Bearit's Notes (3/6/2005): Yes. Looking back on this fanfic after three years… well, the two main characters of this fic, for a while, I had wanted to write them getting together, but in this fanfic I only wanted them to have a surrogate sibling kind of relationship, even though this could sure wander in the direction of a very, very odd couple that would work and this kind of getting together works and… yes. Anyway. While this fanfic is a side story to "Lion Heart" (and an important one to read to understand the last two or three chapter of "Lion Heart" as well as the first few chapters of "Yozora no Mukou," the sequel), you do not need to read "Lion Heart" to understand the main point of the story. Yeah, there are allusions to things that happen in "Lion Heart," but they're not particularly important to the contribution of this short story.

I hope you enjoy, and if you haven't already, please read "Lion Heart!" It's still my baby, and if you love Hikaru's brothers, I promise that "Lion Heart" will be worth your while.

Futari ga Onaji
a side story for "Lion Heart"

It was yet another beautiful day in Cephiro, and Umi found that she could never get sick of seeing such bright azure days no matter what the world she was in. She loved to take walks and be with her school friends in Tokyo when the sun was shining high and not a cloud in the sky, but in Cephiro, there was so much more at hand on such days. The land was as beautiful as the people and the creatures living in it; the strength of everybody's hearts combined with one another enabled the plants to always be green, the flowers different shades of the rainbow, the sky matching the beauty of the oceans.

Cephiro was a wonderful, wonderful place.

"There's no place like home," muttered Umi, remembering the quote she had seenor rather, read, since it was a subtitled moviein a movie once. It was about a girl who wanted to get away from the life she was living, and indeed, she was transported to a new and fascinating world. Umi connected much with her, especially the first time she went to Cephiro; both of them, all they wanted to do, was to go home.

The only difference was that now, while the girl in the movie fell in love with the land, Umi always knew, within her heart, that she could never imagine life without Cephiro, without all of her friends, without Hikaru or Fuu. It had become a part of her heart that could never be taken away without stealing away Umi's purpose of living.

Normally, nothing would distract Umi from the verdant garden in the castle's courtyard, but it was really hard to not notice a certain redhead, especially when that certain redhead was sitting on the fountain hunched into a little ball.

"Hikaru?" Umi called softly as she approached her friend. "Hey, Hikaru, what's wrong?"

Hikaru stiffened as Umi took a seat next to her. Only a moment later, Hikaru gave Umi an obviously fake smile as she claimed, "Nothing's wrong!"

"Don't pull that on me again," Umi growled. If there was one thing Umi hated more about Hikaru than anything else, it was always her pathetic attempts to hide her emotions. Whenever she was confronted about any troubles she was having, she would always deny having them. Umi sincerely loathed that trait in a human being. "Come on, we can tell each other anything, right? Tell me what's wrong... does it have something to do with Kakeru again?"

It made more sense than anything else, and Umi ignored the fact that she had a lack of tact when she tackled that aspect of Hikaru's problems. Hikaru's concern for her older brother had increased over the months, and if Hikaru wasn't Hikaru Umi would wonder why she even put up with him.

Much to Umi's surprise, Hikaru shook her head sadly. "No... it has nothing to do with Kakeru-niisama."

"Oh really?" asked Umi. She didn't really believe it, but the look in Hikaru's eyes contradicted her suspicions, so she moved on. "So, what is it? You're not normally this troubled so easily. I take that back; yes, you are, but not so often. This is the, what? Fifth time in less than a year you're moping around like this? It has to do with your family, doesn't it?"

Hikaru shook her head again. "No," she muttered. "This... has nothing to do with them."

Umi threw up her hands in distress. What could it be then? Nothing came clear from the top of her head, nothing at all. Hikaru surely wasn't letting out any information. Something was seriously upsetting her friend, and Umi knew she was going to go insane by the end of the day if she didn't find out what.

"Hikaru," said Umi, knowing how exasperated she sounded but really didn't care at the moment. "If you're going to go around like that all day, you should at least tell me what's wrong so maybe I can help. I will find a way to help, Hikaru, no matter what the trouble. You know I will."

Hikaru smiled faintly. "Yeah," she said. "But... I... I can't. Not yet. I'm sorry, Umi-chan."

Umi sighed. "Sheesh," she said under her breath. "Okay, then, I'll only say this: I don't care what happened or what part you had in it or anything like that. I just want you to know that it was not your fault. No matter what."

Hikaru stared at Umi blankly. She didn't know whether she had said the right things or the completely wrong things, so Umi was torn between feeling proud and feeling stupid. Umi, nevertheless, gave Hikaru a small smile and stood.

"Don't worry yourself so much," Umi said softly, gently. "Maybe, in the end, it's really not much to worry about."

Hikaru struggled for a moment to find something to say, and just before Umi turned to leave, she finally found the words. "Thank you, Umi-chan."

Umi gave Hikaru a small smile and headed for the exit. She couldn't help Hikaru because she refused to tell her what was wrong, but Umi was determined to find out.

It turned out she didn't have to wait for very long.

Just as she neared the entrance to the interior of the castle, Lantis was emerging from the same corridor. His line of vision traveled straight to Hikaru, and his eyes carried much sorrow and concern. Umi knew immediately that Lantis knew. She didn't want to prod him or anything, but...

"Hey, Lantis," said Umi quietly as the two passed each other. Lantis stopped. "Hikaru... Hikaru seems depressed about something... do you know? It's driving me crazy, and-"

Lantis sighed. "I have no place to tell you. Hikaru probably can't tell you because she really can't. The words may be hard for her to say. I hardly ever agree with Eagle's decisions, but this..."

"Eagle has something to do with this?" Umi asked. Lantis nodded.

"He told me to not tell Hikaru this, so I don't want you to share this information with her either, or anyone else, for that matter," he said. "Eagle... told Hikaru he didn't love her, and he told me that he said it because he wants usHikaru and Ito be happy with each other. That's the only reason."

"He actually told Hikaru that?" asked Umi, her eyes widening. "He actually told Hikaru that he didn't love her?"

"Actually, his exact words were more or less like that he loved her but wasn't in love with her," said Lantis, his nose wrinkling a little. "In any other circumstance I'd be happy, but not when Hikaru is in love with Eagle as well."

Umi clenched her fists. "I see," she said with a nod, trying her best not to growl. "This is why I hate men!"

She stormed out from the gardens, leaving Lantis to comfort Hikaru. She had a bone to pick with a certain Autozam commander.

Geo wasn't exactly pleased with Eagle's decision, either, and scowled at the sleeping figure in the middle of the room.

"I can't believe you did that," he said. "You should have seen the look on her face."

"I did what had to be done," said Eagle. Geo had gotten used to the mental voice over the years. It always irked him because it was a constant reminder of how he almost lost his best friend nearly five years back, but he had gotten used to it. "I just want Hikaru and Lantis to be happy, that's all."

"Have you ever stopped to think that they'd be happier if you were with them?"

"Yes, and I know that I'd only get in the way."

Geo narrowed his eyes. "Eagle..." he growled.

"There is one person for everybody. Hikaru... and even Lantis... they aren't the ones for me."

"In other words, never mind the fact that you fell in love with both of them, they belong to each other and you don't want to be the bad guy who keeps them apart," said Geo, getting more and more irritated by the second. He was certain that his voice showed it.

"It's not that."

"Then what?"

Before Eagle could answer (it was going to take him a few moments, anyway, if Geo knew his best friend at all), the door slammed open and in stormed one of Hikaru's friends, steaming with rage.

"Why did you DO that?" Umi practically screamed. It scared Geo. He had never seen a woman get this upset before; he heard tales of woman's fury but never experienced it for himself. Now that he was watching it, he was very glad that he wasn't Eagle at the moment. "Do you KNOW how hard of a year it's been for Hikaru? I'm sure you do because practically everyone ELSE knows it! How could you go and DO that to her after all of that!"

Geo would ask what had bothered Hikaru so much the past few months-he had to be one of the very few who didn't know-but decided against it.

"It was bugging me for the past couple of years," said Eagle calmly. "I had to get it off my chest before Hikaru misled herself any further."

"Misled?" asked Geo, finding the courage to step in. "She's being misled right now, thanks to you." Eagle didn't respond. "It's not like you at all to lie, Eagle. Why did you do it? And don't give me any of that 'I want Lantis and Hikaru to be happy together' crap you've been giving me for the past fifteen minutes."

"Lie?" asked Umi, her anger seeping away. She looked at Geo quizzically then gave Eagle a funny look. "Lie?"

"Like I said, I'd be in the way," said Eagle calmly, sadly. "Maybe I can find someone else I can spend the rest of my life with."

"You told Hikaru that you loved her but you weren't in love with her," said Umi slowly, her eyes narrowed. "You're implying otherwise. Care to explain?"

If Eagle could sigh, he would, Geo was sure he would. As for Geo, he was certainly impressed with Umi, a girl he had never given even a second thought to. She was like a mix of Tatra and Tarta, in a sense; she had the horrible temper of Tarta but the intelligence of Tatra. She could read in between the lines better than most people could; for that, Geo had a new respect for another girl from the other world.

After a few moments, Eagle was not answering. There were so many advantages for Eagle to be in a coma like this; he didn't have to suffer from the glares he was getting from his best friend and Hikaru's best friend. The frown Geo was giving Eagle, however, was for another reason other than anger and disappointment.

"If you want, I can tell Umi for you," said Geo softly. "She has the right to know, don't you think?"

"You'd say the same thing about Hikaru," Eagle replied.

"So that's a yes?"

Eagle said nothing. Geo took it as an affirmative.

"Umi, the thing is, Eagle really is in love with Hikaru," he said, turning to her. "This idiot here, however, is denying his own feelings-and I'm starting to wonder how he managed to be eligible to take the test to become the Pillar a few years back-and he's saying that he will find someone else to fall in love with and not waste Lantis's and Hikaru's time by being in the way. By the way, I did mention that he's in love with both Hikaru and Lantis, right? And he knows Hikaru is in love with both Lantis and him, and he also knows that Lantis feels the same way as well."

Umi stared at Geo for a moment, expressionless, and then turned to Eagle and said, "You. It makes absolutely no sense at all."

Again, if Eagle could sigh, Geo was certain he would. "You wouldn't understand-"

"What's there to not understand?" Geo and Umi snapped simultaneously.

"Have either of you ever been in love?"

Umi said nothing, and Geo frowned. Eagle already knew his answer: no. Geo never really had been in love with anyone, and he still has yet to do so. From the look on Umi's face, Geo made a safe bet that she was in love with nobody, either. What did that have anything to do with Eagle?

The silence was enough for Eagle. "See? The two of you have never been in love. You wouldn't understand my reasons. There are laws, Geo, on Earth that it similar to Autozam's law. Polygamy is not allowed. It's not only for my feelings but for the law aspect of it. I only made Hikaru's choice easier."

Geo scowled, and Umi said the exact things on his mind.

"Now you're giving yourself a noble reason in a different aspect," she said. "Are you ever humble?"

"When you're the son of the president," said Eagle with a hint of amusement in his voice, "the answer to that is simply and always 'no'."

Umi groaned. Geo shook his head.

"Eagle, you still cannot deny the fact that Hikaru is left distraught over this," he said. "That's why Umi was here in the first place. I noticed it on my way here, and that's why I asked you about it. You know you hurt her deeply. I'm sure you apologized, but a simple 'I'm sorry' is not going to do the trick."

"Then there's nothing I can really do," Eagle replied. "I don't want to lie to Hikaru anymore than I already have. I can't do anything anymore. I feel bad about it, but in the end, it's all for a good cause."

Umi sighed and turned to leave. "This is why I hate men," she said. "You had better be lucky that you never have to come face to face with Hikaru's older brother, Kakeru. He would rip you to shreds when he found out that you caused her this much grief."

Eagle laughed quietly, and Geo shook his head and followed Umi out.

"I think the princesses of Chizeta should be coming soon," he said. "I'm going out to meet them. We're not finished talking yet... I'd like to tell you that, but you're not going to be changing your mind anytime soon."

"Just like Hikaru," Umi said as she finally left the room.

Geo stood at the doorway for a moment and looked back at Eagle, frowning. This entire thing was hurting Eagle as much as it was Hikaru. He sighed and walked back to his friend and lightly brushed away some bangs from his eyes.

"I'm sorry, Eagle," he muttered.

Before Eagle could say anything, Geo left the room. He hoped that he never fell in love with anybody; it seemed to be too much of a pain if the feelings were unrequited, but even worse when the feelings were reciprocated but the relationship was much too complicated to handle.

Geo decided that he should just leave everything at friendship. Life was so much easier that way.

Umi fumed all throughout the evening.

The girls had decided to spend the night in Cephiro, and they gave the normal excuse: all of them were sleeping over at somebody's house (Hikaru at Umi's, Umi at Fuu's, at Fuu at Hikaru's). Umi hadn't seen Hikaru for the rest of the night, but Geo wouldn't let anybody see Umi at all. He forced her into her own bedroom. He told that her that this was something everybody in the world didn't need to know. The only reason why Umi hadn't left her room for the rest of the night-since Geo was so much better at hiding his frustrations he went to talk to everyone else, leaving her room unguarded-she knew that he was right.

The less people that knew about this, the less traumatizing it would be for Hikaru.

To Geo, it would be the less painful it would be for Eagle, but Umi really didn't care about that right at the moment.

Umi wondered what kind of excuse Geo gave everybody for her not being at dinner, and then she figured that she probably wouldn't want to know.

Umi paced around her darkened room, the only source of light being the rays of the moon. She didn't feel like turning her lights on; it would ruin her train of thought if she decided to do so. Of course, she had been thinking the same exact thoughts over and over again, but what kind of solution could she conjure? She didn't even know what she could help. She couldn't comfort Hikaru-that job, she assumed, was for Lantis-but she couldn't get Eagle to change his mind if Geo couldn't. She couldn't talk to Fuu about it, for that would be betraying Hikaru.

She couldn't do anything, and it was driving her mad.

There was a light knock at the door. "Umi? You still in there?"

She sighed. "Yeah, I'm in here, Geo. Come on in."

The door opened slowly and only wide enough for Geo to slip through. The light from the halls seeped through and nearly blinded Umi, but before she could adjust to the sudden brightness, Geo shut the door. It was completely dark, but it only took a few moments for Umi to get used to the shadows once again.

"Are you doing all right?" he asked. The gentleness in his voice surprised Umi; she always figured that men with Geo's build would have a gruffer voice... or a more conceited one, at least. His personality, from what Umi had learned thus far, had only one thing in common with the stereotype his appearance followed: he had an interest in Tatra and was flirting with her. Subtly, but Umi noticed it. She began to wonder if he really meant to flirt.

Umi nodded to Geo's question, and then scowled. No, she was not doing all right. She was feeling no lesser emotions than she had only a few hours ago.

"No," she said simply. "Love is a tender thing, and Eagle conveniently forgot that when he told Hikaru what he did. I'm pissed."

Geo gave her a small grin. "It's not like for a pretty girl like yourself to use such vulgar language."

Umi clenched her fists. If this was flirting...!

"I don't agree with what Eagle did, either," Geo continued. "I hate seeing girls cry, and Hikaru seemed to be on the verge of it when I went to Eagle's room this morning. I didn't agree with going along on the invasion, either, but I went anyway. Because Eagle asked me to. Eagle's not asking anything out of me, so I could do what I wish..."

"The thing is, you can't, isn't it?" asked Umi, understanding his words.

Geo nodded. "That's... exactly right. I can't help. I don't know what to do, and even if I did, I'm not sure if I'd be successful at it. Idiot."

"He was right, you know," Umi said with resignation, remembering the question that had bugged her so much. "I have never been in love before. Oh yeah, crushes, but those are silly schoolgirl things. What Eagle and Hikaru have... that's love. True love. I wouldn't understand. I don't understand. I can't help..."

She slumped to the bed, staring at her knees. She felt horrible; she told Hikaru that no matter what the problem was, she would be able to find a way to help. Umi had no idea how she could help Hikaru. Eagle wasn't going to change his mind; that was something that even Geo was submitting to. But Umi never experienced something like this, nor have any of her school friends. How could she even begin to find something to aide Hikaru through this difficult time?

For the first time since the Legendary Battle, Umi felt powerless. What could she do? No wonder why Hikaru was so hesitant about telling her.

"I know how you feel," said Geo quietly, gently sitting beside her. "I've never been in love, either. Eagle has his mind set. The only person who can do anything about this is Lantis. Always has been him the only one to do anything."

"I don't believe that. You're in love now, aren't you?" Umi asked, giving Geo a mischievous grin despite the hopeless tears that were beginning to arise. "What's the whole deal with Tatra?"

"That?" Geo gaped for a moment, not knowing how to answer. It didn't care if he denied it; Umi knew, even if he didn't realize it himself. So, the flirting really was unintentional. "That isn't love. Where did you get an idea like that?"

"Oh, around," said Umi, laughing a little. Geo really didn't fit into the stereotype his looks gave off. "I don't know how this would sound to you," she said solemnly, "probably bad, but I'm glad. I'm glad that somebody else knows how I feel. Selfish, perhaps, because I wish there was someone around who knew how Hikaru is feeling, but... at least I'm not alone."

"We'll help each other, I suppose," said Geo, a small smile crossing his face. "You'll be all right tonight, sleeping alone?"

"I don't need a baby-sitter, Geo," said Umi, shaking her head. "You had better go get some sleep yourself."

Geo nodded and stood up. "All right, then. Good night, Umi."

"'Night," Umi echoed, and Geo left the room.

Umi sighed. Talking had calmed her down a whole lot, but now instead of anger, a cold waterfall of sadness fell throughout her body. She really was helpless. She stood to get ready for bed and ignored the tear that tumbled from her eye.

"Hikaru," she mumbled, "I'm so sorry. I guess this really was something I should have never known."

As soon as she said those words, she realized that her tears could not be held back. She covered her face with her hands and fell to her knees, sobbing quietly.

However, it was loud enough for Geo to hear. He came back silently into the room and wrapped an arm around Umi.

"See? You're not all right," he said.

"You were waiting outside of my room, weren't you? Shouldn't Hikaru be getting this treatment?" she asked in a hushed, quivering voice.

"Lantis is taking care of that, and yes, I was, because I don't trust you yet. We're supposed to help each other in order to help our friends, aren't we?"

Umi nodded, her eyes locked on the floor. "I hate this. I hate being so... helpless."

"I know how you feel," reassured Geo softly as he pulled her into a hug. "I know exactly how you feel."

"Thank you," she whispered as she returned the embrace. She didn't care if he heard her or not, but it really was nice to have somebody to hold in a moment of distress.

Once Umi had fallen asleep only half an hour later, Geo laid her gently in her bed and walked out of the room feeling though as if he had taken a ton of emotional weight off of his shoulders. Just before he walked out of the room, he turned back and smiled.

"What a cute kid," he muttered. He stepped out of the darkened room and gently closed the door so that Umi would not be awakened.

He turned away from the door and was surprised to see Fuu standing outside of the door anxiously.

"Is she all right?" Fuu asked.

Geo nodded. "Asleep, but she's doing better than before. Shouldn't you be in bed right now, too?"

Fuu shifted her gaze to her feet. "I was worried. Hikaru-san was acting strange during dinner, and Umi-san wasn't even there. I hope everything is all right. Is it?"

"It should," said Geo, tentative to give Fuu the reasons for everything that was going on. Now that he thought about it, how on earth did Umi find out? Did Hikaru tell her? If so, why hadn't she told Fuu as well? "That all depends. I wish I could give you a more definite answer. I'm sorry."

"Everybody else is worried as well. Is it something only you, Umi-san, and Hikaru-san know?"

Geo shook his head. "No, Eagle and Lantis know."

He conveniently left out the fact that Eagle was the one who caused all of the problems, but if Fuu asked, he would tell. After all, it was two of her closest friends who were in peril, wasn't it? Maybe she could do something that neither Geo nor Umi could to help Hikaru. Maybe even Eagle as well.

"I see," said Fuu quietly with resignation. "I hope it isn't anything too bad..."

"It could be a lot worse."

Fuu nodded. "Um... do you... do you think that this is something I should know?"

"I think you have the right to know," said Geo, "but it's your decision. Do you want to know?"

"It wouldn't bother me so much, but if Hikaru-san wants to tell me, I'll wait until she does," said Fuu. "Good night, Geo-san."

She turned and headed to the room only across the hall from Umi's. When she disappeared behind the door, Geo sighed. Everything was turning topsy-turvy, and like it has always been, it was Eagle's fault.

What made him so special anyway?

Geo decided that he shouldn't answer that question. He knew exactly what made Eagle as special as he was.

Eagle was simply... Eagle.

Hikaru was the exact same way.

Waves of sunlight beamed into the room, and it had always been Umi's alarm clock whenever she spent the night in Cephiro or on weekends when she was at her house. Though, it was always sunny in Cephiro; in Tokyo, if it was a cloudy day, her mother normally ushered her out of bed before ten o'clock.

As always, she responded the same way.

She flipped over and buried her head in the pillow, refusing to get out of bed. It was a weekend; she was allowed to sleep.

The bustling noise in the corridors, however, reminded her that she was indeed in Cephiro, and she had to go back to Tokyo; it was Sunday, and she had school the next day. Umi groaned and sat up. She needed at least fifteen minutes to fully awaken before she dared go amongst anybody. Her temper was always at her worst in the morning, plus she was certain that her hair was tangled. She hated to go anywhere with a bird's nest head.

Umi was more than a little surprised when she found that she was wearing the exact same clothes she had on the day before. She frowned and wondered why...

But then there was no need to. She fell back onto her pillow and sighed.

That's right. Last night I was talking to Geo... about... about Hikaru... because Eagle. Oh. Yeah. That's right. Umi closed her eyes. Eagle told Hikaru that he didn't love her, and she was upset, and... why on Earth were Geo and I talking?

Now that she had reflected over the events of the night before, why, of all people, was Geo the one to comfort her when helplessness conquered her emotions? Why had they even talked to each other in the first place about their frustrations about Eagle? Why did Geo even go to her room to see if she was all right? Why did he even... why Geo, of all people?

Umi shook her head. "No, that's not right," she murmured. "I should be asking myself: why hadn't I noticed that about him before? His caring nature? Why? Sheesh, when he manages to get over Eagle... Tatra is going to be one lucky girl."

She laughed quietly as she finally found the strength to get out of bed. She used her hands to suppress some of the wrinkles that her clothes had developed, hoping that in the end, it didn't look too bad. Satisfied, she stepped her room, not bothering to fix her bedshe'd do it later, before she left, unless someone had decided to do it for her like last timeand before she could decide where to go, she ran straight into Hikaru.

"Good morning!" Umi called, waving. "Are you doing any better, Hikaru?"

Hikaru nodded a little too enthusiastically, and Umi immediately felt irritation and concern tug at her heart. "Yeah, I'm all better now. I'm sorry if I worried you yesterday, it was nothing."

"Nothing?" Umi asked, raising a brow skeptically. "Nothing? I don't-"

"It was nothing," Hikaru insisted. She grabbed Umi's arm and dragged her towards the hall that led to the dining hall. "I'm starved. Let's get something to eat, okay?"

Umi gritted her teeth. "Hi-ka-ru," she hissed.

"Yes?" asked Hikaru with wide, supposedly unknowing eyes. She didn't stop moving, but her running slowed into a fast-paced walk.

"What do you think you're doing?"

Hikaru blinked. "Getting... breakfast?"

"That's not what I mean! With the fake happiness and everything, I-" Umi hesitated. She didn't want to let Hikaru know what had happened. Not so soon, at least. "Yesterday you were upset beyond comforting, at least from me. There's no way you can be this cheerful again."

"I'm okay now!"

"No, you're not."

"Really, Umi-chan, I am!"

Umi scowled but found it somewhere in her heart to just let Hikaru go as she pleased with this. She could take it up with Lantis later and find out what's going on.

"Fine, say what you want," she said with a sigh. "I still don't believe you. I know you're not all right."

The two girls walked to the dining hall with one-sided bubbly spirits. Umi was not the least bit happy with the false joy Hikaru was trying to pull.

"Hey, Lantis, could I talk to you for a second?"

Geo hurriedly walked to Lantis in the corridor, the questions of the night before still burned in his mind. Lantis gave him a familiar "talk all you want, I'm listening, though I'm not sure if I want to" look that he always seemed to give Geo. Geo understood why. Whenever he had troubles with Eagle and he didn't know what to do, he'd go straight for Lantis. It had been that way ever since Geo realized how close Eagle and Lantis had become, and naturally, no matter how patient Lantis was, he seemed to have gotten quite annoyed by the constant badgering.

But Geo had other concerns on his mind. It had something to do with Eagle, but...

"How is Hikaru doing?" he asked.

Lantis frowned, seeming a little surprised by the question. He nodded. "She's trying her best to seem like that nothing happened yesterday," he answered, "but it's going to take her a few months before she even gets close to completely healing."

"She'll probably never completely heal. Sometimes Eagle really annoys me."

A faint smile grew on Lantis's face, but it vanished as quickly as it came. "You're right. She won't completely heal. Ever, perhaps. Eagle knows this, but he's so insistent..."



"So, I was just... wondering..." said Geo slowly, not knowing exactly where the second part of the question came from but decided to ask it anyway. "Was it Hikaru or you who told Umi what had happened?"

Lantis sighed. "You know she knows. What happened?"

"She came barging into Eagle's room, screaming her head off, for one thing," said Geo, the replay of the events of the day before now, somehow, amusing him. "I would assume that Hikaru would tell her, but... I'm getting a strange feeling..."

"Yes, I told Umi."


Geo didn't expect himself to ask that question, but it came out, so he just went along with what his mind was telling him to say. Besides, he was a little interested in knowing.

"It wasn't my place, but I told her anyway," said Lantis slowly. "She deserved to know, and I knew that Hikaru wasn't going to tell her anytime soon. Or ever, as the case may be. I think that maybe it would have been best to just let Hikaru tell her, seeing how she acted immediately afterwards."

"It wasn't just her," Geo said, shaking his head. "I... was busy berating Eagle as well. I feel bad for it... I wouldn't blame Eagle for being mad at me."

"He doesn't hold grudges for very long at all. You know that."

"Yes, but still..." Geo sighed. "I could have calmed Umi down, you know. That's why I'm worried. It's not more or less because of Eagle's sake, but more for her. She realized later that she couldn't help Hikaru in any way. No way at all. Remember the test for the Pillar? She must be feeling the same way I felt when that happened. She cried because she couldn't help... and all I could do was hold her, and... well... I feel the same way even now."

"I think you need to learn how to stay out of your best friend's business," said Lantis, a hint of amusement peaking in his voice. "Umi, too. It's not for their privacy, but for your emotional stability. You don't need to help in the way you two must be thinking of."

Geo stared at Lantis, wondering where he was going with this.

"You know you can't change Eagle's mind. I've tried to many times, but he's stuck on the idea that only I deserve Hikaru. I wish he would realize that he deserves her more than I do, but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon..."

"When it comes to love, most people are modest."

"That's true. Anyway, don't try to change Eagle's mind or comfort either of them or anything. Just make them forget."

"What?" Geo made a face at Lantis. He had no idea what to make out of Lantis's advice.

"Keep them occupied."

Geo frowned, wondering how to process that. It could not help to heal, but that was something only time and love could do. The situation would not get any better, but, on the plus side, it could not get any worse. But what if when he tried to keep Eagle, or even Hikaru, busy, they were too busy dwelling in angst for them to ever get the chance to have fun? And it was harder for Eagle; he was in a coma, for crying out loud!

At that moment, Geo caught a flash of blue storming in their direction. When he managed a closer look, he saw that Umi was not fuming, but rather, troubled. Lantis turned to leave, but Geo glared at him. Before the staring match could continue any further, Umi finally reached the two.

"She's doing it again," she said with a sigh in her voice. "She's pretending that nothing happened."

"By 'she' I assume you mean Hikaru?" Geo asked, keeping his eyes on Lantis. Lantis seemed to have given up and began walking away again. Geo let him, and when Umi tried to ask him a question, he stopped her from saying anymore words. "Hikaru is acting like nothing's wrong?"

Umi scowled. "Yes."

"Lantis told me she would."

"I hate it. Why does she feel like she has to hide her emotions from me? Am I really not that reliable?"

Geo sighed. Those were the same exact thoughts that had rushed through his head when he first discovered Eagle's illness. "It's not that. Hikaru doesn't want to worry anybody, that's all."

"This is worrying me even further!"

"Would you tell Hikaru that?" asked Geo, surprised at his own words once again. Had Lantis gotten to him once again? Umi looked taken aback, and then she turned away from Geo, not saying a word. "Let her do what she wants, if it makes her feel better. Our only job is to just play along."


Geo smiled. Again, she said the same exact word he had when Lantis suggested the same. "Let them-let her believe that she's fooling everybody. If it helps to let her forget what happened, then her heart will get a chance to heal."

She narrowed her eyes. "Lantis told you that, didn't he?"

He laughed, and she let go of her tension and giggled.

"I swear, you remind me of someone I used to know," he said quietly. "A more mature version of when he was your age. So, did you have breakfast already."

Umi nodded, suddenly grinning mischievously. "Yeah, and Tatra was worried about why you didn't show up."

"You're going to tease me about this for the rest of my life, aren't you? We're not interested in each other that way."

"Okay, okay."

It didn't sound like she actually believed him, but he was glad to know that she seemed willing to go along with Lantis's words of wisdom.


Translation Notes: "Futari" means "two people", "ga" is a subject marker, and "onaji" means "the same". The title, roughly translated, means "Two People are the Same". That's roughly translated, though.