This is a round-robin fanfic inspired by this picture:
(http: // i22. photobucket. com/ albums/ b301/ steshin/ ARUSHERI/ real_end. jpg) To view the image, simply copy and paste to your URL thingy and delete spaces. The theme used in this story is DREAMS. We also messed around with a particular dialogue scene between Misa and Hikaru in DYRL. It was begging to be touched. XD
Contributed by meisters: arcangelus, emochinchilla, forgottendiary, steshin, and vivitoru
Alto sat numbly in the cockpit of his Messiah as it sat in the hangar of the Battle Frontier, dormant while the chaos of dealing with other landing fighters, damaged ones, injured pilots, took up everybody else's attention.
He stared at a particular purple earring held loosely in his left hand, his other hand resting upon the shattered helmet which lay in his lap. He continued to sit there alone, while the rest of the post-battle cleanup continued.
He slumped back, his body started to ache from all the G-force that God only knew how long he endured from the final battle.
He felt his fingers gently wrap around the earring in his palm. Inside his clenched fingers the earring felt fragile, determined and beautiful all the same time.
...just like the person whom the piece of jewelry belongs to, his mind supplied.
He took a deep breath, and then opened his canopy. The place was noisy. People were barking orders and emergencies. Alto kept silent, as he made his way through the throng of rushing bodies. Everything was moving fast. Blurry. His mind could not process through the noise.
He couldn't feel anything. Only the fragile earring he held in his grasp.
He heard her then.
He spun around.
There she stood in all her glory, smiling at him. Everything around him whirled like a fast-forwarded movie.
Silent yet urgent.
It couldn't be her.
He reached forward to touch her out-stretched arms, to be in her embrace again.
Like the elusive mist, she disappeared upon contact.
The ever-so-popular Sakura-hime opened his eyes upon hearing her crystalline voice desperately calling him.
After a few seconds dedicated to focusing his eyes on a blurry mass of strawberry blond, a tender smile crept unto his face when his fairy's gorgeous one clearly came into view.
Unfortunately for the poor pilot, he found the hard way that his body aching wasn't exclusive to his imaginary self as he tried to move his arm.
However judging by all the bandages he was wrapped into, he doubted his suffering was actually due to G-forces.
"W-what happened?" His voice groggy as he struggled to lift a hand towards her.
Sheryl gently caught his hand in mid-air with both of her own.
"Don't force yourself," she whispered in a concerned tone. "You don't remember but you lost a lot of blood. I don't even know how you managed to get out of your VF..." a shadow of sadness and fear hung over Sheryl's face as she recalled what she saw on the viewing screen.
"You were hit pretty badly and you almost didn't manage to land properly...and I thought, I thought..."
Sheryl paused; her thoughts were incoherent as her worries got the best of her. Her hands tightened around Alto's hand.
"Sheryl, I made you worry didn't I? When I get a little better, slap me all you want, okay?" Alto weakly smiled at her.
Alto groaned as he reached behind his head and fumbled around for a moment, before reaching out to Sheryl again with her lent earring in his grasp.
"Look...I didn't lose this one - I brought it back like I said I would..." He said, chuckling weakly.
Sheryl could only emit a hushed gasp as she reached out to catch his hand.
Sheryl rested her cheek on his hand, the earring silently gleamed.
"I was so scared..." She confessed. "I didn't care if you lost the last earring. Just as long as you got back safely..." She remembered Alto's near-death and tried to choke back a cry.
His face crumpled and at the back, he said a silent prayer. He'd make sure he will always return to her. That every time his VF would take him away on a mission, he will always return home to Sheryl.
God help him.
"Your earring, I think it saved me. It made me feel you were there with me, your voice, your song."
"Of course it did... That's why I gave it to you after all..."
They stayed silent for a while, each of them simply enjoying the other presence.
"Your earring... I would like to keep it."
Sheryl certainly wasn't prepared to hear such a request coming from her pilot and it was apparent when she didn't know what to say.
Seeing how hard she was trying to fight the tears back to formulate a coherent reply, Alto tenderly squeezed her hand and witnessed one of the most beautiful smiles that ever graced her features.
How grateful he was for coming back alive.
You might as well have it..." Her voice was struggling to sound haughty.
"Someone like you needs it more than I do."
Her eyes lowered, watching her fingertips trace his knuckles. Despite her smile, she could not help but contemplate on her intentions of letting him go. She had imposed on his kindness for too long. Alto was a person who deserved to be free. To fly off to endless horizons… she didn't want to anchor him out of obligation. It was different now. She was no longer dying from a terminal disease and peace had finally come.
Her thoughts stirred back into the room as Alto let out a watery chuckle.
"Indeed...indeed I do," Alto returned calmly.
The feeling of Sheryl's fingertips on his skin made him relax and prepare for what he was going to say next.
"Sheryl, listen...about that time," he started as he slowly intertwined their fingers together.
"Before anything else, Alto," Sheryl cut in. She unlaced her fingers from his, the action left the pilot slightly stunned. "I want to thank you for everything. If it weren't for you...your words, I might have never found the courage to sing." The memories of being trapped in the emergency shelter came to her mind.
She fought back the tears and forced a smile. "Alto, thank you for everything...I can take it from here now."
No matter how much she tried to steel herself, Sheryl immediately got up to leave.
She knew it would be impossible for her to leave once he would try to hold her back as he always does.
"I'm going to let the others know you're awake!"
Hearing her fake cheerfulness made her sick. There was no way he wouldn't see past her acting, she really needed to get out fast. Her hand was already on the doorknob when she heard the wounded man struggling to sit up.
Sheryl immediately came to his side. Her concern for him cracked off her pitiful pretense. "Alto, you idiot! What the hell are you trying to do?!" Placing her hands on his shoulders, Sheryl tried to gently push him back down his bed. Alto caught her by the wrists. His expression made her stomach drop.
"Sheryl," he spoke out, his voice sober. "I know what you're trying to do."
Sheryl could only look away from his all knowing gaze.
"Please," he said as he lowered her hands by her wrists, wrapping them around his waist, drawing her closer.
"Don't, don't leave me. Not now. Not tomorrow. Never."
It was the last straw for Sheryl. Then and there in Alto's arms, she wept. Alto held her tightly, stroking her hair while listening to her weep.
They remained like that for quite some time. Sheryl's face stayed buried into the crook of his neck. She didn't want to move away, for doing so would mean eye-contact and she did not know how she would manage to face him in such an intimate proximity. She moved her head a bit, her lips close to his ears.
"Alto," She whispered. "Don't do this. I can't stand it. I don't want your sympathy."
Then it hit him. She still did not understand.
With all the strength he could muster, he swiftly cupped Sheryl's cheeks with both of his hands, locking their lips in the most endearing and gentlest kiss Alto knew how to give.
When he finally broke off the kiss he gazed at her.
"Tell me, did that feel like anything out of sympathy?"
Sheryl looked away, blushing bright red. She didn't answer him.
Sighing at her difficulty, Alto took her into his arms, wincing a bit at the exertion of his pained muscles.
"Sheryl," Alto said, his hand playing and measuring the mass of her hair.
"...Do you remember that time back at Gallia 4?"
Sheryl still avoided his eyes. "You got to fly in a real sky...with Ranka-chan." Her words couldn't hide the bitter taste of disappointment she felt that time. She had wanted to fly with him.
"Yes, I did." Alto confirmed with a nod. "When you collapsed and had to stay put in bed...and when Ranka's song came and saved the day."
He paused for a moment before continuing.
"When I flew into the real sky with Ranka, it felt so strange, different from what I had expected... I was finally in a real sky but my mind could not help but wander…but it was only when my craft crashed and Ranka and I ended up alone did I realize...That's when I found out."
Sheryl was shaking. Alto just held her.
"The one who I wanted by my side forever..." His hand stopped stroking her hair as he looked up to the ceiling. He smiled.
Alto's confession seemed to have brought the world to a standstill. In the silence of their embrace, they could hear footfalls of people passing by outside the room, the humming of the air conditioner and the insignificant buzzing of the lights.
Finally, Sheryl said something, slightly muffled by Alto's hospital gown.
"…Honestly?" She sounded hopeful; the words spoken from him were too good to be true.
"Yes. One person cannot fly alone. That's why…I have you." His hold tightened around her. Sheryl sank into the deep embrace, her heart aching with different emotions. She closed her eyes.
"Alto…you owe me a pair of new earrings." She whispered out, her voice shaking with emotion.
Without opening her eyes, she knew that Alto was taken aback by her request. She could also envision the smile on his face when he said he'd get her one. Before long, Sheryl fell asleep, lulled by his heartbeat.
It was such a beautiful dream, Sheryl cried.