"I'll keep on living, no matter what, so that I can protect you..."

Aigis's voice is calm and at peace. Under the warm spring sunlight, you can't help but feel sleepy.

"You must be tired... Please, get some rest. I'll stay right here with you..."

Your eyelids feel heavy as her voice washes over you. You should rest...

"Soon, all your friends will be here by your side..."

Your eyes close, and you fall into a peaceful slumber. The last thing you feel before you drift off is the warmth of Aigis's hand in your own...

* * *

"We meet again."

You are brought back to consciousness by a familiar voice. You feel light, weightless, as if floating. You can still barely feel the warmth of the sun on your face...

"It's been a long time, hasn't it? It's nice to see you again."

Your eyes refuse to open. They feel weighted down with lead. Still, you can imagine Pharos's smile.

"Are you still tired? You've only just arrived..."

Pharos's voice is light, childishly unconcerned. You feel something shift under your head.

"It's okay... you can rest. I'll stay here."

You can hear the smile in Pharos's voice. Despite how tired you feel, sleep eludes you.

"Your friends are waiting for you... You can hear them too, can't you? Open your eyes."

You manage to crack your eyes open. You are temporarily blinded by the bright sunlight. Then, the scene comes into focus: the roof of Gekkoukan High. Pharos is nowhere to be seen...

You barely have time to wonder what's happened before the weight of your body returns, and the feel of the metal bench beneath your back...

* * *

"He's... coming to...?"

You hear Fuuka's voice. Through your eyelashes you can barely see your friends' faces, looking down at you.

"He's going to be okay, right? Right?"

"I'm not sure... Can you hear me? If you can hear us, answer -- please!"

You seem to have lost control of your body. Your mouth will not form the words to answer, no matter how hard you try.

"He... he'll be fine. He's gotta be. He remembered the promise, before any of us did... C'mon. Say something!"

"Say something! I know you can hear me! Please, just open your eyes!"

Your eyelids are feeling heavy again... It's hard to resist the urge to sleep.

"Come on... Not after all we've been through. You can't die here... Just speak to us!"

You feel yourself losing consciousness. Koromaru's frantic barking echoes in your ears as your eyes slide closed.

* * *

"They remembered their promise to each other... and to you."

Ryoji's voice breaks you once more out of sleep. It seems that you're in the same place as before. You're lying on your back.

"It's all right... you haven't left them yet. They'll wait for as long as you want to hold on."

You realize you can open your eyes. Ryoji is kneeling beside you. The heavy look of guilt is gone from his eyes as he smiles.

"Your soul has become the seal on Nyx. For as long as it remains, I will stay here, and Nyx with me."

You are feeling more and more awake. You try to sit up, but Ryoji gently pushes you back down.

"Your friends... They're calling to you. They're not ready to let go yet."

Ryoji is silent. You remember your friends' voices calling out to you. They are waiting for you to open your eyes and speak to them...

"Are you?"

Your body feels only half there. The sleepiness has left you. Ryoji extends a hand to you.

"Your friends are saying goodbye to you. Surely you wish to do the same...?"

You stare up at a pale void. Ryoji's face is visible in the corner of your eye.

"There's no need for haste. As long as you're here, I will be too."

Voices are echoing in the back of your head. Your friends are calling out to you, but you're unable to answer them.

"Don't worry. They'll understand... They're just confused. Right now, they're mourning you."

Ryoji's smile is sad, but understanding. Your right hand clenches. For a moment, you can feel something warm in it.

"It's because of you that they remembered. Your bonds with them allowed you to do the impossible. Nothing can ever come between that."

Ryoji smiles more warmly. The voices are fading. You can still feel the early spring sunlight on your body...

"Someday, they'll understand. Even Aigis will one day find the answer - the reason for your sacrifice. You've proved it possible."

Your body seems split in two. You can feel both your sleepiness under the unfiltered sun, and the weightlessness of your existence here.

"Even a non-human can experience life. Happiness, sadness, love, and loss... You gave me all those things. Your friends have felt them, too."

You realize Ryoji is speaking of Aigis as well as himself. You wonder what impact you have truly had on the people closest to you...

"You can let them go without guilt. They will never forget you. You've made your difference to the world... but especially to them."

You feel restless. You sit up. This time, Ryoji doesn't stop you.

"You're still part of their world. Are you ready to leave it behind?"

Ryoji's hand is still outstretched toward you. You reach to take it.

"They'll always be a part of you. Even here, you can sense their feelings for you, can't you? In time, they'll accept your sacrifice as well..."

The voices in your head have become clearer. You can recognize your friends' voices.

"I'll never forget you. You believed in me, even after I... Thank you for your trust. I'll never forget it!"

"You were always there for all of us. You helped me realize just what it was I was fighting for. Without you, I..."

The voices are growing weaker. You strain to hear them.

"I know we didn't always get along. But you understand, right? I know you do. I know you're listening, somewhere out there..."

"I don't get why it had to be you, but... I really admire you for doing what you did. Wait for us, you got it? I'm counting on you."

You feel sleepy again. Your eyes struggle to open and see your friends' faces.

"We'll all miss you... But I'm so glad we remembered everything. You'll always be with us. I know it."

"I can't believe I forgot you... Well, I'm done running. Whatever happens in my life, I'm going to make the most of it! Thanks to you..."

You open your eyes. Your friends are gathered around you. Aigis looks down at you. You notice that her eyes are watery before your own close once more.

"Thanks to you, they have a future. Are you happy with your decision?"

Ryoji is looking at you seriously. You nod and reach out your hand to his.

"You never got to say goodbye. You're drifting from them as you speak."

He holds his hand out to you. You hesitate. Very faintly, you can still feel Aigis's hand clutched around your own limp one.

"She'll be all right, and continue to live... You gave her more than life: you gave her a purpose."

Aigis is speaking, barely audible in the back of your head. You take Ryoji's hand...

"Don't worry. I will always be by your side, protecting you..."

...and feel Aigis's hand slip from yours. The voices are fading, until there is only silence.

"Don't forget: someday, they will find the answer as well. Maybe the impossible will happen once more. Maybe you'll see them again."

You are silent as you let Ryoji pull you to a standing position. He is smiling.

"I have to thank you as well. Thanks to you... I was able to experience friendship... and happiness."

You look at your surroundings carefully, your gaze eventually returning to Ryoji.

"We've been connected for ten years, yet I never realized until now what you've done for me.."

You look into the eyes so similar to your own. Ryoji looks truly happy. For a moment, you can feel the barest touch of sunlight on your face...

"This is the best outcome we could have hoped for."

...before it fades into the nothingness that surrounds you.