Synopsis: past fic. What happened to some characters on Akilian just before the Ice Age.

Disclaimer: the animated show "Galactik Football" doesn't belong to me. I'm not making any money with this fic so please, don't sue me. Last chapter.

Before the ice age, chapter 5

Wambas planet, some years after the explosion

Aarch awoke with the feeling he just had a nightmare. His body was painful all over. What had happened to him? Oh, he remembered. The match, the feeling that Smogg was destroying him from inside, him and Artegor arguing… And then, nothing. He had probably lost consciousness.

Now he was in a bedroom. A brown-haired woman got up when she saw he was awake. "How do you feel?" she asked.

"Well… much better", he said. The woman radiated calm and he immediately liked her. "Who are you?"

"I'm Dame Simbaï, the medic who took care of you lately. You had a bad case of Smogg poisoning but now you're healed."

He tried to get up. "You mean you saved my life? Well… How could I thank you?"

"Maybe you could tell whoever wants to get the Smogg that it would be a bad idea. It nearly killed you."

Aarch forced himself to smile. He had been stupid, indeed. When he thought of it, he had done things he was not proud of lately. He had forgotten fair-play, hurt other players on the field, been rude to other people even when he was not playing… this was really disturbing.

"I feel like another person," he said simply.

"You are. The Smogg modifies physical abilities, but it also modifies personality. Are you thirsty?" she added, handing him a glass of water. He nodded and drank. He really had the feeling he was awaking from a nightmare.

"Did someone visit me lately?" he asked.

"Artegor Nexus told me to call him when you would be awake but I'm afraid you'll have to wait a little."

He nodded. Having someone who took care of you felt good. Having his old personality back felt even better. Now he knew who he was, and he also knew what he wanted to do. And that included giving up Smogg and football definitely.

Ooo0ooo0oo

"You want to what?" Artegor asked him later. "After all that I did for you, you want to stop everything? You can't give up now. You can have your Smogg back."

"It's not my Smogg and I don't want it anyway."

"Don't do that. It would be…"

They both stared at each other and Aarch suddenly remembered a talk he had with his own brother years before. He had said things like football is all my life and I can't give up now, and Norata had told him how insane he thought he was. Now it was Artegor who was using his old arguments and him who had the feeling he was talking to an insane person. "Thank you", he said suddenly.

"What?"

"Now I can see my mistakes. I won't do that again."

Artegor grumbled and left. He was boiling inside. How could his old friend do that to him? How? He was going to make him pay, sooner or later.

Someone knocked at the door. It was the medic again. "How do you feel?" she asked.

"Never better. I'm going to leave, now. Thanks for everything again."

"Do you know what you're going to do now?" she asked politely.

He shrugged. "I guess I'll find something to do."

Ooo0ooo0oo

A house in Akilian

Norata was working behind his desk when his son burst into the room. "Hello Dad, I'm back. Can I go and play football with the neighbours?" he asked.

He sighed. "You can play any game you want with them except galactik football, I already told you that."

"But it's the only sport they want to play!"

"Listen, some very bad things happened to me because of this sport", he said sharply. "It even made me lose my leg. I don't want the same thing to happen to you, you know."

The boy nodded. He was very fond of his father but sometimes he couldn't understand his reactions. He went to leave the room, stopped on the doorstep and looked at him hesitantly. "Uh, dad? Do I have a mom?"

"What?"

"All the boys I know have a mom and a dad. Do I have a mom?"

Norata had expected this question for a long time. He gestured the boy to sit down and for the umpteenth time, he noticed that his eyes were now exactly the same shade of golden as his long-lost mother's. "Listen, Rocket," he said. "I'm sorry but your mother's dead."

"Dead? What does it mean?"

"She's gone. She'll never come back. When you were still a baby, she took a spaceship and the spaceship had an accident. It… blew up in space."

The boy nodded. His father didn't like lying to him but he believed it was the best solution. Children were cruel. If his son's schoolmates learnt he had been forsaken by his own mother when he was a few weeks old, they could make fun of him in the playground. Anyway, it was close to the truth. If he hadn't heard of fragile Kira for years, it meant that she was either dead, or protected by someone else, someone who had replaced him. He didn't like those ideas but just now, protecting his little boy was his priority.

"I see" the boy said simply before leaving the room. So his mom was dead. And he couldn't play with the other kids. In a way, this didn't really bother him because he was as much of a loner as both of his parents. Well, he could still learn football alone, after all. He just had to find a ball and a place his dad didn't know about.

Norata watched him through the window, wondering how much time would pass before the kid also found out that he had an uncle. He would have to tell him, well, sensible things about him. Raising a child really had to be done in a sensible way.

Ooo0ooo0oo

Another planet

Kira was sitting in front of the studio. She had just been fired because she had told the main actress that she was a "selfish bitch". The weirdest thing was, she didn't regret anything. She usually hated conflict and rudeness but with that woman… How could you remain calm and kind with someone who treats everybody like dirt?

It occurred to her that she would never become a famous actress. Maybe she was untalented, after all. Or maybe she was just unable to do what more ambitious girls did, like treading on each other, accepting to be photographed naked or sleeping with people they didn't even like.

But did she regret to have strong moral values? No. After all, she had been faithful to herself and it mattered more than fame or money to her.

Well, she had not always been faithful to herself. Years earlier, she had forsaken her baby and a man she still loved, after all. She still felt guilty about it. Maybe he had never forgiven her. Sometimes she felt like going back to Akilian to see how her son had grown up without her but… No, Norata had told her he couldn't raise his child alone, and unlike her, he was quite unromantic. He had probably married someone else now, a sensible, conventional, realistic woman. A better match for him. And they were happy together.

Kira wiped a tear and decided it was better this way. She wanted him to be happy, after all. And she didn't want to fall in love again and have her heart broken. But she needed to find another job, if only to make a living. Trying to be an actress was like swimming among sharks and she was tired of it. Maybe she could try to be hired as a shop assistant again. The clients usually appreciated her and being appreciated was so important for her.

She got up and walked to her shabby hotel. She had to start another life. Again. If she had survived among sharks, she could carry on trying to have a more meaningful life.

Ooo0ooo0oo

Akilian, some years later

It was the first time Adim was seeing Artegor after all these years and he looked changed: more careless, more arrogant. She wondered how much she had changed herself. "So, you think you can do something with our local team?" she asked cautiously.

"I guess I was wrong about Fluxes: there can be substitutes for them. Equipments, for example."

"It would cost a lot of money."

"Well, that would be well-employed money, wouldn't it?"

The redhead didn't know what to think. The only prestigious team that didn't have a Flux was the Pirates, and they were admired mostly because everyone was fascinated by their attitude, their fair-play and the fact nobody knew who they were exactly. "OK, let's say you'll be allowed to have a try. Where do you get the money from?"

"Some people are ready to pay a lot to see their kids play against the best teams. Why disappointing them?"

She didn't like that at all. Some really good players had started poor and had been selected thanks to their skills, not because of their wealth. But officially, nothing could prevent Artegor from realising his project.

"I'll see what I can do."

"Do you know what happened to our old friend, lately?"

She guessed immediately who he meant but she shrugged. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"You know. Blue eyes, nice smile, the one who dumped you and ran away with me. He ran away from me, too."

"The past doesn't matter to me", she said very calmly. "Goodbye, I have things to do."

He could swear he had seen her putting on a wry face briefly. So he was not the only one who was upset about Aarch. Good. Good. One day, he would make him pay for what he had done to him.

Ooo0ooo0oo

A bar in Shiloe, 16 years after the explosion

Someone had just announced that Sonny Blackbones and his team would soon be back and everyone was celebrating. The galaxy was relatively safe again, the Technoïd wouldn't have the Meta-Flux… oh, and by the way, it was the Snow Kids who had won the cup, which didn't bother the Pirates as they all thought that fighting the Technoïd was much more important than winning galactic football matches. Anyway, most of them didn't mind the Akilian team so why bothering?

A boy in his early teens was watching the holo when he noticed a man with piercing eyes who seemed to be thinking about. "What the matter, dad?" he asked. "You don't want to celebrate?"

The man shook his head and left the bar. Puzzled, his son followed him to their home, which was actually a spaceship where they lived and slept. The boy sat down on a second-hand chair - everything they owned was second-hand - while his father was looking into a box. "Did I ever tell you everyone called me Burns when I was younger?" the latter asked.

"Yes, you did. And you lived on Akilian."

"Exactly. I used to play in their football team, you know. This broadcast just reminded me of old memories." He took a photograph and showed it to his son.

"You looked… younger, dad. Who were the other people?"

"I suppose you can identify Aarch and Artegor Nexus. They used to be close friends but you know what happened to them. Norata, Aarch's brother, lost a leg at the beginning of the ice age and reconverted in floriculture. I saw him with his wife on the broadcast so I guess they were not such a crack pairing, after all. Adim, the red-haired, has now a job about football, too. Sandi, the blond girl, became blind and married Sven, the tall, big one. He runs a charity now and I think they have two daughters. Max, the bald one, never managed to have his novel published so he started working in the press. He became quite a successful journalist."

"And what about you, dad?" the boy asked, impressed.

"You know. I met interesting people after the explosion, we joined the Pirates together, I adopted you later…"

"And do you have any regrets?" his son couldn't help asking.

Burns shook his head. "Regrets? No. They must think I'm dead now but they must have gotten over it too. Logically, saving the world is more important than running after a ball."

The boy nodded, impressed, and they went back into the bar together. Life had to go on.

The end!