- TOH SHIN DEN II: Thicker Than Water -
a Battle Arena Toshinden 2 fanfiction by Athena Asamiya and Kasumi Todoh
na - right? (it's the masculine version of "ne")
mou! - geez!
baka - idiot
Many things happened on the day after the Himitsu Kessha was destroyed. But among them, the most important was that Toshindaibukai tournament was closed, and again, no winners were stated. Though the group of five fighters who lingered behind on the tourney grounds considered that the destruction of the Master meant that everybody had won.
"So, we finally did it," Sofia murmured, casting a glance back at where the Himitsu Kessha headquarter building used to stand.
"I can't believe it!! This is so exciting!!" cheered an enthusiastic Ellis, swinging her suitcase around as she twirled happily. "Now I can get back to my life, and focus on my dancing, and everything's gonna be just great now that we don't have to worry about--"
"--Saving the world again?" Kayin finished for her. He was holding Naru's hand, with his luggage in the other. "Yeah, I think we've gotten enough of that."
"No WAY!" Tracy grinned, tossing some blue hair out of her face. "That was such a kick-ass fight! Wish I could see more action like that working on the force!"
"And I am so entirely sure you would be able to take it all on by yourself, Tracy," Sofia said, sarcastically poking fun at her friend.
"Damn straight! Who else would?" Tracy wrapped an arm around Kayin's neck. "Now, I'm sure Kay here would love to--"
Kayin laughed and backed out of Tracy's hold. "Sorry, but never again for me. I think it'd be a lot better to spend some more time with my daughter..." He looked down at her petite figure, blond pigtails swaying with the breeze. "Na, Naru?"
"Na~~!!" she chimed in, causing the whole group to laugh. Eiji, however, wasn't laughing for long -- looking over the rubble of the building, he was still apparently very troubled over what had happened the day before. Niisan...why did you save me, after what you did...? He closed his eyes, pain and confusion clearly written on his face. I still don't understand...I don't understand anything...
"Hey, Eiji-kun!" Ellis plopped herself down beside him, snapping him back to reality. "What's wrong? You look so upset!" Suddenly realizing the answer to her question, Ellis looked away from Eiji and hugged her knees. "I'm sorry. Your brother--"
"Yeah. He's...God, I don't know. I just don't know anymore." Eiji opened his eyes, sighing. "I was such a fool...thinking I could finish our old mission, when really, it was niisan who was right all along...there was no reason to even bring up our past. I should have just put it all behind me."
"You shouldn't do that!" Ellis sat up straight, glancing over at him in firm disagreement. "I'm never going to forget the memories of my family, no matter what happens between Father and I. And you shouldn't either, just because you and your brother aren't on the same side. Because I know--" She looked Eiji in the eyes, and smiled genuinely. "I know you'll have a family again, someday."
He stared at her for a minute, and finally smiled along with her. "You're right. Thanks, Ellis-chan. I'll try not to forget as much now."
She nodded in agreement. "You can't always forget, right? And memories resurface for a reason. I'm always gonna remember that." Her gaze stretched off into the distance. "And you'll remember your promise to me, right?"
Eiji pretending to look confused. "Huh? What promise was that again?"
Ellis shoved him playfully. "Mou! Baka Eiji!"
Suddenly, a little face framed by blond curls poked in between them. "Are Eiji and Ellis in looooove?"
"A--? W-what??" Eiji and Ellis jumped apart, gaping at a giggling Naru. She looked up at Kayin, who was walking up behind her. "Otousan, I think they are! I really really do!"
Kayin grinned at Eiji and Ellis. "Well, guess you never know." He then crouched down to his daughter's level, whispering to her, "Now, go thank Eiji for helping too."
Naru, small as she was, jumped up and hugged Eiji. "Thank you, Eiji, for helping save me!"
Eiji smiled and hugged her back. "Anytime, kid."
"We should get going, everyone," Sofia said, checking her watch. "Our flights will be leaving soon, and we still need some time to get to the airport."
Tracy nodded, picking up her suitcase. "She's right. C'mon, guys, I've had enough of this place to last me a lifetime!"
"We're right behind you." Kayin and Naru followed after the two women, and Ellis did as well, until she noticed Eiji standing behind. "Eiji-kun, aren't you coming?"
Eiji shook his head. "There's something I have to do first. Wait for me, okay?"
"Alright, see you there!" Ellis waved to him, skipping off down the path towards the gates. Eiji watched her go, taking a deep breath. He turned around, facing the ruins of the Himitsu Kessha building.
And sure enough, as he had known all along, he saw a tall figure standing there. Watching him silently, face expressionless.
Eiji wanted to say something, that he was sorry, that he forgave him, anything. Anything to make up for the lost years between them, that stole so much from them, tore them apart and turned them against one another, changed them both for always and forever. But the words wouldn't come, and instead, he could only stare into the same fiery-red eyes as his own.
And his mission ended right there. He found the answer in his eyes.
Unblinking, unfeeling, the stranger turned and walked away, into the sun.
"Niisan?...Niisan, show me some of your sword tricks! Please?"
"All right, Eiji, all right. But just this once."
"Wow! Niisan, you're the best!"
And laughter echoed, reminiscent of a time long past, of two brothers, a family...
As the sun set that evening over the wreckage of the Himitsu Kessha headquarters and the now-deserted tournament grounds, it cast one particularly long shadow over the rubble. A shadow of a rather tall, gangly figure. The setting sun glinted off the golden guns that he carried in both hands, and a slight breeze ruffled his shredded black trenchcoat. He stared over the tranquil scene though rose-coloured glasses, then turned and started walking away. As he did, he muttered a single sentence into the wind.
"Now our plans can begin..."
To be continued...