After the Battle

Chapter 1. - Under Lock and Key

A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead as he lied in bed, fully asleep, but far from restful or peaceful. Half words would escape his breath, only in his dreams were they loud and clear. Through a skyward view, an unbroken gaze fixated at on his sleeping form. Powerless to aid, but determine to stay, his silent guardian watched on. As night finally broke, so did the awful dream's hold, and as it did, his eyes shot open and his mouth released all his emotions in a single word "CZ".

With a look on his face that one could read as "Not this Again", he rubbed strands of hair off his face. The dream wasn't all that frequent, but the though lingered long enough to make him feel as if it did. Despite his combat training he was never an early morning riser, but felt no desire to fall asleep again. He figured it was better to start cooking an early morning breakfast. It was Raquel's week to cook, but with nothing better to do, he went outside to gather some eggs. It always perplexed him why Pacifica always had trouble collecting her favorite ingredient. It had been just over a year since the deciding battle with the Peacemakers, and yet Pacifica still couldn't cook and Raquel's tendency to use magic sometimes got in the way of a good meal. Zefiris had progressed, but flavoring food was not her strong point.

As he folded the omelets, vision of the dream would come back. Before he realized it, he became lost in the images of his mind rather than those of his actual eyes. It wasn't until Zefiris called out "Shannon…Shannon….Shannon Casull!" His eyes finally regained control and Shannon finally greeted Zefiris "Morning Zefi"

"Shannon are you feeling ill, perhaps you require more rest." she asked, fully anticipating a forthcoming lie.

"Ah, no, I mean, I'm fine, just concentrating on breakfast" replied Shannon.

If she had a different personality or maybe if she actually though she could get him to open-up, she would have pried. Instead, she accepted his words and began setting the table. Besides, she didn't need him to say it, she already knew the subject of his troubles. They had synchronized enough times that she knew, or at least had a good idea about his reoccurring nightmare and feelings.

This same though did not escape Shannon. His little secret might not be so secret to Zefiris. He knew that the possibility existed, even though they had not synchronized in a while.

They had only synchronized twice since the last battle with the Peacemakers. There was simply no need for the D-Knight and Dragoon to take up arms again. The world was by no means, peaceful, but with all the major powers trying to rebuild and the memory of the destruction, still fresh in everyone's mind, no one was eager to star a war. One could only hope it would last, for a while anyway.

Besides, Shannon and Zefiris, had no intention of becoming the new Peacemakers. The world would have to police itself. Although, Seness and her group may take the job. In addition, with humans being reunited with the real world, stories of exploration and discovery held peoples interest. The Casull's had no desire to explore anywhere new, they had been away from home too long, to want to go somewhere else.

Or maybe, that's just what Shannon needed. The though had occurred to him more than once. After breakfast, he sat under a tree overlooking the horse stable. He didn't know if it would actually do any good, but some alone time to truly reflect on the past, could help. The Casull's would talk about the past sometimes, and Cin's name would come up. They would ask, and he would admit he missed her. They never asked about CZ, which made him glad, because he might admit that he actually missed CZ more.

Pacifica and Zefiris were grooming the horses in the stable. Pacifica remarked to Zefiris how much Dragunov's foal had grown, and with that comment, Zefiris was reminded of her own troubles. Living things are born, age, and eventually die. She was reaching her own limit. Just as Shannon never spoke about his problems, she never spoke about her own. She wasn't afraid of dying; she was built for combat after all. It was the way she has planned on saying goodbye that worried her.