Things had come full circle at last.

Heavy boots thudded harshly and quickly against the ground as ragged rasps of breath pierced the evening air. The dying sun painted the dimming sky gold and red like the liquid that left a trail next to the deep indentations of once immaculate sand gardens, now ablaze. Pot holes indented the uprooted and semi-demolished boulders that were once so carefully placed to some unknown foreign tradition. The world seemed to be giving its final gasps in heavy, sporadic inhalations and loud rhythmic tremors of many other boots trotting over once sacred temple grounds where such foreign soles never touched.

Racking coughs of bullets fired every which way as hard packed earth gave way for loosely tilled tree gardens. Smaller, agiler feet raced quickly over roots and pathways, clearing the way for a larger set burdened down with a bleeding companion; the crimson liquid seeped through jackets and through skin where it simultaneously warmed and chilled the heart of the lumbering carrier.

I thought your eyes were like anesthesia once upon a time

Eyes that were the color of the sky before it started to die stared upwards questioningly and longingly, into a narrowed pair of eyes that mirrored the fiery destruction and death around them. At each down stride, when the heavy right foot would hit the ground, tremble, threaten to bend and break, those blue eyes would close for a moment as pain twisted both faces into grimaces. Then, even more fire and determination would spill from those golden eyes, the grimace turning to a feral snarl to any who tried to take his burden away before pushing and kicking relentless at the earth, back into motion.

but now they seem more like deathly ambrosia.

Blue eyes would open once more as for that brief aerial bound stride, it felt like they were flying-

but that which flies must land some time.

The cycle of up and down, of the gripping pain and releasing freedom, continued on and on as the group ran, numbers quickly diminishing as some attempted to delay the pursuers while others led them off the trail. Not a single one fled from certain death, they strived to save their hope, their redemption, their single rose, its thorns removed and petals torn, but still divine in its glorious bloom.

Blue eyes focused upward past golden eyes and before the sky, where a few violet specs clouded the air in soft, dying petals that contrasted the harsh heaving death throws of the earth around them with its soft, exhale of life. Feelings of dread washed away as peace started to settle in the heart that slowed.

"Klaus... carry me to those flowers."

The man heard his call; he always did, through bombardments and arguments. Now was no exception as those golden eyes turned to burn at him directly, mouth moving awkwardly to chastise him in that foreign tongue he had just started to learn barely 9 months ago. Blood dipped over his eyebrows and down the hollows of his tanned face, still stubbornly determined to get at least one man out alive.

"Will you grant me this, my final wish, my Knight?"

Blue eyes looked calmly up at the quaking giant that held his body so carefully and protectively, hunched over him slightly so that everywhere he looked there was at least a small piece of that golden man. Perhaps an Adam's apple that bobbed up and down at the roaring questions from his dark-haired kin, or the ruffling of clumps of hair that weren't matted with dirt or blood.

Klaus finally stopped his great strides under the middle of the lowest branch of the great violet laburnum, whose poisonous but beautiful foliage turned a glistening gold in the chaotic light, reminiscent of the year in Luckenwalde.

"Taki-sama, we must be moving those Eurotean traitors will be here soon- we must get you to safety."

That was Suguri's voice beside him, he knew without looking, instead he kept his gaze dually on Klaus and the gold-violet flowers above as he spoke, voice unwavering despite the gunshot wounds in his torso that made breathing hard, more so for speech.

"Suguri, you are like a father to me... you have done so much for me in these last few years- but I have one last favor, one last selfish, childish request for you all... go. Try to escape if you can, I can no longer protect my people." There were numerous frightened and denying murmurs around him, but the meaning of the sounds didn't translate to Taki, instead he listened to the high pitches and quick syllables, smiling quietly to himself in a delirious way.

He was right, our language does sound like that of birds

"My kin, go and find your own promised land, wherever it may be, abandon this foolish squabble over dust and greenery, over wealth and titles. I am heading to mine, where I may finally be at peace from this accursed war. Please, do not make me give it as an order..."

Despite the hush from the group of no more than 17 soldiers the loud roar of artillery and the crash of buildings being torn down from afar compensated for the lull. Not a single soldier moved, Taki stared imploringly above, at those destructively golden eyes that he saw himself reflected in. The cocking of a gun was masked by the general volume of sound around them but the sight of a handgun aimed directly to his right was not.

" 'Leave before I shoot you dead right where you stand.' It's my turn to say these words, and your turn to leave." The words seemed to stir the wind as the golden strands of hair twirled. Reluctantly they started to back away from the gun-wielding Saxon, goodbyes dieing on their lips as a horrendous splintering sound echoed through the tree garden..

the Imperial Palace had fallen.

"Take care of him you mad dog " The retreating thuds of boots sounded briefly in Taki's ears before they disappeared all together. The gun disappeared from Taki's view, a thud confirming it had been dropped as Klaus shifted Taki's weight in his arms. The flaxen haired man started to reach upward with his now free hand to grab a rare blossoming branch only to find that in those pale hands, that he knew were once so warm, was a fine cluster of laburnum blossoms. Taki held the flowers up next to Klaus' face, to compare them to his eyes, finding that the reflection of himself in those eyes and the golden lighting on the flowers produced a matching effect.

"You who hath always granted me my wish, can I be yours? Be it as your master or your betrothed...?"

Just like that day 11 years ago, Klaus' expression was wide eyed and incredulous, simply staring back at Taki's serene face, as if he felt no pain of the mortal body. Klaus slumped slowly to the ground, cradling Taki but careful of the wounds on his torso. Arms wrapped around the youth's waist, face buried in the crook of his neck while pale hands rubbed soothing circles on his back and worked through the matted golden hair.

Squatting on his haunches he rocked back and forth as a clear liquid stained the Colonel's blood-covered uniform.

Overhead a single plane circled the engines loud and strained from its burden as the last circle in the air was completed, dropping the load.

"I do "

a mutual declaration

at long last before the manmade squall blew

the last blooms of the laburnum away from slack, pale hands.

The sun had set, but from many miles away a bombastic flower bloomed in the dark on top of what was once the capital, raising petals high into the sky where no man could fly, its black thorns and vines made of dust choking the land around it so that none could ever trespass on the sacred ground where a promise from a millennia ago was fulfilled.

Fin