A/N: Sorry about the incredibly long wait. I've just had so much on. Eventually quilt caught up with me and I finished this chapter. To make up for the wait I made this chapter a little longer than normal. Hope it was worth the wait.
The only sound that could be heard was small footsteps crushing leaves. Graves lined paths and chilled the air. Flowers wilted in front of the graves, as they waited to be taken away. Were they left there by a grieving family? Or someone wanting to say their final goodbye? Piper didn't know, in fact she didn't really care, there was only one thing that mattered to her at the moment as she moved through the rows of shaped stone.
"Where was it again?" As she paused to look around her hands grew tighter on the bunch of flowers in her hands. Was he next to his parents? Or wherever he fit?
"Need some help?" Piper spun around to see an elderly man in denim overalls, a toothy grin and a thin ring of grey hair around his head. "Who ya lookin' for darl?" Piper stared at the man for a few seconds before opening her mouth and closing it again. The old man raised a brow at her, swallowing hard Piper thought of what to say to the man.
"I-I'm looking for a-an old friend." Quickly Piper spun around on her heal and started walking in the other direction. Her teeth clamped her tongue in an attempt to prevent herself from crying in front of a stranger. Her shoulders moved toward her ears as she felt the man's gaze following her, watching every step she took as if he were expecting something, or trying to work out what she was doing.
"Hang on! I know you, your that lass that hooked up with the last Nightwing!" Piper froze as memories of Aerrow ran through her mind like a bulldozer after a moving red skimmer. Biting her tongue harder Piper forced her eyes shut, willing away the tears. Without turning Piper nodded sorrow quickly turned to surprise as the old man grabbed Piper's arm and started pulling her along. "Didn't recognise ya at first, outfit threw me off." Piper looked down at her arms, they were covered in a thin black fabric which ran up to her neck, supporting it lightly. The fabric fell over her shoulders to run along the ground. Her hair, worn long blended in with the dark colours of the gown.
"Do you know where he is?" Piper asked in a small voice. She snarled at the old mans back as he laughed at her question.
"Yep, I clean his grave daily. I figure since he sacrificed everything for us he deserves a lil respect." Piper nodded, afraid to speak because of the sorrow welling up in her throat. "Yep, the kid gave his own life to save the entire Atmos. That takes guts. That kid has my respect."
"It's a pity that people don't get respect until their dead." The man stopped and looked over his shoulder, it took him one second to work out he had said the wrong thing.
"Sorry lass, I can get a lil carried away." He paused waiting for Piper to raise her head or show some other sign that would've told him she was listening. "There's just one thing you have to remember," now Piper looked up her eyes filled with tears "when someone does they live on, in the hearts of those close to them."
"What happens when those people die?" The man stood shocked looking at the former Storm Hawk, unable to believe she was the person he had heard about. Without making another sound he pointed to a grave with the words In loving memory of Aerrow Nightwing written in bold across the top. Piper waited as the worker walked away, as he walked out of earshot Piper fell to her knees. The flowers she was holding were rubbed into the dirt, rocks cut away at the skin on her hands as tears were streaming down her face.
"Why, Aerrow? Why did you have to put your life before the life of the entire Atmos?" As the words stumbled out of Piper's mouth she realised Aerrow would never forgive himself if he let the Atmos fall. He wanted to finish what his father started. "But why Aerrow? What about someone that didn't value life and wanted theirs to end?"
"Oh great," Piper huffed "now I can hear his voice in my head. I never thought I'd go mad, but I've been wrong before."
"Piper? Piper? Piper!" Piper scratched at the head trying to stop the voice from playing over in her mind. The pauses were long enough to fool Piper into thinking it had stopped. Piper looked up at the sky as thunder clouds continued to roll over.
"Well I hope your happy now universe, you've almost taken everything from me." Piper placed a hand on her stomach.
"Piper?" Shaking her head Piper tried to ignore the growing urgency in the voice.
"Because of you this child will grow up without a farther!" Pausing for a moment Piper tried to catch her breath, yet it seemed impossible with so much weighing her down, crushing her.
"Piper!" Piper picked up a hand full of stones in each hand letting the sharp corners dig into her skin.
"Or are you going to take my child to? Are you going to try to take away the last thing Aerrow's left behind!" Piper threw the stones on the ground letting them scatter like leaves. "Or are you satisfied with what you already have?"
"Oh, I get it! You're going to drive me insane so the child gets taken off me. Thank you universe for turning my life into a living-"
"Piper!" Arms and tears flew as Piper sat up, pushing at everything around her. "Piper, are you ok?" Piper looked around, unable to say anything. She looked over at Aerrow finding it hard to believe he was with her, slowly Piper reached out touching his check lightly.
"A-Aerrow?" Slowly Aerrow grabbed Piper's hands and rubbed small comforting circles on the back of her hands. After taking a few calming breaths Piper looked around again, this time she was able to calculate where she was and why Aerrow was next to her. Piper looked the floor away from Aerrow as heat ran across her checks.
"Piper, what happened?" Topaz met emerald and held. Aerrow nodded, while it looked like a nod Piper knew different. It was a sign of support, caring, understanding and leadership. Piper allowed her nerves to clam a bit more knowing that explaining what happened in her dream would cause her to get all wound up again.
"It was just a nightmare." Aerrow raised an eyebrow at the young navigator, Piper sighed knowing she wasn't going to be able to escape with just that. "Ok, well, at the start I was walking through a graveyard. I'm not sure where it was, it didn't seem familiar. I was dressed in a black cloth that I passed off as a dress and I had a bunch of flowers in my hands." Aerrow cringed as memories flooded his mind. He knew where Piper was talking about, his only been there once but once was enough. The location of his parent's bodies, that knowledge was always there, reminding him of what he was fighting for. How was he so sure it was the same place? Aerrow had the same dream except in his Piper was dead.
"There was an old man, he complimented you on your bravery. There was just one problem with him-"
"He didn't know when to stop talking." Piper looked up at Aerrow completely confused as they finished his sentence together. Aerrow smiled lightly knowing they were in this together, they were going to get past this nightmare, as one.
"You sacrificed yourself to save Atmos," Aerrow said, regret was clear in his voice. Piper stroked his check; Piper's soft touch was enough to convince Aerrow everything was going to be alright.
"And I could hear your voice, it was calling to me." Aerrow's hand covered hers, squeezing lightly. Piper shifted so she was seated next to Aerrow they looked into each other's eyes, knowing that no more words had to be said.
"I love you, Piper." Aerrow lowered his head letting their hair mix, their foreheads met lightly, eyes staying locked.
"I love you to, Aerrow." Piper angled her head letting their lips touch lightly. Right now the nightmare didn't matter, only the moment and the fact that both were alive and well.
"Aerrow? Oh come on, Aerrow we need you." Finn hugged his side trying to stop the bleeding. He looked over at Junko, the wallops body was limp and very pale but there was a burning determination in the wallops eyes. Stork was perched on a rock, x-ray peepers held to his eyes cringing as the merbs injuries gnawed away at him. Jet was nowhere to be seen, Finn didn't know if he had made a lucky escape or he was turned into ash by the explosion. Finn looked up at Stork, crystals piled up at his side.
"Good thing Stork knew how to use Piper's crystals." Finn jumped at Junko's soft voice. The injuries had clearly weakened the wallop, yet without medical attention he would only get worse.
"Yeah, but I don't know how to heal." Stork said flatly.
"Stork, buddy. Why so sad? You saved us?" Stork looked down at the sharpshooter. The look in the carrier pilots eyes told Finn everything he needed to know. "Well you've done your part now Aerrow needs to do his." Finn reached for the radio again cringing again as his injury shot pain through him, this caused him to stumble and fall next to the radio. The sound of laboured breathing was picked up by the microphone and sent it to an abandoned earpiece on Terra Nerverlandis.
A/N: That's it for another chapter. School's getting overwhelming so I may not be able to post for a few months but you will see some small one shots written by me pop up. I fond writing one shots is able to keep me calm but writing full chapters for such a big story just seems like too much at the moment. I'll keep my fans informed as to what will be happening. I think that's all so until next time ilikadachocolate out.