Two weeks later Saya was looking out on the city from the roof of the house she was living in with Irene and Kai. She was staying with them for now; Saya was still unsure of what her wish was for the future. Irene was growing on her, but the memories her face and startling blue eyes brought everyday were not lessening. Kai wanted her to stay and finally be the family they had so desperately wanted so many years ago, but much had changed. She could smile and laugh, thinking of her adoptive father George's saying to live for today but look forward to tomorrow, but it was not a natural thing- Saya worked hard for happiness. She struggled more than she let on.
After every long night Saya spent dwelling on memories, Kai would mention that she must have had a tough night. Saya's responses to his observations were always vague, and for the most part they had been happy for the few weeks she'd been awake. Kai teased her about looking like his daughter, and people constantly asked if she and Irene were twins.
Saya didn't sleep anymore. Julia had discovered a formula, with the help of Irene's blood work, which would prevent her body from the necessity of sleep. As great as it was not to be thinking about the limit on her time, Saya had a lot of time to herself at night time. Often she would sit on the roof, as she did tonight, and watch, think and feel. The watching was the easiest, the world was full of hustle and bustle and even night in Okinawa is filled with enough to keep Saya's mind busy. The problem was when her mind began to wander.
Saya knew it was going to be a long night and decided to borrow Kai's motorcycle and head to the beach. The drive was beautiful and serene; with barely any cars on the road she let her gaze wander to the moonlight shinning off the ocean. Parking the bike at the top of the hill she walked down the stairs to the beach and sat in the sand. She sat and watched the ocean move, listened to the tide filter in and out; she pulled a dried pink rose out of her pocket, one that had a blue ribbon tied around it.
No one had mentioned the rose to her after Irene had given it to Saya the day she'd woken up. It was silly to think that people were careful about exactly what they talked about with her, and though she was by far the oldest she was the one who had had the least time to heal and accept what had happened. A silent tear dropped down her cheek as she stared at the rose, and for the first time since awakening she allowed herself to think his name, to speak his name.
"Haji" She whispered in a pained tone and at last allowed herself to grieve the loss of her chevalier, her friend and constant companion. He's said he loved her, had always loved her. Saya permitted herself to go back to the first thoughts she'd had upon waking up weeks ago, the memories of the life she shared with her first chevalier. Every time she'd awaken, except these past two times, he'd been there, almost every day the last few years he'd been there, her shadow and silent savior. Her guardian angel. Yet all he'd ever done was let her make her own decisions, excluding that last day.
The last day she saw him he told her to live, though she should have died. He told her to leave, when she should have stayed and killed Amshel- she should have saved him. He told her he loved her, and she couldn't respond to his confession but for a kiss. It had probably been a hundred year over due kiss, except for those of exchanged blood, the kiss that had carried Saya back into the place of hope in her mind, the place that wanted her and Kai, Diva's daughters and Haji all to live together. It was a dreamland, that place of hope, and it died shortly after the kiss. Along with Haji.
Tears running down her face she remembered how Kai had told her, before she'd fallen asleep again, that Haji would be back. She remembered the desire she'd had to believe him, and yet the memories, him losing his arm, being crushed under the rocks and the Met being bombed, had killed all the hope in her. That's the part of Saya that was still missing, the optimistic part. As much as Kai could still make her laugh, as much as the people she'd known before still cared for her, it was not enough. Saya wasn't sure it would ever be enough to fill the hole.
A week ago Saya had heard Julia and her daughter Lauren considering the possibility of Saya creating another chevalier so she and Irene might have someone else with them through the years. Julia's daughter Lauren was a very perceptive woman, she was the one who had made the comment that it seemed a part of Saya had never recovered from the traumas of the past. Lauren had been the one to suggest that if anyone made a chevalier it should be Irene, because emotionally Saya didn't appear to be ready to have someone else with her, watching over her, always there.
Lauren was right, Saya thought to herself as she wiped the tears off her cheeks then stood back up in the sand, I couldn't handle it being someone else.
She sighed and decided it was time to go back to see the tomb and channel some of her questions, frustrations and sadness at George; he had been the one with all the answers as long as she had known him. He told her to smile, he told her to be optimistic and always to hope- and yet Saya failed at all but the smiling. She did not live for the future anymore.
Upon reaching the top of the tomb Saya sat in the middle on the platform and commenced her conversation with the stars.
"It seems I have changed yet again, changed into someone I can't say I am familiar with. It's an odd thing, being able to laugh and smile around people but feeling empty and alone, hollow. Like a piece, or three, of me is missing. Dad, I miss you. It's ridiculous that I should feel this way, especially after all the people who are still around accept me so openly. I feel like I really need someone to smack some sense into me. I don't want to worry people; I don't want them to waste their short lives concerning themselves with my troubles instead of their joys.
"Riku, you daughter is beautiful and sweet and kind. She's also got a serious problem with sarcasm; I think she spent too much time with Kai growing up. I'm sorry I couldn't help you in the end, I'm sorry that my attempt to keep you alive caused you pain and then made you a target for more pain. But mostly I'm sorry you're not here."
Saya paused and took a deep breath, picturing Haji in her mind, and closed her eyes.
"Haji, so much is not the same without you here. Your absence doesn't affect the others like it does me, I can tell. You were a part of me, my blood, my knight, my friend, and my chevalier. It seems no matter how hard I try I cannot rid myself of the half of my heart you still possess. I wonder why I never noticed before exactly how vital you were to my survival, not just your protection but your companionship. I realize now how much that all meant, how much everything you did- keeping me healthy, keeping me strong and keeping me sane- made you as much a part of my life as my soul is. Without it I am hollow, living a life, but a meaningless life. Surviving and yet not living; I think all the joy in my soul went with you."
Slowly Saya tilted her head back and reopened her eyes so she could stare up at the starry sky,
"It seems I might have loved you since I first met you too."
Glancing at the moon, almost done setting, Saya figured it was about time to go home. Unsurprisingly she was feeling a lighter hearted. The observation about love had just come, and it felt right. The burden was still there, but at least the truth about her life was out there. As Saya stood to go a pink rose caught her attention by the entrance to her tomb, blinking she walked over and picked it up. A blue ribbon was tied around the stem, just as the one sitting here two weeks ago had been. Glancing back up at the sky Saya smiled at the stars.
"Thank you Haji."
Walking slowly down all the stairs, her attention very focused on the perfect pink rose and her fingers running up and down the silky ribbon, Saya tripped on the very last stair and with a sound of surprised shifted so the rose would not get crushed on her way to the ground. A pair of hands grabbed her and set her up straight and Saya found herself face to face with her dreams and her nightmares. The face she saw everywhere she went and yet thought she'd never see it again.
For minutes Saya had simply stared up at him in shock and disbelief. The rose fell out of her hand and Haji picked it up, offering it out to her. The familiar gesture of Haji taking care of her sent Saya over the edge. She burst into sobs and fell forward into his arms, it had been like this in Paris years ago, falling apart and needing Haji to help he be strong. He picked her up and carried her back to where her motorcycle was, by the beach. He sat down on the top of the stairs, where she had looked up at him as he played his cello and begged him to tell her what she was. Memories like that one, little ones set off by little things, were coming back to her as she sat buried in Haji's lap and cried.
Many minutes later, when sobs faded away, Saya pulled back from his now soaked-by-tears jacket sleeve and looked up at him with red puffy eyes and a hopeful, stricken face.
"Haji, it's really you? Are you really here?" Saya searched his eyes, those blue eyes she would have known anywhere, for something substantial. Haji's arms tightened briefly around her and he wiped the stray tears from her eyes with a human hand. Saya froze and she continued to look up at him with questions written all over her face,
"Haji, after everything that happened to you, you are still here. How can that be?"
"I told you that you were my reason for being, I am your chevalier and as long as you shall live I will be by your side. Regardless of whether you travel the world with your sword or settle somewhere to live, I will be with you."
Saya looked up from inside his arms and set a severe expression on her face,
"You will not leave me again."
"As you wish, Saya."
She looked up at him, really looked at him, for the first time. As close to his face as she was, curled up in the comfort in his arms, she could see the tension in his face. He looked tired, though she knew that was impossible. It's probably just weariness after so many years. She was not sure what to say; after all the talking she had done to the sky seeing him actually took her by surprise and she forgot all the important things to say. After assuring herself he was here and not going to leave her Saya didn't know how to start a conversation. Content for the moment just to be in her chevalier's arms, she curled into him.
Saya felt Haji's muscles tense as she buried herself deeper into his chest, then his arms closed around her tighter. He seemed perfectly happy not to talk, unsurprising since he had never been particularly chatty, but it unnerved her now. Saya felt so vulnerable, ridiculous because he didn't even know how she felt. He doesn't know how I feel, the thought dawned upon her, her own epiphany. Before she could do anything about it Haji asked,
"How long have you been awake Saya?"
"A little over two weeks; I don't sleep anymore." At a silently raised eyebrow Saya expanded, "Julia has been working for to find a way to prevent my need for the long sleep, and she thinks she's done it. I just can't sleep at all anymore, like you."
"I would be glad if you would not sleep so long anymore, it gets difficult to pass such a large amount of time without you." Haji shifted her out of his lap and onto the stair beside him, pulling his cello out of its case. "I have practiced the song Saya; I think it is finally right."
She missed the warmth of his body and shivered, then began to draw his bow across the strings and she shivered for a whole different reason. He was right, it was perfect. Listening to the song put Saya in such a peaceful state of mind, this was a song she thought would never be heard again, and Haji's playing had always brought her such pleasure. Time seemed to stand still and Saya listened to the roar of the ocean and the music of their existence together. When Haji played the final note he glanced over at her and she smiled at him,
"Haji, it was beautiful."
He nodded and slipped the cello back into its case and when his hands closed one the clasps to lock it closed Saya's hands found his. He looked up at her briefly before latching the case and she took his hands in hers.
"Haji, I'm not sure how things are going to change again, but they are going to change. If I never sleep again we will have an eternity before us without much to do. Irene, Diva's only daughter still alive, will live forever too, but it's just us." Saya smiled at him with eyes that caught the glow of the twinkling stars, "If we plan to start sharing and eternity together as of tonight, I'd say there might be something I should get out in the open."
Haji nodded at her and opened his mouth to speak but Saya slipped a finger over his lips, "If I ever get a chance to speak my mind, let it be now. Every moment I thought you were gone, even in my sleep, I missed you. My soul ached for a part of me I hadn't realized was a necessity to live. And then I realized it wasn't just my soul that needed you near." Saya brought their clasped hands to her chest. "Haji you were first a friend and companion, bringing me happiness for many years. Then you were a chevalier, protecting and guiding me though my life. Those parts of my life are over now, and I need something else from you."
"Whatever you wish, Saya." Haji murmured.
"I need my love, I need the man who took away the piece of my heart over thirty years ago, and I need my companion, friend, knight and love with me always. No part of me can exist without the other parts, and Haji, you are a part of me."
Haji stole a gasp from Saya as he grabbed her back into his lap and held her close,
"I told you I would always love you, I told you I would never leave. You have me forever Saya. Every day of forever I will be here."
He drew back and they gazed into each other's eyes, a pair destined to have been together all of their very long lives, and the as the gap between their faces closed Saya let out a sigh of relief. The wholeness she had not been able to find and the hollow inside her, both were filled in a rush upon the meeting of lips. Saya gasped and leaned into Haji, her Haji. It felt like an amazing, blissful dream. Saya only hoped, prayed, that she was not still sleeping.
It felt so right, so essential to be in Haji's arms, and Saya had no intention of leaving them. Haji carried Saya down the stairs and laid her in the sand before closing down on top of her. Smiling Saya looked up at Haji with a dreamy look on her face and admitted, "Haji, I love you so very much."
"Saya," He breathed out a relieved sound, a happy, exalting sound as he looked down at her, "queen to my chevalier and woman to my man, I want to be your husband. Please, say you'll be my bride. An eternity with the woman I love would be a type of paradise I never imagined."
Saya stopped breathing and looked at the handsome man lying above her. Neither of them was fully human, neither would die and neither would survive too long without the other. She reached up and slipped the blue ribbon tying Haji's hair out and slid it between her fingers, like she'd done with the roses' ribbon. His hair cascaded down between them, silky black satin, and Saya smiled as she leaned up to his lips,
"I would be the happiest woman alive to be your bride." Saya grinned blissfully, "You know you couldn't get rid of me if you tried anymore, right?" Saya grinned.
Haji's happiness came out in the form of one of his rare smiles, the beautiful twist to his stoic lips, and said lips returned to hers, occupied keeping his true love, his queen and his best friend with him.
Nothing would try to tear them apart again, because nothing ever could.
A/N: Well it ended up two chapters, longer than I'd anticipated. I suppose this was the suppressed romantic in me making sure my favorite characters got their story completed properly. I attempted to keep the characters in character… how'd I do?
I'd really like to know what you all think! Aka REVIEW- Thanks :D