don't you think?"

Somehow her explanation didn't seem to convince the Meltran.

"I came here for the same reason."

"Did it help?"

"I guess so... since I've been able to forget my worries for some time now, until you came out of nowhere that is."

"Maybe you want me to leave? Are you waiting for someone special to show up?"

Sheryl knew that reply wasn't meant to be harmful but it still pained her to hear it.

"Yes that's right. I was waiting for him to show up." As she said so, the songstress gazed upward.

"Alto? So you're done denying he is special to you? That's an improvement on your front."

"It doesn't even matter anymore."

"You know, there's no way he would be coming here."

That statement eventually caused her to switch her focus toward Klan. She could see the pain flashing in the Meltran eyes while she was looking at the outer space.

"He told me about it... I'm sorry, troubling you with my trifling matters when you ... I'm sorry..."

It was the first time she noticed the broken glasses hanging around the neck of the pilot since they met.

"I knew it could happen anytime, but still... I miss him..."

Klan couldn't hold her tears anymore, thus letting them fall freely. Upon seeing this, Sheryl's own tears blurred her vision. She hadn't allowed herself to cry earlier that night but she could probably allow it for her two friends.

Taking Klan in her arms, Sheryl finally let go the tears she had been saving. That night the two women cried in each other arms.

Sheryl eventually fell fast asleep, thus giving Klan some time to think about the former Galactic Fairy, effectively distracting her from dwelling on Michel's untimely demise. Was she really waiting for Alto to show up here in the middle of the night?

As if hearing the cue, she saw some NUNS variable fighters patrolling the area. That was the only clue she needed to know to understand the sudden breakdown displayed by the sleeping girl beside her.

A girl that tried to stand strong in the midst of her own despair, a girl that pushed away the man she loved to spare him from the pain of losing a person close to him. A girl that she would eventually have to wake up and bring back home.

Several hours had already passed since he reached the SMS quarter.

He had already put on his pilot suit and climbed into his VF-25 cockpit but he couldn't bring himself to launch yet. Not having the permission to sortie wasn't the reason he hadn't done so, as he was well-known to be a hot-headed pilot who had always gone against his orders in the recent past.

He just didn't know where to begin his search, as he had no clue on Ranka's whereabouts.

Why did he feel the need to rescue her in the first place? Didn't he tell her to do what she wanted to? Going on a journey to the Vajra homeland was not what he had in mind at the time but he was sure she had her reasons to go. Anyway his squad leader had entrusted him with her protection and even though she tended to act like a child sometimes, she was still a dear friend of his. She was even the reason he joined SMS in the beginning after all.

Besides, Sheryl wouldn't leave him alone if he didn't search for the green-haired teen.

His gaze shifted toward the right side of his cockpit where he had previously put Sheryl's earring back then. It was such a shame how he had lost it on his first mission. Maybe he should try to replace it even if he knew no earring could replace hers as it was the only keepsake she had from her late mother.

He could always ask her out to make up for the loss. Whether this would prove to be sufficient in her book was another question he didn't have the answer to but he had nothing to lose in the process anyway.

As he shifted his gaze to the other side of the cockpit, he spotted a blue fighter in a corner of the hangar. Upon seeing this, he remembered the talk he had with his friend about women.

"Seems like you were wrong about her, Michel... In fact, no matter what I do, she always gets mad at me these days, talk about mood swings. And you were the one saying I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn't go after her."

Since that fateful day, Alto had been pondering over the late sniper's words.

They could die at any moment being military pilots and yet here he was trying to figure out why this woman was pushing him away from her, instead of going out of his way to let her realize how much he cared.

He shouldn't wait too long either, Michel's unwillingness to get serious prevented Klan from being happy after all.

He could be the next one on the line for all he knew.

Some images of the Galactic Fairy flashed in his mind, their first meeting and the negative impression he had of her, their time in the shelter and the admiration he felt for her (he actually blushed when he recalled how she had shown more than she had planned to at that time), their date and the playful side she had displayed along with her inspiring talk, their time on Galia IV where she tried to give him what he wanted the most even though she was in no shape to do so, their talk on the school rooftop and the tears she practically shed...

They sure had gone a long way to the point they were at now.

Maybe it really wasn't the best time to play hide and seek in space.

Reaching this conclusion, Alto finally decided to go back to his mansion where a certain songstress had been living in for several days now.

"I'm a slow learner, aren't I?"

"Yes you are and it seems you're mad too considering how you've been talking to yourself."

Upon hearing this, he nearly missed a step, a miss which would have resulted in a painful landing.

"Klan? What are you doing here at this hour?"

"What is it with me and early birds today? Anyway it's already six a.m. so it won't be long before the maintenance crew come here."

"Six a.m. already? Time sure flies by... So what brings you here this early in the morning?"

"I came here to see if you had already left that's all. I'm actually surprised to see you're still here. Well you admitted to be a slow learner..."

Luckily for him, Klan didn't know that the actual reason behind Ranka's departure had something to do with the Vajra, as it wasn't all that difficult to foresee what her reaction would be to this.

But her knowing about his attempt to search for the girl still eluded his understanding.

"How did you know where I"—?

"I met Sheryl in town. In fact I just left her a while ago."

Alto couldn't contain his surprise. What was she doing in town in the middle of the night?

"What was she doing all alone in the middle of the night? She could"—

"I didn't say anything about her being alone."


The Pixie leader laughed upon seeing the puzzled face of her companion-in-arms. Hearing this was a more than welcomed change over her crying these past few days but Alto couldn't shake the uneasiness he was feeling over her previous statement.

"Don't worry I was just joking. You should have seen your face."

"That wasn't funny!"

"You're right it was absolutely hilarious."

She truly was Michel soul mate, even taking over his teasing habit much to the actor's dismay.

"Anyway what was she doing in town in the middle of the night?"

"She didn't tell me but I guess it's pretty safe to assume that she was waiting for you to show up."

"But she told me to"—

Following Klan's gaze, he turned around and found himself staring at his own fighter. Finally realizing what she meant confused him even more than he already was. Did she want him to leave so badly that she had to confirm it with her own eyes?

"I don't get it anymore. I don't even think I ever did to begin with."

"I can't believe you're still clueless after Michel spelled it out for you!"

"Tell me then why does she always drive me away if she likes me as she's supposed to, going with what you say?"

"She simply loves you. You're the one who should take the time to review your own feelings."

"Now it's my fault!"

"Of course it is! Ranka is always on your mind so it's no wonder Sheryl's feeling the way she is! You should at least stop being so ambiguous!"

Once more, she could read the surprise depicted on his face. However she didn't find his expression to be frustrating this time around. How this former performer could be so oblivious to the people around him continued to elude her understanding.

"You're right..."

"Of course I am. So what's your answer?"

All of a sudden, Alto began to make his way to the exit but he couldn't get past the Meltran as she blocked his way. She wasn't done with him yet.

"Do you love her?"

"Yes I do care for her now please"—

"That wasn't my question!"

"I don't know!"

"Do you love Ranka?"

"Of course I like her! She's my friend and I"—

"Do you love her?"

"No! I just"—

"Then what about Sheryl?"


"Yes or no?"

"Yes! God, you can sure be nosy when you want to! Now if you would just"—

"I'm not finished with you yet! Aren't you sure you're not just choosing her by default since Ranka isn't there anymore?"

This question stopped him in his attempt to get away.

Surely, if Klan had thought so, Sheryl had undoubtedly thought about that too. It made him sick to think he had called Michel a womanizer when he was the same to the others. He had always been aware to some extent of the girls' feelings for him but he never thought the Galactic Fairy could be this serious.

And here he was wondering why she was always pushing him away.

"I must see her."

"For once you seem to know what you have to do."

"Please I have to"—

"I'm not finished yet..."

"There couldn't be anything more than this, could it?"

His mind ordered him to make a run to the exit but he couldn't do so as his body refused to move. Somehow he knew he had to listen to the dreaded truth, Michel never told him what he had nearly done on the rooftop after all.

"There's another reason she's trying to push you away... I know it isn't right of me to be the one to say it but knowing her she will never tell you..."

"...What is it?"

"She's ill, Alto. She's infected by the V-type virus."

"V-type virus... That's why she's always been fainting these days? If you know that why"—

"There's no cure..."

"But how will she be able to sing"—

"She's dying."

It took him several seconds to recover from his initial shock. Although he didn't want to believe it, one look at the Meltran confirmed that she was telling the truth.

Michel words, Sheryl's recent behavior... It all made sense now that he knew this too and it didn't take long before he made a dash to the exit, leaving Klan to wonder if she had done the right thing.

She didn't want to admit it but she felt much better after shedding those tears with her friend earlier.

It even made it easier to catch some sleep as she had nothing but restless nights for a while now. She could finally look forward to the concert she would be giving later that night.

Looking at the clock suspended on the wall in front of her, Sheryl saw it was already way past ten a.m.

The sight that greeted her when she finally found the will to get up surprised her, proving once again how unpredictable the man in front of her could be at times.

Alto was slouched in a chair next to her bed, his disheveled head tilted downward in an angle that would surely cause him to suffer a bit.

Maybe she should provide him with one of her pillow in an attempt to lessen the strain upon his neck.

What was he even doing in this room in the first place? Didn't he leave the fleet? Had he already given up on the search?

It was then that she realized he had seen her sleeping in all her glory, probably stretched like the kanji for the word "big". Grace already told her about this sleeping habit of her in the past.

Blushing furiously, she nevertheless felt lucky since she had been too tired to undress before going to bed.

To say Alto was startled when he woke up that morning was an understatement as he found himself face to face with a dangerously close Galactic Fairy. At least he didn't seem to be the only one as she jumped back instantly when she saw him open his eyes.

He spotted a pillow on the floor as he turned his head in embarrassment. Seeing this reminded him how sweet she could be at times although it wasn't the first quality one would associate her with.

"How's your neck?"

He wasn't expecting her to be the first one to talk, having found him fast asleep in her room.

"I'm fine, thanks. What about you?"

"I slept well. I hope you took a good look because this is not the kind of service I often give."

The pilot made a mental note to never fall asleep like that again.

"I was just... worried about you."

"Well you have no more reason to be. I'm back in tip-top form!"

She really seemed to be at first glance.

"I'm glad to hear it. But I still need to talk to you."

This made her wary as she did not know what to expect from him anymore.

Seeing she wasn't going to reply, he went on.

"I met Klan and she told me she saw you."

"What did she"—

"Why did you keep me in the dark? You could have told me! Don't you trust me?"

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about your health of course!"

She couldn't bear to look at him in the eyes.

"How much do you know?"

"Enough to ask for an explanation regarding your recent behavior."

Both of them were now whispering as he moved closer to her.

"Why do you keep pushing me away? Can't you tell that I actually care for you?"

"I didn't want to burden you with my problems when you already have your hands full..."

Somehow this triggered something in him as he gently placed his hands on her cheeks and forced her to look into his eyes once again.

"You're not a burden... You're absolutely not... I don't even know why you would think that. I just want to help you so please... let me do it."

Their faces were only inches apart now.


"I love you, Sheryl..."

A smile crept onto her face but it wasn't a joyful one.

"You say you love me and yet you didn't figure it out until Ranka left the fleet..."


"You didn't come back like you promised to."

It was now his turn to look away shamefully

"Now you think you love me after hearing the whole story? Let me tell you this, Sheryl Nome doesn't need your pity."

She proceeded to get up when he caught her arm.

"I didn't say this out of pity! When will you learn to rely on others instead of always reminding everyone who"—

"Then show me I am wrong."

Alto was at a loss of words. The Galactic Fairy had asked him to show her a proof of his honesty but he didn't know what he could say at this point.

Realizing this, Sheryl broke free from his light grip and made her way to the door.

"I have to go. I'm giving a concert tonight. Besides I just had an idea for a new song, thanks to you."

"Wait! Where are you performing?"

"Everybody knows who I am, you can just ask someone in the street."

With this final line, she left a dumbfounded Alto behind her to get ready for her concert.

"Damn her...!" He was running like a madman through the city, searching for a little café he had never heard of before.

It had taken him three whole hours and a lot of his nerve to locate the place she was going to perform in.

Prior to that, he had gone to the library in order to do some research of his own concerning the V-type infection. Still he couldn't even begin to think how she could have contracted this kind of virus from what he had read.

His little search had actually raised more questions than it provided answers but he still had learnt two important facts, it was transmitted via blood or bodily fluids and there was no indication on her remaining life-span.

While the first one clearly didn't cheer him up, he had mixed feelings on the second one. He didn't know if he should be happy knowing her days weren't literally numbered or if he should be sad at the prospect of losing her at any given time.

Of course he could have gone to Klan for additional information but he needed some time alone to think for himself and ended up wandering in the city.

"I can't afford to miss it!" This thought kept replaying in his mind as he ran through the streets.

He had to prove her he meant what he had said earlier after all. Seeing her returning on the stage was the first logical step of his well thought-out plan.

Alas he was greeted by a closed door upon his arrival. Once again he had been too late for her and he could do nothing more than wait for the end of the concert.

No matter how frustrated he was at himself for arriving late, he was still grateful he could at least hear her sing once again as he was actually able to decipher the lyrics due to the lack of sound proof walls.

Sheryl was currently singing her well-known song "Diamond Crevasse" and he couldn't help but be amazed at the amount of emotion she was pouring out into this one song.

There was no doubt in his mind that she was born to be a songstress and a wonderful one, at that, as tears began to blur his vision, those lyrics were definitely too sad for his taste.

When I was still in love with god,
I never expected such a farewell would come.
If I had known I could never feel your touch again,
I would've hoped to be embraced just one last time.

He knew she had written those lyrics way before coming to Frontier but it still shocked him how accurate those were considering their current situation.

It's long long good-bye...

Even if he was outside he could almost picture her crying while singing at the same time.

Goodbye, goodbye, so many times,
I repeated the word to myself,
Waving my hands. It's only graceful, right?
Now, I long to be stronger.

It was already the fourth goodbye she had said in the span of one minute...

I met you, the stars sparkled, and I was born.
I love you, therefore I am.
What good is waiting for a hopeless miracle?
Through my tear-filled vision, the planet's twinkle is gone...

Was it really no good to wait for a hopeless miracle? Maybe Frontier's medical staff would be able to find a cure if he convinced her to go to the hospital.

I can't ever forget your warmth,
Your kindness, and your all-encompassing hands.
It's long long good-bye

What was with her and all those goodbyes tonight? When did he turn into the crybaby he was right now?

Goodbye, goodbye, my beloved.
I came this far because you were here.
I wasn't alone, was I?
Now, I long for answers.

Of course, she wasn't alone. He was also there, waiting to give her the answers she was eagerly waiting for.

Catch a falling star that looks ablazed and light a fire,
I still want to love, and I still want to be loved.
What good is a lone freezing body to this world?
I long for you to finally drop your act...

He was ready to drop his act. All that was left was for her to do the same and they could finally try to be happy in spite of all the trials awaiting them.

What's wrong? Why can't I stop my tears from overflowing?

A small smile formed on his lips.

"I can't stop either..."

I met you, the stars sparkled, and I was born.
I love you, therefore I am.
What good is waiting for a hopeless miracle?
Through my tear-filled vision, the planet's twinkle is gone...

There was no good waiting for a hopeless miracle after all. Whether or not it would come wasn't important as he had already made his mind.

If we are reincarnated and can meet again someday,
Please be sure to find me and hold me tight,
And make sure you never let go again.
I wish the planet would whisper to me that I'm not alone...

He had already made his mind and while he would make sure he'd never let go again as she had suggested he also knew he wouldn't wait for them to be reincarnated before doing so.

Only when she had finished and the audience broke into applause did he realize how small an audience it was in comparison to what she had previously experienced.

Nevertheless he could tell how mesmerized they were judging by the sheer length of the hearty applause they gave her and the fact that he did join them, earning him some puzzled glances from bypassing people.

Much to his surprise he heard her thanking her public before announcing a song he had never heard before, "Northern Cross". The orchestra accompanying her began to play a tune clearly contrasting with the lyrics the galactic fairy was singing.

I can no longer remember the start of this journey.
Before I realized, I was already here.
As the seasons wore away,
Those who sense the invisible infrared rays become lost.

Once again she proved to be worthy of her title as the raw emotion she voiced was overwhelming.

I will probably lose them,
These feelings that I risk for life for.
I loved as if I were fighting to survive.
I spent all my time building my dream.
I wanted to land on that star.
I wanted to fly in your sky.

Once again the lyrics she had written weren't the happiest ones he had heard but this song wasn't just a rephrasing of "Diamond Crevasse". "Northern Cross" had a more violent vibe and it was almost as if she was letting out all the frustration she had experienced.

Wouldn't someone please caress my empty contours?
Pushed on by the beating of in my chest, these words of love rolled out of my mouth.
But no one answers them, and I don't know what to do.
Chosen by destiny, the Northern Star is burning bright.
Though it snatched you away from me into the sooty darkness,
You continued to smile so gracefully. I loved that part of you.

Hearing the chorus made him uneasy and he began to tear up for the second time that night. Was it actually the song she had been talking about this morning?

If you are gone, then there's no meaning left to life.
I don't care if everyone disappeared.
If my love is gone, then I have no more use for my heart.
This world can just disappear.

What was she saying now? She was Sheryl Nome! Everyone's favorite Galactic Fairy!

I was always in pain.
I would risk my life for that first time we met.
I dreamt as if I were struggling to breathe.
I reached my hands out blindly.
I wanted to listen to your heartbeat.
I wanted to build a rainbow with you.

Here she was using the past tense again. Why did she write such lyrics? Deep down he hoped it wasn't too late already...

Wouldn't someone please embrace me tightly with daybreak's sentimentality.
Tears of love that scatter as they are repelled by orbits of dreams will do.
Their painful flow is just fine for me.
Called back by destiny, the Northern Star is crying.
If I have to survive in this labyrinth anyway,
I want to die loving you to my last breath.

All this talk of dying was beginning to unsettle him but it also made him sure that he couldn't leave things as they were at this very moment. Not when she was crying her heart out like she had been for three minutes now.

And it will begin,
The finale I will risk my life for.
I loved as if I were fighting to survive.
I kicked on dreams on until they are crumpled.
I wanted to end on that star.
I wanted to bloom in your sky.

"You have already invaded my sky..."

How was he supposed to focus on it now that she had done so?

Wouldn't someone please caress my empty contours?
The motions of time have erased away
The words of love that could not be saved.
So please, give me your answer one more time.
Chosen by destiny, the Northern Star is burning bright.
Though it snatched you away from me into the sooty darkness,
You continued to smile so gracefully. I loved that part of you.

"My answer... One more time..."

Though it snatched you away from me into the sooty darkness,
You continued to smile so gracefully.
I loved that part of you.

The audience broke into a hearty applause and he could do nothing else than joining them once again.

He cursed at himself for his apparent lack of forethought seeing as he had forgotten to bring tissues with him. Having no other alternatives left, he used one of the paper-sheet he was always carrying with him and this strange habit of his proved to be useful once more.

"You were right all along, Michel..."

Once more, his friend's words proved to be right on the mark, confirming how sharp he was regarding people's feelings.

He was right when he told him how much Sheryl looked out for him, he was also right when he mentioned how he would have regretted it for the rest of his life had he not bothered to search for the songstress... He was finally right when he kept calling him "princess" as he had been acting just like one for the past ten minutes, much to his disarray.

Hearing Sheryl bid farewell to the audience brought him back to his senses and he readied himself for his last trial of the night.

Even though he was kind and funny in an odd way, Sheryl had already dismissed her new manager as she told him she needed some time alone to think about a personal matter. She couldn't help but chuckle at the sheer irony since he had been Ranka's former manager. Despite his lack of presence, he sure had a knack to find talented singers.

Following this trail of thoughts, she didn't notice the man that was waiting for her and bumped into him.

Cursing inwardly at her lack of awareness, she braced herself for the painful landing. Much to her surprise it never came as the man caught her in his arms.

The flushed songstress quickly got on her feet and apologized to the gentleman. It was then that she took notice of his appearance, immediately recognizing the long ponytail she saw.


"It was a wonderful concert. You impressed me."

"I didn't know you were such a fan of mine."

She leaned closer to take a better look at his face.

"You've been crying?"

The tables were turned around as it was the pilot's turn to blush.

"No! Of course I wasn't!"

He was looking frantically around him in search of an explanation.

"I was just...! Anyway what do you plan to do?"

"You mean right now? I was planning to take a walk before going back home."

His lucky streak didn't seem it would end soon after all.

"Well... Would you like to eat in a nearby restaurant before heading home?"

"It's already late and I'm kind of tired so I'll pass for tonight. But you can"—

"I'm not that hungry either actually... Do you mind if I tag along?"

Maybe he had spoken too soon.

It had almost been two hours since they had left and neither seemed to be willing to break the silence.

However one of them had to be the first to speak if he wanted to reach his goal and there was no way he could afford to postpone his plan.

Seeing it was useless to wait any longer, Alto grabbed Sheryl's hand in his own in a way that didn't seem so out of character considering what he had done recently.

"Alto? What are you doing all of a sudden?"

Once again he had managed to take her by surprise.

"There's something I wanted to give you."

He left a little box in her hand and waited for her to open it. She had mixed feelings upon seeing the object in her hand but she complied with his silent wish and opened it, revealing a lone earring that vaguely looked like the one she had lost.

"An earring?"

"I thought you could use a replacement for the one I lost..."

"Only one? I didn't know you were so poor Mr. Pilot."

"Huh? I can go fetch the matching one if you want me to but I thought"—

Hearing him panicking over this trivial matter made her giggle thus throwing the poor man into further confusion.

"Excuse me, but I'm serious here!"

"That's what makes it so funny! You should see your face."

"A-Anyway! Do you like it or not?"

"It's not quite the same nor does it seem as expensive"—


"But I think it will do just fine. Thank you, Alto."

"I don't even know if I should be happy or not now..."

That reply sent her in another giggling fit and he couldn't help smiling at the sight before him.

It had been so long since he had heard her like this and only now did he realize how he had missed that side of her.

Looking at the time he saw he still had four hours left until he could actually move to the last part of his plan.

"Do you have to work today?"

"The amount of work I currently have is nowhere near what I had to do before. I guess I can afford to take the day off."

Despite all he had thought earlier, luck really was on his side that night and he couldn't wish for more as he led her through the city.

It was a real shame how a good part of the city was now in ruins but that didn't stop the two young adults to spend the night outside talking about unimportant matters and simply enjoying each other's company.

"We should head back home."

"You're right it's almost time for"—

"I've got one last thing I want to show you."

He didn't wait for her answer and took her hand before leading her to the Saotome mansion.

Upon their arrival he immediately disappeared, leaving a puzzled Sheryl behind him.

It wasn't long before he came back wearing his Ex-Gear.

"What are you planning to do with"—

The songstress couldn't finish her sentence as he picked her up in his arms and the two of them took off.

"Alto! What do you think you're doing?"

He didn't bother to answer her but she wasn't going to give up that easily.

"Alto! Alto-hime! Saotome Al"—

"Last time, we saw a sunset while flying, just like this..."


"This time I wanted to show you a sunrise."

She remained silent for a moment, not knowing what to think of it. It was so lame and yet it felt so sweet... Several seconds had already passed when she spoke again, her voice no more than a soft whisper.

"What a cheesy line..."

"You said something?"

"What an unbelievable cheesy line, especially coming from you!"

"Well, excuse me! At least it was my own personal pick-up line!"

"No wonder you don't have a girlfriend!"


The sight before her was a mesmerizing one as the sun hologram rose in the artificial sky, and thus began illuminating the remnants of the city below them.

Looking down at the woman in his arms, Alto couldn't help but smile at the sight of her bright expression.

"You wanted an answer right?"

"An answer?"

"You said so in your song. That's why I'll give you one right here. But first I'll tell you something. There's enough power left in this Ex-Gear to last another hour."

She couldn't follow his reasoning anymore.

"What does it have to do with us?"

"You'll understand soon enough."

"Stop being s"—

"I love you, Sheryl."

It wasn't the first time he said that and yet she got all flustered hearing it.

"We already talked about it yesterday!"

"You asked me to prove you I was honest! That's what I'm doing!"

"I don't see how it is any different from"—

He interrupted her by claiming her lips with his own in an almost perfect reversal of their first kiss.

However Sheryl wasn't going to risk an infection to her beloved "princess" and ended the kiss abruptly.

"What are you doing! Are you plain stupid?"

"Stop moving like this! Are you so eager to die?"

"You're the one who kissed me without even knowing the consequences!"

"I do know them! I know it can be transmitted by bodily fluids! I know there is no cure! I know you can die at any time! And you know what? I don't care at all because I know what I feel for you!"

He was looking right into her eyes by now.

"I want you to let me stay by your side."

Her tear-filled vision was preventing her from seeing the mixed feelings that flashed across his eyes but she could still feel his determination.

"You don't even know me... My name, my whole... They're all lies!

"The time we spent together was real! Your songs are real! Sheryl Nome isn't your real name? It doesn't matter! Perhaps I can't do a thing about your first name but I can still give you a new surname!"

"Sniff. You're planning to adopt me?"

"Of course not! I know you perfectly understood what I meant!"

"Do you realize how selfish you are? Asking me to transmit you a terminal disease on my own will! Even going as far as to propose like this? You're cruel!"

"Just say yes."

She was openly crying now but he knew he had to go on if he wanted her to finally give in to his selfish demand.

"You know I can't"—

"Remember what I told you about the power we had left?"

"You're threatening me? Surely you could have found some other way to say it! You're an actor after all!"

"And that's exactly why I'm resorting to such methods! I'm not acting right now! I'm being serious!"


"Just say yes."


"Please let me stay by your side, Sheryl..."

Seeing he was getting nowhere he tried another approach.

"Michel said it... If you really care about someone you'd give up your life for them."

"I don't think he meant contracting some disease when he said that..."

"That's too bad then, because that's what I understood. I've always been kind of dense when it comes to these matters anyway."

They were nearing the end of their power supply and it wouldn't be long before they had to make their descent. In the end she didn't give in, she sure was a fierce opponent.

"You're so selfish..."

"Isn't love literally selfish to begin with? To love and to be loved... That's what you yearn for right?"


He couldn't wait any longer.

"Seems like you win once again, Sheryl. Time's up..."

As he began to make their descent she said something he wasn't expecting to hear anymore.

"I'll get to be the one on top."

On second-thought that was rather unexpected.

" What are you"—

"I'll get to be the one on top! Whether you agree or not!"


"Yes I'll give into your selfish demand! But you have to promise me you will never leave me alone! Promise me you won't die like Michel! Promise me you'll outlive me!"

Although her last wish wasn't one he was glad to hear, he could still agree with the first two.

"I promise you that I'll never leave you! And when this will be all over I'll resign from the army."

"But what about the sky?"

She wondered if he was even aware how ashamed she would feel if he were to give up his dream because of her.

Fortunately for the galactic songstress the pilot seemed to have thought for once before saying that and his final answer made her initiate their third kiss on her own will.

"...You have already invaded my sky."