A/N: Same as first author's note. :) Except, this is timed somewhere near the beginning, after Akzeriuth, but before the lowering of the lands? Yes? Okay. Er... I think this is considered AU, because there's a scene that I invented, which did not happen in the game/anime in here. But I wanted a fight, so I put in a fight between the Generals and Luke's group. Don't like it? I don't care. :) Thanks to my reviewers from last chapter! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Here's the final chapter! Enjoy and please review to tell me if you liked it! :)

Disclaimer: Sadly, I still don't own it. I don't even own a PS2, or any system except game cube. :) So don't sue! :)


I Need You

The next morning, Arietta woke up bright and early, feeling strangely energetic. She didn't sit still long enough to ponder as to why, but quickly took a bath and changed into her black God-Generals outfit. She was pulling on her boots when there was a knock at her door.

"Come in," she called absently, doing up the buckles.

"Ah, you're already up and ready. Excellent," Major Legretta murmured. "Largo and I are going down to the town to grab some necessary items from the market. Would you wake Sync up for me? We're running late as it is,"

"Yes Major Legretta," Arietta replied, getting to her feet. Her Liger friend hopped up too, but Arietta motioned for him to stay. She looked up to ask where Sync's bedroom was, but Legretta was gone. "Hmm…" Arietta said. "Guess I'll have to find it on my own."

She walked out of her room, closing the door behind her and clutched her doll as she walked the long hallways. She passed the room she knew as Largo's and figured the next one had to be Sync's. It wasn't Dist's – she could usually hear his snores coming from the room across the hall.

Hesitantly, she knocked on the door. There was no answer so she pushed the door open quietly. Stepping into the darkly coloured room, she spotted Sync lying on his stomach on his bed, which was against the far wall. She giggled and walked over, noticing he even wore his mask to bed. "Strange," she murmured. He wore a black sleeveless shirt and dark trousers to bed. His hair was a mess, falling over his mask, instead of sticking up like normal. His mouth was open and he was snoring softly.

Biting her lip, Arietta nervously reached out to shake his shoulder. "Sync…" she called as she did so. Just as her hand touched him, he twisted onto his back, grabbing her wrist in his left hand tightly. His other hand shot up to her neck. "Uh… Sync?" She questioned timidly.

"Huh…?" Sync shook his head sleepily. "Oh, it's you. Sorry," he muttered, releasing her and sitting up. He ran a hand through his dark green hair.

"You have quick reflexes," Arietta commented, tilting her head curiously. His hair looks so soft…

"Yeah well, that takes practice," Sync said absently, his head angled down. "What are you doing in here, anyway?"

"Legretta had to go to the market with Largo and wanted me to wake you. Apparently, we're running late," Arietta replied with a shrug. "So, get dressed and ready!" She added cheerfully, leaving his room.

She felt her stomach whining for food, so headed to the dining hall for breakfast. She hoped there was still some left over.

As she entered the large room, the smell of eggs and toast wafted to her and her stomach grumbled in anticipation. Giggling, she hurried to the table, ignoring Dist who was stabbing his eggs grumpily.

Arietta had just finished her last piece of toast when the double doors opened once more and Sync entered, looking refreshed and back to normal. His hair was spiky again, Arietta noticed sadly. She rather liked it down.

Boys…she thought in amusement as Sync sat down across from her and immediately reached for food. He didn't look up at her or say anything at all until he had finished eating.

She had her hands clasped together on the table, her plate pushed away from her and her doll resting in her lap. Dist had left five minutes earlier, purposefully making his exit dramatic though neither Sync nor Arietta paid any attention.

They sat in silence for awhile, both of them awaiting Largo and Legretta's return. Arietta felt strangely awkward around the green haired General. She didn't know why. Had something changed in their relationship? She realized it must have, for she felt differently about him. She saw him as another person, not just her fellow General and comrade.

"Sync," she began nervously. He looked up at her and she wished she could see his eyes, to try and gauge how he was feeling. "You said yesterday… that you only wear the mask because of me. What did you mean by that?"

The fourteen year old didn't reply immediately but looked down again. His mouth was a firm line. "I was only trying to rile you up. It meant nothing," he replied, his voice cool.

"Oh," Arietta said with a frown. "I see,"

There was another long silence where Arietta tried to think of something to say and Sync stared at the doors behind her. She couldn't think of anything and instead brought her legs up onto the chair with her, wrapping her arms around her knees for comfort. She rested her chin on them and waited.

Sync kicked out another chair beside him and turned his own chair so that he could prop his feet up on the second chair. He folded his hands across his stomach and Arietta guessed that if his mask were off, his eyes would be closed.

"Are you nervous?" Sync asked suddenly, not looking at her.

"Huh?" Arietta replied stupidly. "Oh, about today. Yes, a bit. I… do not wish to see Anise and Ion again,"

Sync scoffed. "Breaks your heart, does it?"

Arietta closed her eyes, not wanting to fight with him. "Yes," she whispered. "I can't stand Anise. I can't bear to see them together. I don't understand what it is she has… she has that I do not. What did I do wrong?"

Sync turned his head towards her and she could feel his gaze burning through her. "Is that really what you believe? That you're responsible for Anise taking your place?"

"Well," Arietta said, opening her eyes and flushing. "They did reassign me. I must have done something wrong,"

Sync shook his head, facing the wall again. "It was nothing you did,"

Arietta's eyes widened in surprise. "How do you know that?"

"Just trust me," Sync murmured, exhaling deeply.

Arietta went to ask him to explain but the double doors opened again and they both turned to look as Largo and Legretta entered.

"Good morning you two," Legretta greeted sitting beside Arietta.

"Morning," Arietta replied, shifting so she was sitting properly in her chair once more, with her feet touching the floor. Largo moved the chair away from Sync so that the teen's feet hit the floor with a thud. Sync pursed his lips in irritation but Largo ignored him, taking the now empty seat.

"Are you both ready? Did you eat?" Legretta questioned, and received two nods from the young Generals. "Good, we'll be leaving now then,"

Sync reluctantly stood up. He didn't know why or where the feeling had come from, but he had an irksome feeling that something terrible was going to happen. It wouldn't go away, and it came with the empty, nauseous fluttering in his stomach.

They walked out of the Headquarters and he watched as Arietta whistled, bringing her Liger to her.

"What's the matter Sync? I sense you're… troubled," Largo said roughly as the four Generals walked to the boat they traveled in.

"It's nothing," Sync muttered. "Just… I dunno, be on guard,"

"Aren't we always?" Largo said with a deep chuckle.

Sync smirked but didn't reply. He couldn't shake the feeling of foreboding. He glanced at Arietta and noticed she seemed rather jumpy as she walked beside her Liger. He realized she was probably anticipating the fight.

They entered the boat. They had to sail to Grand Chokmah, where their enemies were planning to spend two nights meeting with Emperor Peony. They knew this from Mohs, who knew from Anise. The sail would take most of the day, so they would not reach the Imperial city until late afternoon. They would find the group by the port, where Anise would lead them. There, the fight would commence.

Sync sighed, standing on the main deck in the cool air. He rested his arms on the railing and tried to get rid of his stupid instinctual feeling. He wasn't one to rely on his instincts – or anything really – so he didn't want to make too big a deal of this.

"Are you okay?" Arietta's voice drifted to his ears and he turned to face the pink haired General.

"Why do you care?" He muttered bitterly.

"Is that a 'no'?" She asked, tilting her head with a small smile.

He groaned, running a hand through his hair in exasperation. "No, it was a 'leave me alone'."

She shrugged. "I'm not allowed to enjoy the view?" She said, not losing her smile as she came to stand beside him.

"Arietta, what do you want?" Sync muttered, leaning his elbows against the railing and looking up at the clear sky.

"I dunno," she murmured. "Company, I guess," she said facing the sea and resting a slender arm on the railing. Her other arm cradled her doll.

"Go and find Legretta then," Sync said wearily. It wasn't that he didn't want to see her. He just didn't figure he was much for company right then.

She mumbled something in a low tone and Sync frowned. "I didn't hear you. What?"

He looked at her when she refused to reply. She was biting her lip and her cheeks were flushed pink. Hmm… why was she embarrassed? "Well?" He pressed.

She sighed. "I'd prefer your company right now," she finally said, her voice was still low but he managed to hear her this time.

His frown deepened. "Why?" He snapped, angry with himself for the heat rising in his face. He was grateful of his mask.

She shrugged. "I don't really know," she said as he turned to look out at the sea too. "It's just… I'm nervous of the coming battle, but… but around you, I stop thinking of it,"

"Hmm…" Sync said in reply. He didn't know what to think of that. He wanted to know why his presence would cease her worries, but was too wary of the answer to ask.

"I'm sorry," she said, her voice shaky. "If you detest my presence so much, I'll leave you." The young teen turned and walked away.

Sync hesitated but then called out as she made it to the door of the port. Damn. "If it makes you feel better, then you're welcome to stay out here," he muttered, not turning around to look at her. "I just can't guarantee I'll be much company," he added.

She slowly came back to stand beside him. "That's okay," she whispered. "Thank you, Sync,"

He grunted and continued to look out at the sea. She clutched her doll to her chest and gazed at the waves crashing against the boat. The two teens stood in silence. Sync noticed it wasn't awkward this time. It was more of a companionable silence, and he found himself glad she was there, even if they weren't speaking.

"The Fon Master will be fine," Sync finally said, repeating his words from yesterday. "Largo and Legretta know we are not to harm him and I'll… focus on my battle with Guy."

Arietta looked up in surprise. "Why… would you do that?"

"It is good to have a passion in something," Sync murmured honestly. "Your goal to protect Ion, as long as it does not interfere with our plans, is real and something you should not lose. It's what keeps you going, and we all need that."

"What keeps you going?" She asked quietly, gazing at him even though he refused to look at her.

He didn't reply for awhile and she looked down, clearly thinking he wasn't going to answer. "Anger," he said finally.

"Are you here to take Ion?" Luke fon Fabre demanded, his hand going to his sword immediately.

Arietta winced, trying not to look at the Fon Master but failing. He looked especially fragile today, as if he would pass out at any moment. His green eyes were wide, and worried. It pained her to see him so weak, but she remembered Sync's words from earlier. Ion would be safe.

"Even if we were, what would you be able to do to stop us?" Largo taunted earning a glare from the redhead.

"Get out of here!" Anise Tatlin yelled, grabbing Tokunaga. Arietta couldn't help but glare at the younger girl. Everything – it was all her fault. Arietta should be the Fon Master Guardian, not Anise!

Arietta glanced at Legretta, to see if they were to begin the battle yet. Legretta nodded, taking out her fon-tech handguns menacingly. "Prepare yourselves!" The Major yelled.

"Go!" Arietta snapped, thrusting her doll forward. Her beasts immediately lunged forward, charging the group. Arietta began casting her artes to increase her friend's powers, and keep herself safe from attacks.

Sync got into battle with Guy, dodging his sword and becoming a blur as he moved. Arietta momentarily admired how agile her fellow comrade was. He wasn't called Sync the Tempest for no reason.

Legretta was fighting Tear, and Largo had taken on Natalia, Jade and Luke. Anise was currently attacking Arietta's beasts.

Arietta heard Sync cast Absolute, watching from the corner of her eye as he lithely hit the ground, and an explosion of blue ice hit Guy. Seeing that her Liger was being hurt by Anise's Tokunaga, Arietta cast Negative Gate at the brunette.

Sync's second arte incidentally hit Tear as well, and the melodist went soaring backwards, landing on her back. "Tear!" Luke shouted. Largo took advantage of the redhead's distraction to land a good blow with his weapon and Luke doubled over in pain.

"Luke!" Natalia yelled, shooting an arrow at Largo, which he easily blocked.

"Arietta! Pay attention!" Anise shouted. "Feel the hammer of light! Limited!" Arietta grunted as the arte hit her and sent her backwards.

Sync was hit at that moment as well and Arietta collided into him. They landed painfully, though Arietta's was less painful as she landed on Sync. "Oof," Sync groaned from under her. She flushed and stood up.

"You okay?" She murmured wincing as pain shot through her own body. Stupid Anise…

"Yeah, you?" Sync replied, glancing at her, as he too stood.

She nodded and turned back to Anise, "O hellion whose roar chills the very soul, resound...Bloody Howling!" She screamed, casting the dark arte at her opponent. Of course, the arte caused not only Anise to go flying in the air, but the rest of the group as well.

Sync chuckled. "And people think you're fragile," he muttered just loud enough for her to hear.

She managed a small smile and then returned to the battle as Anise sent another arte towards her. She blocked it with Guardian.

The battle raged on and on, with both sides tiring immensely.

"Sync, give up already!" Guy yelled as Sync dodged his sword again.

Sync chuckled. "Why would I do that?"

"Because I'm exhausted," Guy replied with a wry smile.

"Good," Sync smirked. "That makes my job easier!"

Sync winced as Arietta fell to the ground by Anise's artes yet again. He watched from the corner of his eye, still dodging Guy, to see if she would get up again. He released a breath when she did. He didn't know why he cared about the stupid girl. She was only his comrade.

"Do my eyes deceive me or do you seem sort of protective of Arietta today?" Guy taunted.

Sync rolled his eyes beneath his mask. "Clearly, your eyes deceive you," he snapped.

"Or maybe you've always been like this and I just… ow… haven't noticed because I've never seen you battle around Arietta," Guy continued, blocking Sync's arte.

"Hammer of lightning! Make 'em tingle! Heh Heh! Spark Wave!" Anise shouted and Arietta screamed, falling to her knees.

Sync cringed. "Gravity Well!" He held his hand out towards Anise and watched in satisfaction as the arte struck her.

"Better pay attention, Sync!" Guy leapt into the air, performing Tempest and Sync grimaced as his arms were slashed.

"Damn," he cursed under his breath. He aimed a kick for Guy's stomach, successfully pushing the swordsman away from him.

As Guy was down, Sync surveyed the battle. Arietta had gotten back up and was now fighting on her own, her friends' defeated. Largo was still holding his own against Luke and Jade. Natalia seemed to have been defeated. Tear and Legretta were at a standstill.

Guy's sword suddenly slashed in front of Sync and even though the green haired teen leapt back, his mask was sliced in two and fell to the ground with a clatter.

This time, Sync's curse was loud and he spun away from Guy, covering his face with his hand and praying that Arietta or the Fon Master didn't look over. "You idiot," he berated Guy, who was probably confused.

"Uh… it's only a mask?" Guy said bewilderment evident in his tone.

Sync hesitated. He didn't know whether to keep battling as if nothing had happened, and chance the whole group finding out who he really was, or to leave. It would be safer to leave, but he didn't want to give up.

"Sync!" Legretta's voice reached him.

"We'd better go!" Sync called back, hating the words. His back was to the group.

"Right," Legretta said, seeing the situation. "Until next time, Tear,"

The four Generals pulled back, leaving a bewildered group. "What happened, Sync?" Largo demanded. Sync had his hand over his eyes, peeking through his fingers to see.

"Guy split my mask," Sync muttered, ashamed and angry. He noticed Largo had lifted Arietta up, who must be feeling weak.

"Ah, I see," Legretta murmured as they reached the boat. They entered and Sync went to his room, but was stopped by Legretta. "Maybe… this is for the better." She bit her lip, clearly thinking. "I want you to tell Arietta,"

"What?" Sync snapped. "You know the Commandant's –"

"I know, and it pains me to disobey him," Legretta said bowing her head. "But I think he underestimates Arietta. I think… if she knew the truth… that she would still be willing to fight with us,"

Sync shrugged. "If that's what you want," he muttered. He didn't want to tell her. Not anymore. He liked being Sync. He didn't want to hear her… hear her call him Ion.

"Yes," Legretta said her tone firm. "It's time she knows the truth,"

Sync nodded and stormed off. "Send her to my room," he called over his shoulder.

Legretta tended Arietta's wounds silently. She seemed to have something on her mind. "Are you all right, Major?" Arietta murmured.

"Yes," Legretta replied shortly. "There, you're finished. How do you feel?"

Arietta hesitantly stood up. Her head spun for a moment but she did feel stronger. "I'm better, thank you."

"Good," Legretta said and then turned her back to Arietta. "I want you to go see Sync. He has something to tell you. And Arietta, remember, he's still Sync."

To say Arietta was confused would be an understatement but she didn't question the older General. She gave a hesitant nod and then went in the direction she knew Sync's room to be.

She passed Largo on the way and the giant man squeezed her shoulder lightly, increasing her bewilderment. What was going on? Nervously, she knocked on Sync's door.

"Come in," Sync's voice snapped. She pushed the door open and then closed it behind her.

"Hello Sync," Arietta murmured, staring at his back. He was standing with his arms folded across his chest and looking out the window, at the sea. "Legretta told me to come see you,"

He nodded, and gestured with his head for her to sit on the bed. She did as he said, folding her hands in her lap and looking at him curiously.

"Arietta," Sync began. "I… I'm a replica, just like Luke. Only, my original is already dead. I was made, along with six others, to replace my original who they knew was dying. I was discarded, thrown into the mouth of Mt. Zaleho when I wasn't good enough to be the next fo- to be my original. Van made me a part of the God-Generals when I survived the volcano. That's why I… I hate the score."

Arietta felt sad for him. How terrible, to be thrown away like that. But she didn't see why he had to tell her this.

"It's why I hate Ion, Arietta," Sync continued in a quiet voice. "I hate my original."

She realized she was trembling. She knew what he was saying. It was all making sense. "You're… you're Ion's replica?"

He gave a short nod. "Yes," he said and finally turned around.

She gasped, jumping to her feet and dropping her doll in her surprise. "You… but…" she clenched her fists to stop the trembling. "I don't understand," she finally mumbled, unable to look away from him. His face, his eyes… It was too much.

Sync's mouth hardened, watching the emotions on her face.

The original Ion was…? "He's dead?" she whispered in shock, feeling her eyes tearing. "No… no! I've seen him… with Anise…"

"That's the seventh replica," Sync said tonelessly. "He's the one who replaced the original,"

"No," she said, shaking her head. "No!" She repeated louder. She placed her hands on her face, still trembling. This couldn't be happening. Her knees weakened and she crumpled, landing on the ground in a heap. But it made sense… The Ion she saw with Anise was… much kinder than the Ion Arietta remembered. The reason she was randomly reassigned… Sync had said it had nothing to do with her. It was because she would know it wasn't the real Ion.

She felt hands on her shoulders, and Sync lifted her up, guiding her to the bed. She realized she was crying. Before he could release her, she grabbed the material of his clothes, clutching him. He seemed surprised, but sat down beside her, allowing her to bury her face in his chest.

To say he was shocked would be an understatement. He sat utterly still as the girl cried against him, soaking his shirt. He didn't understand why people cried. He had never done it himself. He had never felt the need to. He had only ever felt anger. Right now, though, he felt something. His chest hurt, watching Arietta torn to pieces like this.

He wanted her to stop crying, as he didn't know what to do. He'd never felt so out of place in his life. She should be doing this with Legretta. Legretta could comfort her. Sync didn't know the meaning of the word comfort.

Her sobs turned to whimpers, as she ran out of tears to cry. She was still shaking, pressed against him. He hesitantly touched her, running his hand down her back. The motion made her shift closer to him and he did it again. Her crying subsided completely eventually and he knew by her breathing that she had fallen asleep.

Sighing, he moved her so that she could lie on his bed and then brought the blanket up to cover her. He sat on the edge of the bed, beside her sleeping body and buried his face in his hands. His stupid face that looked just like Ion had done this to her. Why did he have to be born? Why couldn't he just die in the stupid volcano?

Someone knocked on his door and he lifted his head, "Come in," he called out quietly.

Legretta entered. "How is she?"

Sync jerked his head to Arietta's form. "Sleeping," he murmured wearily.

"Did she freak?" Legretta whispered. Sync nodded, wincing at the memory of her face. "Do you want me to take her to her room?" Legretta continued.

Sync glanced at the pink haired girl and shook his head. "She's fine," he said and then sighed again.

Legretta smiled slightly. "All right, let me know how she is later," the blonde General said and left the room silently.

Sync stood and went back to his window, glaring at the sea. It could've been worse, he mused. She could have launched herself at him, calling him Ion.

He stood in silence for a while, listening to her soft breathing. It startled him when he heard her gasp. "Sync?!"

The green haired boy moved back to the bed, where Arietta was looking around wildly. As soon as he came into view, her eyes widened. "So, it wasn't a dream," she breathed out.

"No," he said, shaking his head and staring at her emotionlessly.

She sat up bringing her legs up and under her. "You know, I think I always knew…"

"What do you mean?" Sync asked, surprised.

"The Ion with Anise… the replica… he's a lot nicer than my Ion. He's nice to everyone, I've seen him and he always tries to help people. My Ion… he didn't care about much. He was bitter. And he didn't like the score. He never would have stuck to it, and tried to stop us like that Ion is," Arietta took a deep breath. "Somehow, I didn't allow myself to think of stuff like that, because I didn't want to admit…"

Sync sat down beside her, staring at his knees.

"Thank you, Sync," Arietta murmured. "For telling me,"

"Are you going to do something stupid?" Sync asked, sending her a glare.

She smiled, shaking her head. "I don't know what you mean by stupid,"

"Killing yourself, or refusing to work with us," Sync elaborated and she shook her head again.

"No," Arietta said. "No I wouldn't do that. I've got you, haven't I?"

"I'm not Ion," Sync said in a deadly voice as he narrowed his eyes at her.

"I know," she said still wearing a small smile. "Believe me, I know,"

Sync didn't believe her. How could he? He looked like her dead boyfriend. How could she not wish he were Ion? "Just don't kill yourself," he muttered. "We need you,"

She nodded. "I… ah, I should go,"

"Yeah, Legretta will want to speak with you," Sync said, not looking at her again.

"I don't think you're Ion," Arietta said again. "I know you're Sync. Just because you look like him… and it's painful to look at you… doesn't mean I think you're Ion. You're his replica, and a completely different person. Just like Luke isn't Asch, remember?"

Sync glanced at her, but she was looking down, her pink eyes moist again. "All right," he said, rolling his sore shoulders. He realized suddenly that he hadn't healed himself yet, from Guy's attacks.

"Right, I'm leaving," Arietta said, rising to her feet. She hesitated and then leaned down and Sync felt her lips press against his cheek. "Thank you," she whispered in his ear.

She was gone before he could reply. He shook his head. How could she thank him? He was… trash, nothing compared to her precious Ion. He didn't deserve her thanks at all. "Ugh, stupid girl," he muttered, heading to the bathroom to heal his wounds.

Arietta didn't know what to think. Her opinion of Sync had completely changed – in a good way. Her opinion of Anise, and 'Ion' had changed as well. She was still bitter towards Anise, just for everything they'd gone through but how could she be angry for Anise taking Ion away, when she really didn't?

No, what took Ion away was the score. It had predicted his death, hadn't it? It was the reason the replicas' were made and Ion was dead. It had destroyed her hometown, and her real parents. While she still felt hatred for that group who had killed her Liger mommy, she didn't feel the jealousy and pain for Anise that she had before.

Arietta was only more determined to fight with Van and the others than she was before. For Ion, the original, her Ion. She would destroy the score, something she knew he would appreciate. Also, for Sync. She would change the world for him.

They were back in Daath, at their Headquarters. Van was angry; mainly because they hadn't succeeded in killing Luke, but more so because they had told Arietta the truth.

Arietta sat in her chair in the drawing room perfectly at ease. She winced when she looked at Sync, who had taken to not wearing his mask now that she knew, but Van's lecture meant nothing to her. She was rather angry with the Commandant herself, for the lies he had told her. But she said nothing. She didn't see why he was so upset. She was fine. She wished they had of told her the truth earlier, so that she hadn't made an utter fool of herself in front of Anise and the new Ion.

"You deliberately disobeyed me," Van was saying, glaring at Sync and Legretta.

"Commandant, she needed to be told the truth. She… she's stronger than you think," Legretta said pleadingly. "I was only trying to do the right thing,"

Van took a deep breath, running a hand over his face in agitation.

"Please don't blame them," Arietta murmured, and the Commandant's blue eyes snapped to her. "It's all right. I… I'm hurt, but I'm more ashamed of how I acted than anything. And, I'm still going to fight. The original I-Ion disliked the score, and I know he would not stop us. He would want me to do this,"

Van stared at her intensely for a moment, as if searching for lies and then he nodded. "Fine, but you should have contacted me before you told her," he said to the other Generals.

The Commandant continued to talk of new ways to destroy the replica's group, but Arietta tuned him out. Her gaze unconsciously fell on Sync and she marveled once again how he looked like Ion. He was different though, and she felt different when she was around him. He was bitter and angry, but had a soft spot despite himself. And since that night he had come to check on her on Legretta's orders, she had felt her heart racing and stomach fluttering whenever he was near.

He turned his head, feeling her gaze and their eyes met. Arietta felt her breath hitch at the intensity in his stare but she didn't look away. Her cheeks flared with warmth, and she curved her mouth into a tiny smile. He rolled his eyes and looked back at the Commandant.

She had to convince him that she knew he wasn't Ion, and didn't see him as Ion. She knew her feelings for him weren't because he was Ion's replica. She had been having them before she knew the truth. Would he believe her though? What am I saying…? I can't tell him.

"Arietta?" Largo's hand was on her shoulder. She blinked, coming out of her thoughts and looking up at the large General.

"Sorry, are we finished?" She murmured. He nodded and she stood up. "I'll be in my room,"

Arietta took a long bath, soothing her still sore muscles and relieving her recent stress. She had never been so confused in her life, emotionally at least. She was sad over her Ion's death, angry that she hadn't been told, giddy and confused over her feelings for Sync, embarrassed for her actions in front of Anise and the replica Ion, and guilty over feeling something for Sync.

She came out, dressed in her freshly washed God-General's outfit, towel drying her long pink hair. She nearly shrieked at the sight of Sync lying on her bed. "What are you doing in here?" She asked, aware of the small smile creeping up on her.

He turned his head to her, penetrating her with those green eyes so alike and unlike Ion's. He shrugged. "Wanted to talk,"

She hung her hair towel over the bathroom door to dry and then sat on the bed beside his horizontal form, tucking her legs under her. "About what?" She questioned curiously.

"You need to stop," he said bluntly. "Stop staring at me, smiling at me, treating me like I'm… Ion,"

Arietta lost her smile abruptly. "I am not treating you like you're Fon Master Ion. If I were, you would know it!" She'd be clinging to him, hugging him, and not saying anything at all around him. Around Sync, she could be herself. She could speak her mind and get angry. When she was around Ion, being his Fon Master Guardian, she was the timid little girl who never said anything but followed Ion everywhere. A pet.

He shifted, moving his arms up and folding them under his head, ignoring the Liger on the other side of the bed. "You're being nice to me," he said, still staring at her.

"Maybe because I like you?!" Arietta exclaimed in disbelief. And then blushed, looking down.

"No, you like Ion," Sync spat bitterly.

Arietta shook her head, unable to believe what had just come out of her mouth and what he was saying. Through gritted teeth, she said, "Maybe you've forgotten, but I was being 'nice' to you before I knew the truth!"

"But you're nicer now," Sync said. "Now you're acting like… like you like me, not that I'm just your friend or fellow comrade,"

"You're an idiot," she said harshly. "Get out of my room,"

Sync sat up. "Not until you say you'll stop treating me like him!"

"I know the difference between you and Ion, all right? And I know Ion is d-dead! I know you're not him! I'm treating you as another person, as someone important to me! Why can't you understand that? It has nothing to do with Ion!" Arietta realized her voice had risen and she stood up, turning her back to him.

"It has everything to do with Ion!" Sync countered, standing as well. She could hear the tinge of anger in his tone. "When you look at me, you see Ion, don't lie Arietta! Everything I do, you compare me to Ion!"

"No, I don't! But do you want me to?" Arietta snapped, turning around and glaring up at him. He returned the glare but she didn't back down. "While you may look like him, you're a completely different person! Your eyes, though share his colour, are sharper! When you look at me, I can't breathe! You're smarter than he was, wittier, and…and you make me so angry! Around Ion, I couldn't get angry. Even if he made me angry, I… I couldn't say anything. With you… I'm not afraid to speak my mind. My feelings for you are different than they were with Ion. And I don't care if you don't believe me, because I know it's the truth!"

She turned around again, her eyes watering in frustration and anger, and her cheeks scarlet in embarrassment for what she had just shouted. "You're not Ion," she whispered. "And I'm perfectly okay with that."

Sync was aware that he couldn't move. He was completely frozen with shock as he stared at the back of her head. When you look at me, I can't breathe! Why did that sentence mean so much to him? Why did his heart stop at the words coming from her mouth? You're not Ion… and I'm perfectly okay with that. He couldn't stop her words from echoing around in his mind.

"Arietta," he breathed out, still unable to move. She turned again and he saw her eyes were moist. "Why? I don't understand… I'm not… you shouldn't…" he couldn't even form a sentence damn it!

"Don't you dare tell me I shouldn't have feelings for you," she bit out, her voice quiet now. "Don't bother, Sync, because I won't listen. You're not worthless, you're not a reject, and I'm glad you were born, even if it meant Ion was taken from me. I don't care if you don't return my feelings; I don't care if you hate me. But don't try and tell me I shouldn't care for you."

He had never seen her so enraged. She was always so quiet, even in her anger. But her eyes, they were spitting fire. Her arms were folded across her chest angrily and her small mouth was pursed in irritation. He'd never seen her looking better. He smiled slightly. Never in his entire, short life had he felt more for a person than he felt for this tiny, pink haired girl in front of him.

Still smiling, Sync stepped closer so that their chests were touching and her head was tilted up to look at him. "W-what are you doing?" She asked with wide eyes. He reached up and unfolded her arms, sliding his hands down her arms to her waist, not looking away from her.

"I'm doing something that the original Fon Master was too blind to do," Sync whispered before leaning down and touching his lips to hers. She gasped and lifted her hands to his chest, returning the kiss. So many different emotions, he thought in surprise. He'd never felt this way before. Never thought he'd be able to feel this way.

When he pulled back, her eyes were closed and she leaned her head on his chest. "Don't leave me, Sync," she whispered. "Ever,"

He smiled slightly, and rested his head on hers. "I promise," he murmured into her ear.

Legretta and Largo looked at each other with secret smiles when the next morning at breakfast both Sync and Arietta were wearing smiles. It cheered Legretta to finally see young Arietta's bright smile return. It had been a long time. And it was certainly a relief to see a smile on the green haired teen's face instead of his usual scowl or smirk.

Sync couldn't help stealing glances at the girl across the table from him during the entire breakfast. Who knew that her words from before had been true? You can find love anywhere. And he knew he would certainly find it in this wild and shy pink haired God-General. Maybe this pathetic life wasn't so pathetic after all.

A/N: Review and tell me if you liked it please!