Blood. A dark red patch stained the snow where he had fallen.

That person was his father. He saw with his own eyes how his father was killed.

Teito's eyes snapped open. He glanced down and found himself drenched in sweat and breathing heavily. His covers were wildly kicked off. The room was silent except for the soft snoring of his roommate.

He wiped the sweat from his forehead with his arm. Ever since he'd entered the Academy, he'd been haunted by dreams – or nightmares – that somehow seemed more like memories to him.

Teito had no recollections of his past before the Raggs War broke out. All he could remember were just small bits here and there, though most did not make any sense to him. He could remember the smiles on faces that belonged to people he knew, yet could not recognize. Teito knew the memories were still there – they were just probably buried and locked deep within himself.

Carefully without making a sound with the chains that bound his wrists and ankles, he turned on his side and gazed forward. A blonde boy slept soundly on the bed next to his own, shone upon by the moonlight that streamed through the windows of the room.

Mikage was Teito's first and only friend in the whole academy. Over the years they've come take each other like family more than normal friends (though Teito refuses to admit it most of the time). Mikage had risked his own life to help Teito escape from that wretched military academy on that one night, and Teito had spent his days in a church worrying about him for he stayed behind.

Ah, imagine his relief and joy when they'd finally reunited again days later. Teito could never forget the feeling – how his heart seemed to leap and how his eyes stung with unshed tears as he tackled his friend before engaging him in a fierce hug.

Mikage was Teito's everything. He had taught him many things in the past – how to have fun, how to smile and laugh, how to love. Under the moonlight, Mikage looked exactly like a sleeping angel. That was it. Mikage was Teito's angel. His God. His light.

Teito blinked and brought himself out of his thoughts. What was he doing, thinking like he was going to lose his precious friend sometime soon? But, something was bothering him. Earlier that night just before they went to bed, Mikage had confronted him, telling him words that Teito could not fully understand.

"Teito, whatever happens, always walk towards the path of light," he'd said. "Don't make an enemy out of the army. Nothing good comes from revenge."

Everything sounded so sad – so final, and Teito could not get it out of his mind. What had Mikage meant by that?

He heaved a sigh. Part of him wanted to know while part of him just refused to find out.

But whatever it is, Teito vowed that he would protect him from anything. Even if it costs him his life.

And he closed his eyes.

xXx

Mikage wasn't dead.

Teito tried to convince himself over and over again that his best friend was not dead. Even so, somewhere deep in his heart, he knew Mikage was no more.

Still, Teito did not give up. He fought. He fought to keep himself from being killed. He fought to drive Ayanami out of Mikage's body.

He fought to keep the tears from falling.

He must've been distracted by his own thoughts, because without even realizing it, he was thrown into the water twenty feet below. Teito struggled to breathe. He had a record of holding his breath for a long period of time, but surprise and sudden panic had failed him. His lungs felt like bursting. Bubbles rose as he flailed in the water.

He could not lose. Not yet. With newfound strength he broke his chains and shot through the surface of the water, aiming his zaiphon on the wing sprouting from his friend's back. He believed that if he could destroy it, it will be all over.

But then, he was wrong. The person controlling Mikage's body merely slipped through the circle of energy and knocked him to the ground. Pain surged through Teito's entire body and he was picked up again by the neck.

"I told you I am not a kor. What do you plan to gain by aiming at my wing?" the blonde said. "If you cut this wing, he will die."

Breathe. Teito couldn't breathe. It wasn't just the hand clamping around him neck that was suffocating him, it was the panic that overwhelmed him. If Mikage would die anyway, then how could he save him? Besides of the wing, Teito had no more tricks up his sleeves. But he couldn't just let Mikage go like that.

If you ever get into a pinch in the battlefield, I'll never abandon you!

Why were those words ringing in Teito's mind then? It really seemed like as if…

"This is your fault."

Those words violently jerked the boy back into reality.

"This is happening because you stole the eye of the army and escaped from prison," Ayanami taunted mercilessly as Teito could only try to unhinge the hand from his throat. "Come to think of it, you said something interesting earlier. You think you're the son of the late King of Raggs?" he added. "That's not something someone with a slave status should be saying."

A collar snapped into place around Teito's neck.

"Foolish boy. The King of Raggs had no child."

Teito's eyes widened. That was impossible. All the memories of him and his father, all of them were vivid and real. There was just no way the King of Raggs was childless.

But if he was, then who is he?

"Why.." Teito muttered when Ayanami released his grip. "Why aren't you killing me?"

"I was ordered to capture you alive."

"Then.." His desperation was obvious in his tone, but he didn't care. He did the first thing anyone would do after hearing a statement like that when the one they care about is in danger. Teito formed a zaiphon around his throat. "You'll be in trouble if I died. In exchange for my neck, let Mikage-"

But he couldn't finish that sentence. A shock suddenly went through his body like he'd just stuck his hand into an electrical socket. Then he wasn't there anymore.

Teito was alone in the middle of a staircase-like path. His surroundings were pitch black, as if he was somewhere in outer space.

Where.. am I?

Someone was running towards him, his form changing with every step his took, from a young child to an adolescent boy. Looking closely, Teito realized that that was him.

Could this be.. the road I've been walking on up to this point?

The apparition of his current self ran pass him and Teito turned to see where he was heading. A giant statue of an angel stood in his path, his wings folded protectively over a boy he seemed to be embracing.

And that boy was Teito.

With a start, Teito remembered what was going on. He was too confused and surprised to even think for the last few minutes, but it all came back to him when he saw himself bounded in tendrils and strings of energy, unmoving.

"What am I doing? Why am I not moving?" Teito hadn't even realized the fact that he shouted those words out as he pounded his fists on the stone wall. He just couldn't care less about that right then. "Hey! My friend is in danger!"

Debris and small pieces of stone fell lose from the statue and landed on his face, but Teito continued hitting it. Something in him told him he had to wake his sleeping self, or it'll all be over.

Mikage would really die.

As if responding to his thoughts, the bonds slowly faded, and his sleeping self floated towards him, becoming one with the original him. Then to Teito's surprise, the angel moved into a bowing position.

And just like that, everything went black.

Strangely, it felt warm. Teito opened his eyes to find himself floating in yet another blank space. But as he looked this time, pictures and clips of his life flashed before him – memories of the times he spent with Mikage that he cherished most.

Teito saw himself back at the library at the Academy, telling Mikage not to get to close to him or else he too, will be the target of gossip in the whole school. But Mikage only laughed and told him that it was silly. How he loved him now for that.

Another memory flashed and Teito saw the moment when Mikage had taught him how to smile. The blonde was happily playing with a puppy, until its mother came and scared them senseless. It was truly an awkward moment, but even then Teito couldn't help but laugh. Mikage's English was just a little too strange.

Next was the memory of the day when Mikage found out that Teito was only eating health tablets for meals. Mikage had dragged him all the way from the rooftop to the cafeteria and openly ordered some kind of food for him – porridge, as he had heard them calling it. Mikage had stared at him and smiled the entire time when he ate, as if he was the one enjoying the meal and not him. What was he so damn happy about?

A tear traced its way down Teito's cheek just as it did during that memory. It was too much. It felt like his heart was wrapped in chains that were slowly tightening. More tears overflowed from his eyes as more memories flashed before him like a movie clip: the day they met each other, the day they stood up for each other, the day Teito ran away, the day he reunited with Mikage, the last night they spent together.

The clips of memories eventually faded, and so did Teito's surroundings. All of the sudden he was standing in a vast grassland, the atmosphere so bright it was almost blinding. Teito couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the person standing right ahead of him several feet away.

Mikage wore the Academy's student uniform – only it was white instead of black, and from what Teito could see, he emitted some kind of glow around him. His smile was melancholic and apologetic at the same time, as if telling him not to cry and that everything was okay.

Teito ran towards him for all he was worth. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him, reaching towards Mikage, calling his name. But before he could touch him, the light around the blonde intensified, and Teito was forced to close his eyes.

When he opened them again, he was back at where he was fighting Ayanami. A hooded figure stood between them, wielding a large scythe.

"You're as insolent as ever, Zehel."

Zehel? Why does that sound so.. familiar? And that voice..

Oh. Right. He was one of the Seven Ghosts he'd heard so much about. The God that severs the bonds of those with their misfortune. And that voice was Frau's.

Frau had his scythe hovering just inches away from the wing. In a moment of panic, Teito remembered Ayanami's words.

If you cut this wing, he will die.

Mustering all the strength he had left, Teito reached out and grabbed the hem of the God's cloak.

"Wait! Don't cut that wing!" he said, his voice already quavering and his eyes once again stinging with tears. Why the heck am I so weak of all times? "Mikage is still alive!"

If you're really a God, then please.. help him…! His silently pleaded over and over again. Please, please, please..

Too late. Ayanami grabbed the blade himself and swung. There was a sickening crunching of bones, and Ayanami was gone. The area around Mikage's body burst into flocks of pigeons, their pure white feathers floating in the air.

Mikage blinked, and Teito could see that he was himself again; by the soft look of his eyes, by that kind smile. For the second time in his life, Teito tackled his friend into a hug.

At that moment, Teito had no trouble convincing himself that Mikage was not dead. He could feel his warmth, his breath, and smell the faint scent of amber that always hung around him.

Mikage couldn't be dead. He's still right there with him, isn't he? He can still feel him, can't he?

But Teito's wishful thoughts were wrong. Mikage said nothing as he faded, his spirit returning to God's side, smiling until the very end.

If there's anything more painful than seeing a friend die in front of you, it was seeing a best friend that was like family dying in your arms.

Teito dropped on his knees and wept.

xXx

Teito stood in one of the chambers where Ayanami had attacked him with Mikage's body. A tiny pink dragon sat on his shoulder, nuzzling him as if he knew of his feelings then.

Heck, of course he knew.

That pink Fyulong dragon was Mikage's reincarnation. Seeing his grief, Frau had searched all over the world for Mikage's spirit, just to cheer him up. Why did he do that, though, Teito didn't know. Since when did that perverted bishop care so much about him?

But those weren't in his mind as he stood there, reading the clear marks left behind by Mikage's zaiphon. They were just words, but somehow, Teito felt something tearing his heart up once again. Etched on the walls, were some of the last things Mikage had told him on the last night they spent together.

Questions. So many questions screamed in his mind, yearning to ask the person who was no longer there. How could you even say that? How could I just forgive those who used you like that?

How could I live on without your light guiding me?

Teito's gaze wandered to the words that were carved just beneath his feet, and his eyes widened.

"I love you, Teito.."

Idiot… Unwanted liquid welled up in his already dry eyes as he knelt down to touch the carvings. And what the heck do you mean by that?

"Burupya!" The dragon rubbed its head affectionately against the corner of the boy's jaw, catching his attention.

"..Yeah.. I got it.." Teito smiled softly before caressing the creature's fur and whispering into its ear.

"I love you too, Mikage."

~End~


In my opinion, the first chapter's a little better T~T since I mostly just rewrote what they had in the manga in this chapter...

aaanyywayyy.. is there anyone reading this out there? if there is, then I'd really appreciate it if you let me know by reviewing/faving :D gahh who am I kidding =w=

07-Ghost is not mine. Thank you so much for reading!